Captain’s Column: Ice Fishing
By Matt Schauer

Posted: December 21, 2011

There is plenty to do this time of the year when it comes to outdoor fun!

The ice fishing reports have been coming in from around Montana. The lakes are making ice and fisherman are drilling ice holes and jigging or using tip-ups to pull in some nice catches. “We went up to Georgetown Lake last week and did very well on kokanee salmon”, said Don Beardsley from Missoula.

Beardsley who claims Georgetown as his favorite lake told me that they were fishing off Comers Point in about 12-14 feet of water and the ice was about 5 inches thick. His fishing party ended up with over 30 kokanee for their efforts.

East bay on Flathead lake is iced over. That’s the latest ice fishing report out of the Mac-Man Dick Zimmer from Pablo. Zimmer caught perch and mackinaw ice fishing last week.

“I also saw some folks on the ice on lake Mary Ronan in front of Lake Mary Ronan Lodge and also in front of the State Park”, said Zimmer in an e-mail.

Paula Zimmer reports that Dick has also created a new lure that is doing well on the perch. It is called a “Double Whammy” consisting of two hooks on each end of a trilobite with spinners. Look for it at a local sporting goods store near you.

Make sure you use caution when ice fishing here are a few ice-safety reminders. Check out ice conditions before you go. Ask other anglers or local sources and take into account changes in the weather during the past 24 hours before your scheduled trip. Also it is a good idea to carry a pair of long spikes on a heavy string around your neck. That way if you break through the ice, you can use the spikes to grip the ice and pull yourself out of the water.

The east bay of Flathead Lake may be frozen but there is still open water on the main body of water on Flathead Lake and as long as the weather is nice the fishing is doing well. “Try trolling near any rock structure in 100 feet of water, set your down riggers for 45-65 feet of water”, says Bob Orsua from Mo Fisch Charters in his latest fishing e-mail report. They have been having luck off Angel Point, Cedar Island, the west side of Shelter Island and the north end of Wild Horse Island.

Wolf hunters now have an added incentive to head out in the woods and try to fill their tag. The Montana Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife is conducting a Montana Wolf Hunting Photo Contest. To qualify you must harvest a wolf with your Montana tag from now until the close of the season or the quota is filled. Photographers must acknowledge that the photo taken of a wolf harvested in any open Montana WMU and of course all the laws and hunting regulations were followed. The award for each qualified wolf photo will be $100 plus a free annual membership in MT-SFW. Send your pictures to MT-SFW, PO BOX 2243 Missoula, MT 59806.

Have a Merry Christmas!