Fishing Through the Ice in Montana: Captain’s Column (1.8.15)
By angelamontana

Posted: January 8, 2015

Ice anglers were greeted by a brand new year with brand new ice recently. The cold snap last week in Western Montana finally started to make ice on some lakes that didn’t have ice at all and made better ice on lakes that already had ice.

Lake Mary Ronan now has about 4 or 5 inches on it and the perch fishing is fair just out from the State Park. The southwest end of the lake was the last place to freeze but use caution before fishing it. No reports on the kokanee salmon fishing yet. Dick Zimmer reports that the East Polson Bay on Flathead Lake has ice again and the lake trout are biting, “I have had reports of some anglers using whole bait set-up and doing well on lake trout”, he said.

Ice is finally good enough to fish on Canyon Ferry Reservoir reports Adam Strainer from FWP in Helena,“Rainbow trout fishing has been fair with some fish being caught from the Silos to Pond 4. Successful anglers are using jigs or dark woolly buggers tipped with worms or maggots. Some yellow perch and walleye are being caught between Hole-in-the-Wall and Duck Creek Bay in approximately 40 feet of water. Swedish pimples and Hali jigs, tipped with maggots or worms, were the tactic of choice. Ice conditions have been reported at 9 to 12-inches between the Silos and Pond 4, 5 to 6-inches between Hole-in-the-wall and Duck Creek. Variable conditions exist elsewhere, so please use caution”.

There is also report from Leonard Roberts from Roberts Bait in Great Falls that ice is on Holter but is still not safe enough to fish.

Georgetown Lake has had good ice all season and anglers are ice fishing for trout and kokanee salmon with some success.

Browns Lake has good ice but the trout fishing has been slow according to Jim Johnson from Lincoln.

West of Missoula, John Harris from Lakeside Resort and Tackle Store (406-827-4458) reports that ice is forming on Noxon Reservoir near Trout Creek and anglers are starting to fish.

Brandt Hamernick from Missoula, Johnson and I went to Tiber Reservoir last week and found the fishing to be okay. We managed a couple of trout while fishing for two days and two nights. We left on the morning the temperature hit minus 2 during the night before our departure.

Fort Peck Reservoir now has ice in some areas of the lake. Folks are fishing Devils Creek and Crooked Creek according to Charlie at Don’s Sporting Goods (406-538-9408) in Lewistown. Anglers are using live minnows with tip-ups for the best success on walleyes and northern pike.

Hebgan Lake will once again play host to an NAIFC ice fishing tournament. Last year over 80 teams competed to win part of $15,000 in prize money. This year, the ice derby will take place Sunday January 18. The weekend festivities start Friday night in West Yellowstone with free seminars at the Holiday Inn. Saturday, it’s the Kids Ice Camp at the Kirkwood Resort and Marina. The rules meeting is Saturday night, and the tournament takes place on Hebgen Lake Sunday shortly after sunrise until 1:05pm. For more information and to register, log onto or you may call 406-646-7200.