Montana Ice Fishing Tournaments

Ice fishing is going strong
By Hookemharry

Posted: February 4, 2010

Ice fishing has been going strong on lakes all over Montana. Anglers are enjoying the good ice and catching some nice fish.

“I have some very good news for anglers that might want to drive a little and catch some salmon,” reports Matt McCombs from Mo Fisch 755-4414. “Two lakes up by Kalispell are producing some nice salmon – Swan Lake and Bitterroot Lake south and west of Kalispell.”

McCombs added, “At Swan anglers are fishing in 105 feet of water on the bottom right off the point by the highway and catching 3.5 to to 5 pound kokanee. On Bitterroot Lake anglers are jigging and catching 12-14 inch kokanee and then moving deeper for the bigger ones in 200-210 feet of water and once again they are fishing on the bottom.”

On both lakes, use glow Swedish pimples with a drop hook.

Ice fishing isn’t the only way to catch fish. On Flathead Lake and by the mouth of Flathead River, anglers have been catching lake trout. “I have heard that on the west shore at Wayfarers Park, anglers are casting spoons and doing well on lake trout,” added McCombs. “Boat anglers are jigging in 60-100 feet of water and catching lake trout as well on Flathead Lake .”

Ice fishing derbies are in full swing as we enter the month of February.

The annual Perch Pounder has started and will end on Saturday, Feb. 27. The month-long derby is a lot of fun and has produced one new state record perch in the past. You can fish all of the waters in Region One. To enter at $15 per person or for more information, contact Gene Fincher at 261-6445 or log onto

The Perch Assault Fishers of Men will be held this Saturday February 6 on Lake Mary Ronan. To enter, contact Mike Howe at 249-0556.

The McGregor Lake Resort fishing derby will take place on Saturday, Feb. 20. This derby is very popular and will attract close to 1,000 ice anglers competing for cash and prizes. To enter at $20 per person or for more information, contact Julianne Bacialli at 858-2253.

Finally, as a wrapup, Hell Creek Marina held its annual ice fishing tourney last Sunday. The winner, Jason Chamberlain of Gillette, Wyo., caught three northern pike (5.5, 2.8 and 9 pounds) and one laker (9.6 pounds) for a total of 26.9 pounds. Not bad for one short day of fishing.

I was in Bozeman last weekend for the Great Rockies Sport Show and was surprised to see about a healthy dose of snow on the ground. Seems like the “Queen City of the Rockies” is a magnet for snow because when drive 30 miles west the landscape looks a little more like Missoula.

The new snowfall that Western Montana received Sunday was good for the ski hills and snowmobile trails. We are tracking behind on snowpack for the year so every little bit of snow that we receive in the mountains will certainly be welcome.