Effects of Weather on Fishing: Captain’s Column 3.13.14
By angelamontana

Posted: March 13, 2014

The weather this week in Western Montana is still in the news with higher daytime temperatures melting snow and turning precipitaton to rain instead of snow in the valleys. Because of this, the fishing reports are coming in a little slow. Remember your 2014 Montana Fishing License is needed to fish Montana waters. This time of the year is always a little slower for anglers, as they anticipate ice-off so they jump in their boats and enjoy open water fishing. There are still reports coming in, however, as anglers like Dick Zimmer from Zimmer Tackle tests the ice on certain lakes to see if the fish are biting, “I finally broke through the ice in east Polson Bay on Flathead Lake last Sunday,” he said. “I had a couple of monster perch on but could not get them up through the ice hole but I did catch a fair amount in the 9-11 inch class”. Zimmer thinks that this year when the perch start to spawn that the they will be bigger, if this winters ice fishing results are any indication. The spring perch bite on Flathead Lake normally begins between April 1st and April 15.

This Friday is the start of the annual Spring Mack Days on Flathead Lake. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes sponsor the $150,000 Event on Flathead Lake and use it as a tool to reduce the non-native lake trout in the lake. There is no cost to enter just log onto www.mackdays.com there is plenty of time to enter as Mack Days runs till May 18.

Hubbard Reservoir, located north of Lone Pine Reservoir is producing some 8-10 inch kokanee salmon. Zimmer says that anglers are using Rat Finkies and Haley Jigs for best results.

“There is still 10-12 inches of solid ice on Holter Reservoir” reports Jim Johnson from Lincoln. “We fished for perch on Sunday and caught quite a few but most of them were only in the 7-9 inch class”. Johnson was going to try his luck this week for the kokanee salmon. “ I have heard they are catching some nice salmon so we were thinking about going over Wednesday or Thursday to the Helena Regulating Reservoir” This is what Troy Humphrey reported from FWP on salmon fishing in the reservoir in his weekly report “ Kokanee fishing is good while using pink or green ice jigs and maggots or corn. The kokanee are being in 20 to 30 feet of water. Small perch are being caught in shallower water. There is 14 to 16 inches of ice”. On some lakes the ice is melting away from shore so you might need a 2×6 piece of wood to access the ice from shore. Tune in Friday morning 8-9am on KGVO 1290am/101.5fm for Catching the Big Ones from Paradise Falls and I should have the results of how Johnson did along with more fishing reports around Western Montana.

A reminder Saturday March 15th deer and elk permit applications are due. This year applicants need to be aware that some hunting districts and some five-digit hunting codes have changed. Applicants should not rely on last year’s regulations or codes and must be sure to double check the five-digit codes for the permit they seek before submitting an application.

(Written by the Captain)