I want to concentrate my first column of the New Year with information that will enable you to have some winter fun in Montana. Just because it’s the middle of winter, that doesn’t mean there aren’t many recreational opportunities out there.
First of all, waterfowl hunters still have a few days left in the Pacific flyway. Goose season closes this Sunday, Jan. 6. Duck season closes on a Friday this year – Jan. 11.
The latest reports say there seem to more and more ducks gathering in the area during the last couple of weeks. Canada goose populations remain strong on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
This time of the year both ducks and geese are decoy-shy so make an extra effort to conceal yourself when you set up your blind.
Dick Zimmer, from Pablo, recently went fishing on Flathead Lake with two other anglers and they fared pretty well. One day, they caught 33 lake trout and according to him “that was slow”. The next day, he said was “a phenomenal day of fishing.”
They were using a Lead-a-Gator with the new LMR Special tied on a chartreuse glow body with gold thread and a lime Firetail. Zimmer reports that over half of their fish were caught on the fly baited with maggots or with no bait at all. They were fishing at Rocky Point in about 100-150 feet of water. Gravel Bay also produced some fish at the same depth.
Zimmer also spent some time last week ice fishing on Crow Reservoir. The ice he reported was thick enough to walk on. He fished from 3 p.m. till dark and caught 21 perch between 9-11 inches. He also landed a nice size smallmouth bass. Quarter-ounce yellow glow Trilobites tipped with maggots in 12-15 feet of water near the southwest corner of the reservoir worked the best.
There is a Perch tourney on Lake Mary Ronan on Saturday, Jan. 12. Get in touch with Zimmer for more information or current-fishing conditions at 406-675-0068 or you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Helena area, anglers are ice fishing on the Causeway on Hauser Lake and on the Helena Regulating Reservoir according to Clete Daily, from Lakeside Resort (406-227-6076). Anglers stand a chance of having a trout, perch, or walleye take their offering.
Lisa, at Silos RV Park 406-266-3100 on the south end of Canyon Ferry Lake, reports that ice fishing has picked up in the last week. The ice is not thick enough to drive a vehicle on yet but four-wheelers and snowmobiles are doing okay. Trout fishing has been fair and the perch fishing is better than fair.
A few perch in the pound-to-pound-and-a-half size are being caught. The annual Broadwater Lion Perch Derby will be held Jan. 19-20 on the south end of the lake. Give Lisa a call for more information.
If you are involved in an ice fishing tourney, please let me know. I will do my best in getting the word out for you. E-mail me the information at email@example.com or drop it in the mail addressed to Ice fishing, 5645 Kristin Lane, Missoula, Montana 59803.