By Montana Grant

Posted: January 4, 2020

There is never One Thing! Remembering sometimes is best One Thing at a time. With Ice Fishing upon us, we will be looking at the many “One Things” that will help you catch fish when your hit the Hard water.

Ice fishing in Montana is somewhat of a hidden secret. Lots of folks take to the ice a couple times each season but few are fanatics. That’s because many fishermen “fish” and don’t “catch”!

My first few jaunts onto Canyon Ferry, back in the day, were hard. I did way too much fishing and seemed like I was just “lucking” a few trout and perch. On my third trip I bumped into an old fella from Helena. He was working 6 rods and the ice was covered with yellow perch. The limit was 50 per day then and he was there. My son and I congratulated him and began to move on. He called us back and said,” How about I show you how to catch some perch!” We learned more in the next hour than any other trip.

The one key thing we weren’t doing was seeing the bite. Our spinning rods were sensitive but not soft enough. He shared his rods and showed us what a bite looked like. On this day the fish were coming up to the bait. The tip would move up when the fish mouthed the bait on the rise! On some days the fish nearly drag the rod into the hole, but not on this day.

He showed me his Spring Bobbers and put some on our rods. Suddenly we were getting bites and the perch were piling up. Once he saw that his work was done, he wished us well and off the ice he went. We never saw that Iceman again but what a special day.

The Legacy of fishermen is not about how many or how big the fish you caught were, it’s about how you taught others to share and respect the sport. This Mentor showed us the way to be a real Ice Man. Ice Men in general tend to be the Best Sports afield. They are generous, helpful, friendly, and good sports.

Thanks for the lessons!

Montana Grant

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