MT Outdoor Report by Neal Cote with Bob Ward’s Sports & Outdoors 1.17.20
By angelamontana

Posted: January 21, 2020

New snowfall in the high country means awesome skiing and snow boarding is happening right now!!!

Colder temps are building ice on the lakes finally!!! Are you ready? If you can’t answer that question, stop on in to the closest Bob Wards to get geared up!!! 

Snow Reports

Snow Bowl- Base 37” Summit 67”.  Here is their report:

SNOW PARK expansion will be open today! LaValle Chair will be closed today, skiing off Grizzly. Grizzly, Il Cesso, Pressure Drop, Longhorn, Angel Face, Chicken Chute Open. Open daily 9:30 to 4:00 pm, Half Day at 12:30 pm. Shuttle bus service running weekends, pick up at 8:20 am at Univ Rec Center, 8:45 am near Town Pump and leaving Snowbowl at 4:15 pm

Lost Trail- Base 50” Summit 58” This is directly from their web page:

Good Morning Skiers and Boarders this is your snow report for Friday, Jan 17th at 5:30am. We got another 2″ of snow last night and it is still snowing with a current temp of 19°F. With that snow we are now 17″ of powder this week and over 5 and a half feet on the month alone! Things are filling in and looking great. We did have some wind yesterday and that caused our Chair 4 to be on hold throughout the day. So there is lots of powder on that side of the area still for the taking. We look forward to skiing you on the mountain. Don’t forget we are open Monday Jan 20th for  Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Discovery- Base 24” Summit 38”. 35 Trails are currently open

Ice fishing is Here!!! More and more gear and tackle is arriving every week, so get on over and get the right gear to make the most of this year’s season!!

 Lake Fishing

Salmon and Seeley- Ice Conditions can very from day to day, so make sure to check ice thickness as you venture out on any lake!!! At last report, there was 8-12 inches in the bays of both lakes, but with the warming conditions, that can change rapidly. Tip ups rigged with quick strike rigs and baited with smelt work very well on early ice. Perch fishing can be OK yo Good if you search for the transitions from deep water silt to gravel or weeds. Green and Flo Orange have been the colors, fished right on the bottom. Swedish Pimples, Forage Minnows, and Hali type jigs.

Georgetown- 10-12” of ice reported from various locations on the lake. Georgetown can be tricky for ice conditions though so be extremely careful!!! Trout fishing has been excellent, but Kokanee have been hit and miss. Swedish Pimples in Flo Orange and Chartreuse are always solid choices for the Rainbows and Brookies. Snap jig them then pause. Think smaller for the Kokanee, with a dropper below a Sweedish Pimple in size 12-16 tipped with one or two Maggots. If you are targeting Kokanee think open water areas and be set up around 6am.

Browns- 8-12” or more, fishing has been slow. Yellow tube jigs and medium sized spoons tipped with maggots.

Holter- Not enough ice yet, as this is one of the last places to ice up. If you are dead set to fish here, try fishing below the dam. Night fishing for Ling has been good at night. Sucker cut bait tipped on lighter glow jigheads has been good. Trout fishing during the day has been good with smaller nymphs. 

Canyon Ferry-Same as Holter, ice is pretty thin as of this last weekend.

River Fishing

Clark Fork- nymphing has taken over as the best tactic to catch numbers. Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear, Prince, Purple Prince and many other mayfly nymph patterns fished near the bottom are all going to get bit. Also, don’t forget to swing a big streamer through the hole, it might not bag you a lot of fish, but it will get you into some of the biggest fish. Whitefish fishing is picking up, Peacock has been the color!!! Most of the flow ice is gone from the main channels, but be careful of shelf ice!!!

Rock Creek- Same as the Clark Fork, but the water temps are even cooler here. Fish mid- day to afternoon. 

Bitterroot- Look for nymphing to be the best bet. Smaller 16-18 mayfly nymphs will keep you in the Whitefish, and maybe upsizing to10-12’s or changing up to a bigger stonefly nymph will get the Trout. Bigger streamers are also a good bet if you are looking for quality vs. quantity.

Blackfoot- Starting to look like winter in the canyon, but persistent nymphing and swinging bigger streamers will produce a few fish. Be prepared for cold temps, and look to the afternoon to fish best.