The ice is melting off of Flathead Lake and Westshore State Park is now open. Watch for some floating ice. In a week or so I am sure the lake will be completly open and free from all ice. We did two charters last weekend and it continues to be great fishing for big fish. We hooked 20 fish but only landed 13. The biggest fish was 38? at 19 lbs. All the fish were very healthy. Six fish in the slot size and a couple under the slot good for the dinner table. We were fishing deep at 190 to 200 ft. I look for the winter fishery to continue on the strong side. When the runoff starts, sometime in May, the fish will migrate to the river mouth. Get out and enjoy the great fishing. Be careful, pick a calm day.
See Ya on the water
We will be at the Montana Sportsman’s Expo in Kalispell Mt. on Friday Feb. 28th, Saturday March 1st. and Sunday March 2nd., 2014. Flathead County Fairgrounds-Trade Center, stop by our booth and say hi! We will be offering some great prices on some fishing tackle and free fishing advise. Also, we will have a show special on charters prices for 2014.
See you there
The lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake remains steady!
The last couple of weeks we have averaged 15 fish in the boat each trip. Yesterday, the biggest fish was 38” long and 15.8 lbs. Today we boated 5 nice slot fish at 31” to 34″ and cleaned 10 smaller fish, just right for the smoker.
What to use:
Flatfish on the bottom. Try the Mag lip from Worden’s, also the original flatfish in size T-50 or T-55 red/white, glow/white, silver/blue, and frog. Remember fish all these lures close to the bottom and very slow.
Try the flats off Westshore State Park in 160’ of water. Try trolling south as you get into deeper water 200’. Remember, keep an eye on the weather. West Shore State Park is the only good usable boat ramp to use this time of year. FWP does plow and sand the road, also the boat dock is usable.
Winter fishing on Flathead lake continues to be good. We can launch at West Shore State Park. We are fishing in 80-160 ft. of water from the boat launch to Cedar Island. Fishing shallow at 80’ try the typical dodger or flasher combo with the houchies in a glow white. Also try the Brad’s Super Bait behind a flasher.
If you want to try and target the bigger fish, try 120-190’ of water with big flatfish on the bottom. Remember, fish these flatfish at 1 mph or less as these big fish will not chase a lure very fast.
We put 11 fish in the boat yesterday morning in 3 hours. Nice size fish, 3-6lbs. perfect for eating.
The water temperature is 38 degrees, be careful and stay warm. If the wind comes up play it safe and get off the lake.
Just a reminder, winter is the time to do all your maintenance so you are ready to go in the spring. Winterize that boat, change the oil and the lower unit oil. Take your electronics out of the boat and store inside the house. Any LCD (liquid crystals) should not be left out in the cold. I always change my fishing line and start with new line every spring. Organize your lures and tie up some new leaders, build up your inventory of hooks, snaps and swivels.
For those of you that don’t know, I am the ASC (authorized service center) for Cannon downriggers in our area. Now is a good time to have those downriggers repaired, serviced before the season starts, before we all are very busy. Things to check on your downrigger would be the axle on the front roller, the cable, and cord. If you have any trouble with the switch going up or down it should be replaced. The clutch disc should be cleaned and lubed. Clean the electric board and reseal the case cover. Check your electric power cords, sometimes they get weather checked and start to crack. If you see any cracks in the cord, replace it. Cannon has changed the cord style on all their downriggers to the new style. It is a better cord and connection, but all the old cords will have to be replaced with the new style. There are no old style cords available. Remember a little maintenance in the off season could save extended down time in the summer.
Lake Koocanusa has been fishing okay. Two largest rainbows were 5 to 6 lbs. We have lost a couple that were bigger in the 10-12 lb. range.
Streamer flies have been picking up most of the fish. We have been averaging 6 to 10 fish per day.
The darker colors like purple, black, brown have been working the best. We caught a few fish on the dark colored Lyman plugs. Also a few fish on the rainbow patterned Rapalas.
