B.O.T.F !!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: December 22, 2023

Ice fishing Montana is a great way to teach younger generations how to fish. Many of the young kids and parents must work their butts off to make a living. Single parent families are the norm and Mentors are sometimes scarce.  Hunting and fishing means food to feed the family and bonding with family and friends. 

Like so many activities, veteran Mentors need to show other generations how to have fun. As we gain success, and experience, in fishing or hunting, the best time is when we teach others how to do what we love. When your student succeeds, you are the happiest!

The other day I opened my first and favorite Christmas gift. I got to take my son in law and Grandson ice fishing. Neither had ever caught a limit of fish through the ice. My grandson CC has had some fun action at kid fishing ponds but not in the wild. His Dad, Wheat Drillin Dylan, has caught a few fish but never limited out on the ice. Today he became an Iceman!

Ice makes lakes completely available. It’s like the whole lake is your boat! The ice needs to be safe and there are many things to learn, but with some patience, and education, fish find their way onto the ice. 

Pulling a fish out of an ice hole is a real addiction. You never know what you have until you pull the fish out. Small ones go back, and big ones go into the Meat Hole, an area shoveled out in the snow. 

Ice fishing is cold Duh! You need the right clothing, boots, gloves, hat, bibs, etc. Most Montana parents love to venture outdoors in the cold Winter. Take advantage of the gear you already have to stay warm. Hand warmers are a good idea. Snacks help too. I opened a couple handwarmers for CC to keep his hands warm.

Assign jobs for the kids. CC is my Hole Tech. His job includes using the ladle, chumming some corn, and jigging each rod a few times. Initially, we helped CC reel and set him up for success. By the end of the day, CC was a Big Boy and his dad had figured it out. They can also help to pull the sled.

On this day, we fished Hyalite Lake near Bozeman. The ice is 10-12 inches thick, with some frozen snow on top. There are not many icemen around. Most of the people there are walking dogs, ice skating, hiking, or cross-country skiing. 

CC had the hot hole! At 5 years old, he was putting on a clinic. Wheat Drillin Dylan and I had to catch up. I swear that there is a Kid Fishing God that looks out for new and young anglers. 

Nearby, another grandpa had his grandson fishing like experts. Mr. Tim was a great teacher, and his young grandson was loading up the ice! Veteran Icemen are the best!

The fish were on the bottom. If you were in the zone, you were in the fish. The cutthroats this year are more in the 12–16-inch range. Brookies are 10-14 inches. The trout are smaller than in other years but just as hungry. 

When CC started to sing his Fishing Song, the bite was on. The sun had set behind the trees, and it was getting cold. That’s when the fishing got hot.  We were all singing and reeling in the trout.

It only took a few cold hours to reach our limits. CC was ready to leave, and he was our clock. When you take kids fishing or hunting, they will tell you when it’s time to leave. Accept their time management and make them happy. 

The final measure of an iceman is to enjoy eating their catch. CC and his family love to eat fish. No filet goes to waste. After a year of Catch and Release, the trout, and other ice fishing catches, get released into the hot grease! Fresh fish is delicious. CC loves to eat fish!

Today was a BOTF kinda day. “Boys Only Trout Fishing” and the bite was on!

Montana Grant

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