NW MT Fishing Report by the Macman 11.28.18
By angelamontana

Posted: November 28, 2018

Fishermen:
Yesterday, November 20 I spent the afternoon with my son-in-law, Aaron and my two grandchildren, Sean and Ethan Joe out on Elmo Bay. We found fish a little south and east of the town of Elmo in a depth of 34 to 36 feet. The only drawback was the frigid conditions. When your line won’t spool out because it is freezing on your spool and a moist breeze is penetrating even your cold weather outerwear you have to be committed to stay the course. On top of this you’re catching perch along with an occasional lake trout so fast that keeping your hands dry and your gloves on becomes an impossibility. (Using latex gloves helps some).

We ended up keeping 73 perch, 3 of them over a foot long, and 2 Lake trout. We used “smile” and Fuzz Bug setups baited with cut perch.

There aren’t any lake trout in the picture because I processed them as soon as we got home. Both Lake trout and whitefish because of the high nutrient level in the meat tastes much better if they are cleaned right away. Perch as with all white- meated fish have low nutrient levels so I can’t tell that they’re affected if you wait till the following day to fillet them.
Perch are their own worst enemy in that their tendency to over populate causes them to be more susceptible to disease and also their cannibalistic nature can cause population gaps when the mature perch begin to die of old age. Most often the best management practice is to catch and kill as many as possible.

The extreme pressure put on that fishery in East Bay has resulted in sustaining a population of large fish for about 5 years now. As perch become a more and more popular fish it’ll be interesting to observe how long this status will be maintained.

In the main Flathead Lake from the Narrows North there is so much great perch habitat that there has to be millions of them. I can’t see where sports fishermen can have an enough of an impact to appreciably affect their population. Their normal demise is a disease decimation them.

To me the most desirable solution would be to open a rod and reel commercial fishery. It seems like that would be win-win for everybody.

Ice fishing is just around the corner. Some of the lakes north of us in the Kalispell area are already close to fishable and ours should be close behind.

I haven’t heard that the bureaucrats at the Bison Range are planning to open Pablo and Ninepipe Reservoirs early. Putting some public pressure on them can’t hurt. Maybe even some letters to Interior Secretary Zinke wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Pablo Reservoir should be especially good for a variety of fish including the newest addition-Northern Pike, if they’ll let us on it before oxygen depletion makes the fish sluggish.

The local bodies of water that freeze up about the same time and are legal to fish on are: East Bay and Stone Quarry Bay on Flathead Lake, Turtle Lake, Crow Reservoir, and Kicking Horse Reservoir.

Kicking Horse Reservoir has also been producing some pike. They should be able to create a favorable balance with the perch there which have always been small due to overpopulation.

For more information give us a call at our store 406-675-0068, Email us at: macman@ronan.net or call my personal cell -406-675-0068.

Good Fishing
The Macman

Zimmer Tackle & Bait