The bigger fish will be showing more as the winter progresses. When the water temperature gets this cold try trolling a little slower, 2.6-2.8 mph. The surface water temperature was 48.0 degrees and dropping. Also catching and releasing 4 to 5 bull trout a day. Remember we cannot keep any bull trout this year.
Timing is everything, and now is the time. Lake Koocanusa is fishing great. We are averaging 8 to 12 fish a charter. The biggest rainbow so far in the boat tips the scale at 6 lbs. We have have put several 4 to 5 pound fish in the boat. Also we are catching 2 or 3 bull trout a trip. The surface water temperature is down to 50 degrees/PERFECT and only going to get better. As the water temperature goes down the fish come up. This time of year they get very aggressive and fight very hard.
They are hitting bucktail flies and Lyman plugs on the surface as well as sub surface using the downriggers. Remember dark days, dark lures, sunny days bright lures.
Check out some pictures on the home page for most recent catches for Lake Koocanusa.
See ya up north
It is time to be fishing for those Kamloop rainbows. The surface temperature is down to 52.0 degrees.
We fished last week and averaged 8-12 fish per day. The biggest 2 rainbows weighed in at 5 lbs. each. The biggest bull trout was approx. 8 lbs. Remember we cannot keep any bulls this year so no need to take them out of the water to weigh them. Keep them in the water and release them as soon and as careful as possible.
We caught fish on streamer flies, Lyman lures, and Rapalas. Colors seem to be more in the dark colors. Black/purple, black/silver and browns all worked well. The boat ramp is in good shape and as long as we can use the upper ramp the Forest Service will have the boat dock available to us.
Remember keep that speed in the 3.0 to 3.5 mph. If you have downriggers try a 11″ flasher with a bucktail flie tied on 36″ behind the flasher. Set the downrigger where ever you see the fish on the fish fider. usually anywhere from 45′ to 90′.
Stay warm on the water and keep the boat going forward.
Fishing Lake Koocanusa can only get better.
We fished last weekend on the north end and south of the bridge for the Kamloop rainbows. We did catch 3 rainbows and 3 bull trout. The biggest bull was approx. 5 lbs. remember, this year you cannot keep any bull trout so handle them with care and get them released as soon as possible. The biggest rainbow went about 6 lbs.
We caught fish on the bucktail flies and Lyman plugs on the surface, also jointed Rapalas. We also caught two bulls off the downrigger one at 55 ft. and 65 ft.
We did mark a lot of fish on the fish finder, big schools of Kokanee salmon. The surface temperature was 58-59 degrees. In a couple weeks the fishing should get much better and the big fish will start to show up. The best time for this fishery is when the surface water temperature gets down to 55 degrees or less.
It is getting to that time of year to start fishing for those big Kamloop rainbows in Lake Koocanusa. We are filling up fast with many charters for Oct. Nov. and Dec. If you are thinking of booking a trip with us, book as soon as possible.
Prime time is when the surface water temperature gets down to 55 degrees or less. When the surface temperature drops those big rainbows start to feed near the surface, become very active, and hit your lure with such aggressive behavior. It is a spectacular fish to catch and a great battle to get that fish to the boat.
Give this fishery a try. Remember patience pays off with big rewards on this lake. Keep the boat going forward and keep the lines in the water.
Be sure your boat is ready for this winter fishery. Staying warm makes the long days more enjoyable and keeps you out there longer. Make sure your boat batteries are in good shape.The cold weather is tough on weak batteries, and all your equipment.
Get your tackle ready. I re-spool all my reels every year; it would be a shame to hook a 20lb. rainbow and have your line fail. Check your fishing reels. Remember a little reel lube on the moving parts helps keep the ice from forming and having a failure, especially on the worm gear on those level line reels.
Stock up on your favorite lures. It always seems like you find a hot lure and then the tackle shops are all out of them.
If you have any questions about this fishery, feel free to drop me an email or give us a call.