Captain’s Column: Early Spring
By Kjel

Posted: March 29, 2012

Montana boat anglers have certainly got the spring bug in March. It normally happens in April and with the mild winter we have had in the state this month it seems that folks are out hitting the open water lot sooner than they were last year. If you recall last year not only did most of the lakes in Montana still have ice on them for most of April but the snow also hung around well into the month. This year however is definitely different in that regard. I am seeing more boats on the roads heading for water. Whether it is aluminum, fiberglass, drift boat or rubber raft, they all are being pulled by smiling anglers, another one of the sure signs of spring.

I joined in the fun last Sunday as KC Koppel, Devin Huntley and I took a day and fished Holter Reservoir. Even though all the ice had been off Holter for about a week and half it was a cold but very enjoyable day on the water. The water temperature was 34.7 degrees. This time of the year remember when you spend a day on the water- dress warm. It was also the maiden voyage for my boat this year and I was happy to find out that everything was working. Trout fishing was slower than I expected even though we ended up with 14 fish all together. Log onto to view pictures and find out what we were using. I observed quite a few anglers walleye fishing. I heard that some walleyes were caught last week by the Oxbow Bend area on Holter.]

If you haven’t already it’s time to go through your tackle box and make a check list of what you need to buy. Check your rods and reels and see what shape they are in.  Replace line on your reel and check the line guides on your fishing rod. Go through your boat and make sure you have a legal supply of life jackets for kids and adults. The fire extinguisher must be in working order and, depending on its length; your boat needs to have a throw cushion and other items. Then inspect the batteries and clean the connections. Inspect your trailer and check tire pressure. Inspect the wiring, bulbs, and ball bearings. It is not a bad idea to also locate the binoculars and rain gear you might have taken out of your boat last fall to use for the hunting season. Electronics that sit over the winter sometimes seem to have somehow developed operating problems that you wouldn’t normally detect until you are out on the water. That list includes electric trolling motors, fish finders and GPS units. It is a lot better to fix any problem by going through a check list now, rather than your first day on the water.

Spring Mack Days is still going strong it runs every Friday through Sunday during the month and ends Sunday May 20th. You can enter free if you log onto Remember it only takes one fish to win.

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