Fast and Furious…Ice Fishing Reports: Captain’s Column (12.10.15)
By angelamontana

Posted: December 10, 2015

Ice fishing reports have been coming in fast and furious since the cold snap happened the last week of November and continued into the first few days of December. But this is Montana and with the high temperatures projected in the upper 40’s to low 50’s the next few days I hesitate to give you an ice fishing report for fear that there won’t be safe ice once you get to fishing area. The fishing reports I have been receiving have been good however so with that disclaimer here goes.

Dick Zimmer from Zimmer’s Tackle 406-250-0241who lives in Pablo was one of the first to check out the ice on Flathead lake’s east Polson Bay and this is what he found out a few days ago, “Pleasantly I found the ice. With no snow on it the ice is a window.  Right away I began to see fingerling perch in the shallow water, which is a good sign.  Then I began to see heavy weed beds.  The first open spot in those weed beds I saw was what I was looking for as a promising place to punch a hole.  With clear ice the fish are often spooky so after cutting the hole and dropping my bait and line through it I knew I’d have to be patient and still for fish to return to my location.  Maybe after 5 minutes they first appeared and the 2015 ice fishing season had officially begun.

After catching my first perch on a FLAT RAT baited with maggots I began using perch eyes.  As I moved east toward the Paradise Cove RV Park every hole I cut produced a fish, but the first one, closest to the public access, had produced the best, so after four or five holes and moving 200 yards east I decided to return to my original hole and work west. Because finding fish is never predictable every decision is shadowed with the unknown but driven by hope and anticipation.  Two holes later with darkness quickly approaching I was hooking and landing fish as fast as I could rebait and get my line in the water.  No real jumbos, but lots of 8 to 10 inchers which I consider fillet size”. Zimmer also has a word of caution, “At one point I was within 30 feet of the water and the ice was still a solid 4 inches.  If you decide to head out there don’t be too bold as you walk north but be careful to look for what will undoubtedly be thin ice for the next few days.  Be careful”.

Brandt Hamernick and Tracy Powers of Missoula headed to Georgetown last Thursday. Once on the lake they found 10 inches of ice and once they began to fish they found some hungry fish, “There is 10 inches of ice on Georgetown Lake, and the temperature Thursday had a low of nine degrees, warming to 36 degrees. The bellies of the fish were full of shrimp and we limited out”, said Powers. Sunshine Station (406) 859-3450

Jim Johnson from Lincoln went with a couple of buddies to Browns Lake on Saturday, “The ice was about 8 inches and we had fish biting the whole time we began fishing and ended up keeping 13 trout between the three of us”. Egg sacks were catching smaller trout while the hooks tipped with maggots worked better for the larger trout according to Johnson. Bill Brown Bob Wards 406 728-3220

As a reminder ice conditions can change daily so call ahead before heading out to your hard water fishing hole.

(Written by the Captain – aka Mark Ward)