WHEN THE BITE, BITES!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: February 27, 2024

Getting skunked when fishing is no fun. Sadly, it happens even to the best anglers. The good news is that you don’t have to clean any fish, and a bad day fishing is better than working!

Meatstick and I went out for some ice time at the Causeway, near south Helena. It’s the first time that we ice fished in this spot. When the hard water is gone, bank fishing can be great. 

I saw several flocks of geese on the way in, which is usually a good luck sign. Several Icemen each ice season fall through the ice at this spot. There is always some open water and getting close to the edge means shallower ice. 

The temperature was over 40 degrees. The ice was cracking and talking but was at least 12 inches thick. Wheelers were trucking down the lake and several other groups were on the ice. Since you can use 6 rods to ice fish per angler, there were many holes scattered around. Some guys fished near the causeway; others walked out of sight. We set up in the middle.  

Meatstick started off strong, hooking a HUGE rainbow. He had it to the hole before it broke off. He was excited and things looked positive.

Mid to late season ice fishing is harder. The snow and thicker ice prevent light from entering the water. The cold water has slowed everything under the ice. Fish go into estivation, like hibernation, and the bite slows and disappears. Fish are suspended in a cold, dark environment, waiting for Spring. First ice and first melted ice off are the best times to fish. Fish are hungry and anxious to Bite.

Now I know there is always that guy that catches fish no matter what. Usually, that’s me. Ice fishing can be fickle later in the season. There are times when fish seem to break the rules and bite. Sometimes they bite for just a short time. Different lakes have different conditions. 

This day was not to be a Biteful time. We had a few very light bites, that we would have missed without a spring bobber. We could monitor the other groups and I saw just 2 small 12-inch trout come on the ice. The guy was using Jawjackers. I rarely get skunked but…

The great thing about fishing is spending the day outdoors with a buddy. There is always a snack, conversation, or something to do. After all, it is called “Fishing”, not “Catching”.


Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, join his Facebook group called “Montana Fishing For Fun!”

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