Whitefish Bite? Captain’s Column
By Kjel

Posted: August 23, 2012

I don’t want to get anybodies hope up about the possibility of catching whitefish on Flathead Lake but I did receive this encouraging e-mail last weekend from Jim Vashro the Region 1 fish biologist for FWP and Flathead Lake.   “The mystery continues, I keep getting tantalizing reports. Chancy at Snappys says one angler caught 40 in front of the hatchery, another angler caught 15 at the delta. Sportsman Ski Haus says they are hearing of some at Woods Bay and at Big Arm Bay. It appears the whitefish are a little deeper than normal (50’-60’) and the perch are smaller than normal. That would fit with our thoughts on delayed growth”. This e-mail comes at an opportune time because the Whitefish Jig Fest is going to be held in conjunction with the Great Montana Mack Attack this weekend on Saturday and Sunday. More anglers than normal will be fishing Flathead Lake for whitefish. The tournament is going to be based out of Somers and the Vista Linda Restaurant. The largest lake trout by weight caught over 36 inches in length will win $1000 cash. There are lots of other categories to win cash and prizes which include catching one of the five largest lake trout by weight 28 inches or less. “We are also paying the top five whitefish that are brought in too”! said Gene Fincher, the tournament organizer It’s the first time the Great Montana Mack Attack has been combined with the Whitefish Jig Fest. “The response that I have received has been great so it should be a lot fun,” said Fincher. The lake trout fishing has been hit and miss lately. Many of the anglers will be trolling the north end of the lake by the river delta. The hot weather has pushed the fish a little deeper.

Here is what Bob Orsua had to say in his latest fishing report from Mo Fisch Charters, “Summer fishing on Flathead Lake remains steady. Fishing the north end of the center bar is a good area for smaller good eating lakers. Also the 300’ of water down the east side of the center bar is holding fish feeding on the shrimp”.

Last year during the Great Montana Mack Attack I had luck fishing over by Lakeside in 80-110 feet of water with Zimmer’s dead-bait pike minnow set-up. We caught 8 lake trout the first day with four in the slot and four at 28 inches, but that was last year and it was also during the beginning of August. “Remember when we measure the fish at the headquarters we pinch the tail”, added Fincher, “anglers need to be reminded about how to measure the fish so they are not disappointed when they come to weigh”. The year-round slot on Flathead Lake is 30-36 inches for lake trout, if you catch one in the slot you need to release it. “One more reminder if they catch a lake trout over 36 inches they need to call 406-261-6445 to register it before they bring it in,” said Fincher. Tickets are available through Fincher by calling 406-261-6445.