Captain’s Column: Change in Weather Improves Ice Fishing
By Kjel

Posted: January 26, 2012

The winter weather we have experienced in the last week has improved conditions for outdoor activity. Skiers, snowmobilers, and ice anglers are experiencing the best snow and ice of this winter. Dick Zimmer has been reporting that the perch fishing through the ice on Pablo Reservoir has been excellent. “In about 4 hours I caught 50 perch between 9 and 11 inches, it was constant action the whole time I was there”, said Zimmer in an e-mail. Zimmer was using his newest bait invention called the Alleye. Because of its light weight, it fishes best with 2 to 4 pound test line on a super light rod. Zimmer also used a spring bobber to insure sensitivity and a soft feel for the fish when they bite. Pablo Reservoir was completely drained a few years ago so when the reservoir filled back up with water it started over from scratch as a fishery. The perch size is respectable at 9-11 inches. Zimmer tipped his Alleye with a maggot or nightcrawler. For more information call Zimmer at 675-0068. You may also view pictures of the 50 perch he caught on line at

The Helena reservoirs are also producing some fish. Trout fishing and perch fishing along with kokanee salmon fishing have been fairly good. The kokanee fishing might be your best bet on the Helena Valley Regulating Reservoir. Troy Humphrey and Adam Strainer from FWP report that the kokanee fishing is good with orange or pink jigs tipped with a maggot or corn at 25 to 35 feet deep. The ice thickness is also good at 8-10 inches on the reservoir.

Canyon Ferry has improved its ice conditions to 12-14 inches south of Confederate Bay and the current ice line is just north of White Earth. The rainbow trout bite remains consistent between the Silos and Pond 4 using various colors of jigs or ice flies, tipped with worms or maggots, in 2-12 feet of water. The yellow perch bite is also good between Duck Creek and Hole in the Wall. Hali Jigs, Swedish Pimples or Buckshot’s tipped with maggots or worms and fished in 35-50 feet of water are working well.

Hauser Reservoir has had good reports from anglers fishing below the Canyon Ferry Dam while using egg sacks or Marabou Jigs. Rainbow trout are being caught through the ice at the Causeway while using green or chartreuse jigs tipped with maggots. Ice on the Causeway is only 6 inches thick with ice and slush on the top. Holter Reservoir has ice but it is unsafe to go on. There have been no reports of walleye or ling being caught on any of the reservoirs over in the Helena area.

Remember that the wolf season in Montana is still underway. “Hunters may not realize that there are good, accessible areas for wolf hunting and there are still open area quotas. For those wanting to harvest a wolf now is the time”, said Quentin Kujala, FWP Wildlife Section Chief. As of Last Sunday 138 wolves have been harvested this season.


New Podcast!