Every week on the Saturday morning statewide Montana Outdoor Radio Show, we try to give our listeners what we think is their “Best Opportunity” to catch fish.
Last Saturday with the whitefish reports coming out of Flathead Lake it just made sense for us to suggest fishing for whitefish. The “Bite” as it is known has been on for the past two weeks and some successful anglers like Ross Tate of Missoula think that the bite will continue for at least a couple of weeks, “The bite is on and will be on for a couple of weeks. They are feeding strong on perch fry”! Dick Zimmer from Zimmer tackle told me that his famous whitefish rattle-d-zastor lure has been flying out the door as local sporting good stores have been calling in orders to satisfy their customers. “
Last Sunday there must have been 30-50 boats in Big Arm and Elmo Bay so that is a good indication that they are catching fish”, said Zimmer. Tate was probably one of those anglers as he has had a lot of success the past two weeks, “We have been doing quite well. We are always catching 60-110 a day and filling our ice filled coolers. I’ve been in Big Arm and Elmo Bay and catching them strong until about Noon yet still pulling them in until 3pm. As usual, Rattle-D-Zastor and a fly are perfect. We typically are fishing them in 50-65 feet of water. This past week has been fantastic!
Jim Vashro a retired fish biologist for FWP and an avid angler gave me this whitefish report,”
“Fished Elmo twice last week, both times slightly east of the Elmo ramp in 55’ of water. Both days were very different. Fished Wednesday as the front was moving out, we dealt with cold, rain and light gusty winds. I thought that would put the fish off but the bite was steady from 8 to 11. The whitefish preferred minnow imitations over jigging spoons. The top lures were a standup jig head with a Berkley Power Minnow and a Gitzit. Three of us caught about 25 whitefish in 3 hours.
Friday morning was sunny and started calm. Fished again east of the ramp, at one point there were 15 boats. The bite was actually slower but most boats got fish. The 1/8 oz. Gitzit was the hot lure for two hours, then the bite switched to Northland Mimic Spoons. It pays to switch around if bites tail off. We fished from 8 to 11:30 and caught about 20. Fish were biting very light and the wind picked up, making it tough. Most of the anglers that I have spoken with tell me that the whitefish will hang around Big Arm and Elmo Bay as long as the perch fry are there.
Look for the spots like the Narrows on the south end of the lake and Rollins to start producing whitefish too! Tate shared this recipe for whitefish: One of my favorite pan recipes are to take a fillet with the skin on and dip it in hot butter and garlic, roll it in bread crumbs, and cook it skin side down first, on a high temp. In the meantime, make sure my broccoli is cooked and potatoes and veggies. After 4 minutes, cook the other side for another 4 minutes and we are ready to eat. A light amount of shredded cheddar cheese on top and you have a mouth watering fillet of Lake Superior whitefish ready for dinner.