EARLY ICE IS NICE!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: November 6, 2023

Montana is a cold place. The weather can do just about anything. Our latest snow has many Icemen thinking about pulling out their short rods!

For some, snow means work. College kids and other skiers can’t wait to hit the slopes. Hunters like snow because it gets the critters moving and makes for better tracking and spotting. For others snow is just white crap that makes getting to work tougher and requires shoveling. 

If you are not a snow junky, maybe Winter means Ice Fishing! Pulling a fish through an ice hole is simply magic. Some folks hate the idea of freezing, while sitting on a bucket, on a frozen lake. Many who hate ice fishing have never really done it, but it sounds nasty. At least when you come home from ice fishing, you can bring dinner. 

Ice Fishing is an addiction. Catching fish through the ice is unlike many other fishing styles. This is when I keep fish to eat. Fly fishermen and other sports Catch and Release all year. Ice men are catching dinner. Fresh fish are kept fresh on fresh ice. No ice chest or live well needed. Oh, and you don’t need a boat!

Ice men can get pretty crazy with gear or simply carry what they need in a bucket. You don’t need a tent or shanty, but some folks enjoy the extra comfort. A simple depth finder is all you need when ice fishing. That can be as simple as a string with a weight on it or a battery-operated fish finder. 

Short rods are used by shanty Ice men. You can use standard, longer rods if you fish in the open air. Modern boots, gloves, hats, and layered clothing makes being outside in the cold comfortable. Ice overalls are even made to float! 

Early ice is some of the best fishing. If you want to get in on the early ice, start getting your gear organized now. Once the ice is 5 inches thick, it makes for safe walking and quick hole cutting. The truth is that ice fishing is still a month away for most places. Holter and Hauser are later and Georgetown Lake, near Anaconda, is usually first. 

Hard Water will be here soon!

Montana Grant

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