Happy New and welcome to Siberia Montana! We might be a little ways geographically from Siberia but with the so-called Siberian Express bringing bone chilling weather to much of Montana this week it sure seems like we are next door neighbors. The cold weather might be putting a chill on some outdoor activity but once it warms to a normal Montana winter temperature there will be plenty of snow and ice around to play outside. After a slow start because of a lack of snow in early December, ski hills in Montana were able to offer up great snow conditions to skiers over the holidays. All the lakes in Montana have good ice for ice anglers with the exception of Fort Peck Reservoir. The bays at Fort Peck have good ice but the main lake still has iffy ice conditions primarily because of the high winds that keep blowing and breaking up ice that has already formed.
The northern pike fishing has picked up on Noxon Rapids Reservoir according to reports from John Harris from Lakeside Resort in Trout Creek. “We had a monster of a pike brought in the store last week that weighed 28 pounds that was caught through the ice”, he said.
I have had mixed reports from Georgetown Lake. Scott Arnold fished Georgetown last week and he and a buddy didn’t do very well on either the trout or the salmon, “We fished all day Thursday and most of Friday. The fishing was slow for us as we only caught a handful of trout and salmon”. Arnold went on to say that seemed to be the case for most of the fisherman he spoke with on the lake too! However Tracy Powers and Brandt Hamernick from Missoula sent me a great video of Hamernick catching and releasing a giant trout in their ice shack through the ice on Georgetown last Saturday. You can view the video on montanaoutdoor.com. I also spoke with Ed McClean from Missoula who has a cabin on Georgetown and he said Saturday morning the fish were smarter than he was that morning.
Dick Zimmer gave me this report from Lake Mary Ronan, “Fishing at Lake Mary Ronan at 43 feet of water lots of Kokanee Salmon. Fishermen wouldn’t give us exact numbers. 3”of slush under the snow. Ice is good but don’t take an ATV out there yet.
At 37 feet fishermen caught 15 Salmon”. Jens Gran from Polson said he had some good luck fishing LMR. Gran also said after the cold snap there probably wouldn’t be any slush on the lake.
There are plenty of ice fishing tournaments this month. Some of the top ones include a $10,000 cash prize for winning the North American Ice Fishing Circuit National Qualifying Tournament January 13th – 15th on Hebgan Lake by West Yellowstone. The actual tournament is January 15th from 8 am to 1 pm to enter call Kathy Roberts at 320-252-0428 or 406-646-7200
The Valier Lake Frances Ice Fishing Derby is coming up on January 14th. The derby is a month earlier than in recent years in an attempt to get better ice. The Volunteer Firemen ran out of energy for this after many years, so the Valier Area Development Corporation has taken it on for this year. It has 100% payout on the prizes for perch and pike and will have a fundraising raffle with some wonderful prizes including a very nice Vexilar Fish Finder, Ice houses, ice auger and much more!! For more information call 406-279-3561 or 788-6613.
(Written by Mark Ward – aka the Captain)