Lake trout fishing on fire-Video proof!

I know it has been awhile since I have posted a report, so here is a double one!

Flathead Lake is fishing like we have not seen in years, all across the NW corner of the lake, and the Delta as well. Troll chartreuse Pro Troll Flashers with Brads Mini Cut Plugs in perch colors at 2.o mph, down 25-45 on the riggers, in 70-100 feet of water. Darker colored hoochies behind silver or silver with UV purple dodgers fished the same way are also producing and the spoon bite can’t be far off!

Big fish are starting to show up in their usual summer places, troll big flat fish on the bottom. The below video explains how we do it to keep those big old fish releasable to be caught again.

Technology and Fishing

As another open water season unfolds before us, I am once again amazed by the advances we are seeing in the fishing tackle industry. I speak about technology in the ice fishing segment every year, from sonar to plastics to clothing and battery powered ice augers, but the open water industry is certainly home to many new and exciting innovations. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Sonar technology is probably the one area where it is easy to become overwhelmed, and many who purchase this advanced technology never scratch the surface of the unit’s capability. CHIRP technology is one of the newest terms when it comes to sonar, and it simply means the unit uses a multiple frequency sonar section rather than a fixed frequency, such as the common 83 Khz or 200 Khz range. This allows the units computer to analyze the returns, and determine what and how it will display, separating strong signals from weak, flesh and bone from rock and wood, and allowing less interference from other nearby units. Chirp also excels in deeper water situations, where it was originally developed.

Mapping technology has also come a long way, and there are now programs that allow you to map the lake bottom as you fish, assembling all the info as you go into a comprehensive map that you can share with others globally, or keep to yourself. This technology is allowing hundreds of anglers in Florida, using the Navionics program, to re-map coastal areas that were ravaged by Hurricane Irma. This is especially helpful around here, where lake mapping is nowhere near the level of the more populated states.

Tungsten weights and lures have been increasingly popular in the ice fishing world, where small jigs are the norm, and the extra weight without increased size is almost always welcome. Tungsten in the open water world offers the same benefits, but also allows much better feel as anglers move jigs and weights along the bottom, transmitting information directly to the anglers hands. Rock, wood, sand and gravel bottoms all feel different, and the accompanying noise can attract a fish’s curiosity. Smaller jig heads also allow the bait to become the focal point, and the fact that tungsten is nontoxic compared to lead is not lost as more and more anglers are becoming concerned about the effects of lead and the environment.

Carbon fiber and graphite have been used in rod construction for years now, and these materials are now finding their way into reel construction, oars, net handles, fishing shoes and more. Rod and reel combos in the $100 range and up weigh increasingly less, offer unprecedented feel and cast small lures and flies like rockets. Rods and reels are now measured in ounces, rather than pounds. Light weight and less mass means an angler can fish longer with less effort, all benefits especially to aging anglers whose hands, wrists and shoulders may not be all they once were!

Lastly… line. It was not very long ago when Dupont introduced monofilament fishing line to the masses, who until then were dealing with cotton, nylon, rayon and dacron fishing lines. Mono changed how anglers fished, just as braided lines, fluorocarbon and micro lines have. Today’s angler has more choices in line material, strength, construction and uses than ever before. No matter what technique or reel you use, there is a line that has been developed for you, and good ol’ monofilament is better than ever.

One look through the fishing departments at our local retailers, or an hour spent paging through the latest Cabelas or Bass Pro catalog is enough to make the most seasoned angler feel like a rookie, but don’t despair! Doing a little research on your own, talking with the folks who work in the fishing departments and spending a little time on You Tube will help you find the new technology that was designed to make you a better angler. I’ll see you on the water!

Kam Jam!

Who’s ready for some ‘loopers? WE are, and the time is now! With temperatures already dropping into the mid-’50s on Little Bitterroot Lake, the big Kamloops (Gerrard) Rainbows are starting to bite. We never know how long the bite will last, maybe two weeks, maybe 6-8, but the time is now to get on our calendar if you want to fish this Fall. Bring three to five of your best friends and let’s do this! Half day trips ARE available, but full days get you some nice Kokanee as well.
(Our schedule is not allowing any Koocanusa trips this Fall, we will start those up again in the spring, but the GIANTS are in Bitterroot, legit chance at a 20# plus if we put the time in…)

406-755-4414

Mike Howe
Owner, Howe’s Fishing
Mo Fisch and A Able Charters

An amazing season continues…

WOW, has the 2017 charter season been one to remember, and perhaps the even better news is, it ain’t over yet!  There is still plenty of fishing left as we move from Summer to Fall, as the days get a little shorter and the temperatures (hopefully) get a little cooler.  Archery and upland bird hunters wait all year for September, and anglers should feel that same longing as we begin to again target big Rainbows, pre-spawn Lake Trout and Lake Whitefish, pre-ice Perch and more.

