Spring Mack Days on Flathead Lake
By Hookemharry

Posted: March 16, 2006

Tomorrow is the day of the green. St Patrick’s day will be celebrated across Montana.

Anglers will be going for another form of green and a different kind of celebration with Spring Mack Days underway on Flathead Lake.

A total of $20,000 in cash and prizes will be given away again this year. The derby runs every Friday through Sunday from March 17 till Saturday April 15.

I don’t know about a fishing derby that starts on St Patty’s day and ends on tax day that seems to be an ominous arrangement somehow but something is bound to give.

The place that most anglers will do the best will be Rocky Point, said Dick Zimmer, the Macman out of Pablo from Zimmers tackle. That area has traditionally proven to be the best spot to try first throughout the whole derby.

Zimmer recommends starting in 190-200 feet of water, jigging a 1-1/2-ounce Lead-a-Gator in green chartreuse and glow. Another popular lure out of his repertoire is the Rattle-d-Zastor 1-1 ½ ounce green chartreuse and glow with a fly about 6 inches from the lure.

When the lake turns over sometime during the derby, then you will want to go deeper. Zimmer recommends 225-240 feet deep.

Make sure you have enough anchor rope and an anchor that will hold your boat so you are jigging vertically. Other areas you might try during the derby include Bird Island northwest and eastside shore, 175-195 feet; Painted Rocks, 110-170; Cedar Island 175-195 and the south point of Woods Bay, 100-200 feet deep.

The larger schools of smaller lake trout will be deeper and the larger lake trout will be in shallower water says Zimmer.

By shallow I mean 10-60 feet deep and you will have a better chance trolling for the bigger lakers than jigging, Zimmer said. Troll flies, squid, and Rapala lures.

The best places to look for the larger fish are Cromwell and Wild Horse Island, back in Polson Bay around the city docks and out in the north side of east Polson Bay.

If you are fishing the north end of the lake, then try the River Delta area where the Flathead River comes into the lake.

You might want to tip your lures with flavored cut-bait whether you are jigging or trolling, adds Zimmer. Just make sure you change it often.

The lake water level is down for spring runoff so the boat ramps that are currently accessible to the lake are Blue Bay, for an boat up to around 18 foot in length, Yellow Bay and Big Arm.

Call Zimmer at 675-0068 or log onto www.mackdays.com for more information on how to enter and rules of the derby.

Remember the Pike on Ice derby will take place on Salmon, Seeley, and Alva Lakes this Saturday and Sunday.

You must be at the rules meeting this Saturday at 8 a.m. at Seeley Lake Sporting Goods. Get your tickets at area sporting good stores and Roveros in Seeley Lake. Log onto www.pikeonice.com for more information.

Duck Lake on the Blackfeet Reservation is also having an ice fishing derby on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a $20 entry fee for both days. No tribal license is required. Prizes will depend on entries.

The awards will be presented at Montanas Duck Lake Lodge at 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 406-338-5770 for more information.

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