Hyalite Lake near Bozeman is full of snow and ice. The road to the 7200-foot altitude lake is passable four 4-wheel drive vehicles. The lake showed evidence of some fishing and a lot of skiing.
Handy Randy and I needed some hook ups after last weeks Harrison Lake disappointment. We arrived at 10 and found the lake easily passable. The snow was iced enough so that even Montana Grant could walk on it. We made it to a favorite spot and cut our holes.
Don’t even try to cut a hole with a hand auger. It took the full length of a gas auger to hit water, barely. The top 2 feet is hard, crunchy, compressed snow. Then you have a couple feet of ice.
Fishing began slowly but picked up. We caught more fish as the day heated up and the sun got brighter. Take along some suntan lotion. Bites were very light, and the fish seemed reluctant to feed inn their dark and cold environment.
Brookies were biting at all depths but the Cutthroats were near the bottom. A bit of worm, a couple maggots, and some gel scent did the trick. Sharpened hooks helped. We threw back a few dozen small brook trout but iced 14 keepers. These smaller trout are tasty and abundant. The limit here is 20 per day and 5 cutthroats.
We trekked off the lake and found that the melted snow had turned into slush. Several vehicles were stuck in the parking lot. It was time to be a good Montanan and help these mini van and Subaru owners get unstuck. Why folks with no 4-wheel drive, bald tires, no shovels, and gear to get unstuck is beyond me. If you travel into the winter wilderness of Montana, you need to prepare and plan for adventures.
2 ½ hours later, everyone was mobile except for the mini van from Iowa. It ended up high centered on the snow, buried, and emergency brakes locked! A winch from a tow truck would be needed. With no cell phone service, a rescue call would only happen at the bottom of the mountain.
What impressed us most was the way strangers came together for a common cause. One gentleman had straps and gear that helped, along with an aggressive 4 Runner. Another man brought over sand bags. Several men helped to dig and push. Good karma comes from helping others. “One day it could be my daughter that needs help” said one man.
This is how Montanans roll. It is times like these when our true character shines. When trekking into Montana’s wilderness, become a Boy Scout.
For more Montana Grant, dig him up at www.montanagrantfishing.com.