But let’s back up a bit. At the beginning of the season, Cindy and I purchased Mo Fisch Charters based out of Lakeside, Montana, adding to the A Able fleet of four boats based primarily out of Marina Cay Resort in Bigfork. The three historically full time boats in the Mo Fisch fleet would shrink to only one full time and two part time boats for 2017 due to personnel changes, creating quite the scheduling challenge, but all the guides in the now combined company knew the obstacles we faced (or so we thought) and were ready for what the summer would bring, all working under the new banner of “Howe’s Fishing”.

The Mackinaw fishing was great in the early stages of summer, backed up by the strong catches of all the boats that participated in the annual Fishing Without Barriers event.  All five of the participating Howe’s Fishing boats had better catches than we have had in years, contributing greatly to the number of fish brought in for the fish fry and ensuring that everyone who wanted a seat to go fishing were accommodated.

As the summer progressed, many of the Lake Trout we cleaned were packed with small perch, and soon after, the Lake Superior Whitefish showed up in numbers not seen for almost a decade. By late July, these feisty and delicious fish would dominate our catches as all the Captains were determined to “one-up” their teammates each day, with many outings putting upwards of 20-30 fish per trip into the nets!  The only thing better than the numbers of Whitefish were when large Lakers began to be caught on the outskirts of the giant schools of Whities!  A ten to twenty pound Mackinaw, caught relatively shallow on medium light spinning gear, offers an incredible fight, surpassing almost any other freshwater battle on the planet.

With September’s arrival, the combined efforts of A Able Charters and Mo Fisch Charters provided over 600 guided trips to clients from Montana to Maine and all corners of North America, not counting our dozens of trips conducted on Fort Peck in Eastern Montana, and we aren’t done yet! The Whitefish and Lake Trout are still biting daily and Walleye, Lake Trout and Chinook Salmon on Fort Peck are still providing incredible daily opportunities.  If you want to catch a mid-twenty pound Chinook salmon anywhere between Alaska and the Great Lakes, we need to get you on a boat with us out of the Lakeridge Resort in Fort Peck!

Large Kamloops/Gerrard Rainbows will be occupying our time very soon, as will pre-spawn Whitefish in the Flathead River on our War Eagle jet boat. Also, Pike, Bass and pre-winter jumbo Perch as we start to think about our guided ice fishing trips from the Flathead Valley to Fort Peck that will begin in December, if we get any kind of early winter.  No other outfitter in Montana offers the variety of trips in multiple locations all season long as the combined services of Howe’s Fishing, A Able and Mo Fisch Charters can.

2017 was an amazing year, and as we segue into Fall and Winter, all of us stand ready to make your fishing memories our top priority and as always, Cindy and I, as well as Matt, Clay, Pat, Chris, Bryan, Jr, Cameron, Tommy, Jason, Eddie, Taylor and Justin ALL wish you tight lines and we hope to see you on the water real soon!

Mike Howe, Outfitter

Come celebrate a life well lived…

Apologies if this comes as a shock to anyone who did not know of Captain Bob’s passing…

On Saturday July 8th, from 1-4 PM, we will be celebrating and honoring Captain Bob Orsua with a BBQ in his honor, and ALL are welcome.

There will be good food, great memories and an opportunity to hear more about where Mo Fisch is going in the future!

Please join us at Sherman and Patti Quiram’s home in Creston, MT, 183 Creston Road and give them a call if you have any questions.  406-212-2448

No Bad Days

Mike Howe

Summer’s here and the time is right…

Hello again folks, Captain Mike here. With Memorial Day behind us, and a rising lake beckoning, we are days away from putting all the boats into their summer moorage. Our summer staff is now selected and there will be a total of five guides dedicated to you, the Mo Fisch customer, for the 2017 season. In the coming weeks, I will be doing a bio or highlight on each of them.

Fishing in May saw some great days, and some not so great days, but with cold, muddy, rising then falling waters, that might be expected! The last couple of days have seen many fish 28″ and over with a couple pushing the twenty pound mark! No real giants yet, but as we get busier, and have more boats out daily, the odds will go up. Maybe the next one will be YOU!

We are now running our “Fathers Day Special”, so Dad fishes free with any paid charter so why not make this the year you give Dad that gift he won’t ever forget? Remember, we can take up to six anglers on our boats, so the whole family can join in. Have an even larger group? We have the “Fun Time” available which can take up to FIFTEEN passengers! Call and ask.

Anglers now need to cover some water until you find the feeding fish. If you fish an area with lot’s of fish on the sonar, try a variety of lures, but don’t spend too much time on fish that won’t bite. Once you find the feeding fish, stay on them.

