Hyalite Lake in Gallatin County has no shortage of ice. It also has a layer of snow and slop atop. Walking is hard since you ted to sink into the slush. Using a walking stick is very helpful to maintain your feet. A high sided sled will keep the snow from falling into your rig.
The trout are in the dark and have been since first ice, back in December. Early ice is always better fishing. Once the trout have been in the dark for along time, they almost hibernate. Bites are light and action slows. Scent, sound, and movement helps attract a bite.
Back in December, I was icing 60-75 trout a day. The Brookies and Cutties were accommodating. Brookies were fast and easier to catch. Now the bite is slow.
Yesterday I iced about 20 or so trout. The brooks were smaller, and the cuts were fewer. I managed a limit of 5 good sized Cuts and 5 keeper Brooks. Certainly, a nice meal of filets.
Some folks prefer low light fishing times, but I enjoy bright days between 10-3 pm. Light allows the fish to find the bait. Honestly, whatever gives you confidence is a good time and place.
Most of bites yesterday were Dead Sticked. If I wasn’t ready, I missed them. Without a spring bobber, you would never have seen most of the bites. Only a dozen other fishermen were giving it a try. I saw no one hook up. Most of the traffic was from skiers, hikers, and nature lovers.
The Cuts fought well and so did the ice. Drilling holes is deep and tough. I needed the full auger to hit water. Torque and twist were pat of cutting. The layered, inconsistent ice will catch your auger and bind it. Cut slow and lift the auger to clear the hole after every few inches. Otherwise, your auger will get stuck. This ice may not be the best for an inexperienced auger master.
It is only 20 days until we reset the clocks. Hopefully Spring will be here soon.
For more Montana Grant, catch him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.