The Mack Days Tournament is coming on me like a stampeding herd of Buffalo. Getting ready for it and the spring perch bite has kept us in hyperactive mode.
The money amount for this tournament has almost doubled plus three more days has been added per week to expand the total fish caught. The extreme pressure the contest has put on the lake trout has created a predator vacuum in the lake which to this old fisherman is exciting.
Mother Nature is never static and fills any vacuum quickly. Shrimp population is up and other species are growing in number. As this vacuum is filled it will present many new opportunities for recreational fishermen and outfitters as well. Because the Flathead ecosystem is so ideal for lake trout, don’t worry they can take care of themselves. It’s a win-win situation so “Go on and fish your guts out!”
A recent trip on the lake with Captain Ketchum (Mark Ward) and Jim Swanson, owner of Antler Chandeliers in Polson ended with a boat and ¾ cooler full of lake trout. We had an hour if super fishing on the Quarter Lake Bar AKA Porgie’s Point. This structure is a mile North and West of Bird Island. You’ll do well to have a bathymetric map to find this ridge.
Because the lake trout forage base is up and they have a tendency to remain in a limited territory especially if they have plenty of food, moving to find them will be more productive than waiting for them to come to you. My approach is to avoid the crowds and look for new spots. I’m thinking the deep stretch between Yellow Bay and Woods Bay.
Most of the fish will be in deep water feeding on shrimp with the exception of those areas within a couple of miles of the Narrows and the river mouth where water movement brings the fish in shallower. Painted Rocks south of the West Shore State Park also has fish shallower. For most of the lake depths from 220 to 320 feet will have the greatest fish concentrations.
I like to rig one rod with a 1 ½ oz #05 Leadagator with or without a fly depending on how aggressive the fish are. The other rod I’ll use a Glo Grub with a fly. I’ll bait the jigs with green cut bait soaked with shrimp scent and the flies with 1/3 of a large night crawler.
The spring perch bite is dependent on water temperatures of at least 45 degrees with 55 degrees being optimum. It will last until the lake rising brings cold water into East Bay. It will kick in again as water temperatures rise but it’s normally just a short window before the water temperatures become too warm for good fish activity.
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