We are finding success with Wordens Flatfish drug in the mud in the 120-140 foot depths, as well as a shallow (15-25′ down) bite on the Delta when the water clears enough for those fish to see the target.

We have several Perch and Kokanee charters booked over the next several days, I will let you know how they go!

Tight lines and No Bad Days!

Captain Mike Howe

Mo Fisch NEWS and Fishing Report

Hi Everyone, Captain Mike Howe here, from Howe’s Fishing/A Able Charters.  By now, most everyone has heard that we lost Captain Bob suddenly due to cancer last month.  Almost as unexpectedly, the opportunity for Cindy and I to purchase Mo Fisch presented itself and we felt blessed and honored to do so.

The day to day operations of Mo Fisch will not really change at all, other than that we will all miss Bob, and I will do my best to carry on all the traditions that Mo Fisch is known for. Long time guides Matt McComb and Tom Cobianco will continue to operate their boats from our same Lakeside location and we welcome a new guide, Junior Garrison, who has purchased Bobs boat.  Same phone number, same webpage, but a new email address if you wish to contact us direct, fishing@mofischcharters.com

NOW, let’s talk fishing!  First up, join Captain Matt as he presents a lake trout fishing seminar THIS Saturday, April 1st, 10:00AM, at Snappy Sport Senter in Kalispell.  Matt will update everyone on the current conditions on Flathead lake, and cover all the basics you need to be successful on the big water.

Fishing has been RED HOT for the last ten days or so, as it typically is this time of year. Flathead is about three feet higher than normal for this time of year and launching and loading from Westshore State Park is a breeze. Both Matt and Junior have been having success trolling T-55 and T-60 Flatfish in 180′ in the Painted Rocks area.  Both steel line outfits and downriggers just off the bottom have been working. This is a slow presentation, 0.9-1.3 mph is just about right.

In the deeper water on the East side of the Center Bar, trolling Brads Cut Plug Super Baits has been working on those nice 3-6 pound eater size fish.  Locate these fish on your electronics and troll slightly above them.  If using a dodger/flasher ahead of the lure, remember to keep the leader about 40-60 inches as these lures have plenty of their own action, and if you are too close to your attractor, you foul up the manufacturers designed action.  We often only use a small plastic trolling rudder five feet ahead of the lure when the fish are thick.  Now, go get some!  Tight lines, and No Bad Days!

 

Captain Mike

Early Bookings

Just to pass this onto our old and new clients. This has been an interesting winter as we are getting many advance bookings this early in the winter. We have taken deposits for trips as far out as next July and next November. If this is any sign to come for next season, I would suggest to book early to get the date/dates you desire.

FLATHEAD LAKE

My favorite time to fish the big lake is March, April and May.  The reason is we target the bigger lake trout and do very well! Our best days ever for the big lakers can come at this time of the season. High teens and low 20 lb. fish are common. Average 8 to 12 fish to the boat on a half day charter.

LAKE KOOCANUSA

Lake Koocanusa can be very productive in March, April and May. The surface temperature is still very cold and the big rainbows are very aggressive. The ice and the weather will dictate when we get back on this body of water, but I sure do look forward to it.

Book early, I think it is going to be a very busy year.

Another great season

I want to thank all our clients and friends for our best year ever. The weather was a little rough last spring and it took awhile for summer to get here but the fishing was great. We caught some big kams on Lake Koocanusa, biggest was 15lbs.

Flathead Lake produced a steady catch of 3 to 5 lb. lakers and some nice bigger fish, the biggest weighed in at 26 lbs., 42″.

Swan Lake and Lake Koocanusa fished well. Limits of kokanee, pike and rainbows were very plentiful.

We will be back on the water in March. Lake Koocanusa will be fishing good all winter if you can get a boat on the lake.

Also, Flathead Lake fishes really well in the winter just be careful of the winter weather.

So all in all it was a great 2016.  THANK YOU

Happy Holidays

See you in the spring,  Remember NO BAD DAYS!

Big Rainbows/Lots of lake tout

Okay, time to get ready for the fall fishing on Lake Koocanusa for those big kamloop rainbows. The catching should really start getting good about mid October. The surface water temperature needs to get down to about 58 degrees or less and the bite will begin and be good all winter long. Last year our biggest kam was  almost 17 lbs. Most of the rainbows we caught were in the 8 to 10 pound range, so this year those fish should be in the teens? Also we can keep one bull trout per person per year. Stop by the FWP office in Kalispell and pick up a catch card, no charge.

The Lake Trout bite is on. The fish have moved into shallower water, 55 to 80 ft. of water. The bait has moved in closer to the shoreline. The lake trout spawn in November in about 35 ft. of water so it is time to fish closer to shore for big numbers of the 22 to 26″ lakers. We have been averaging 12 to 20 fish per charter.