Report from Dick Zimmer/Zimmer tackle

Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 4:20 PM
Subject: Fishing Report from the macman



Opportunities for lake trout and perch are optimal at this time.  Because of improved techniques and awareness of fish concentration areas, catch numbers are very high for lake trout.  The fish are either very deep (pivot depth at 250 feet) the deep fish are primarily feeding on shrimp or feeding on the fish that are feeding on the shrimp.  The shallow water group is feeding almost exclusively on small fish so as a result they run bigger on average than the deep runners but aren’t normally as good eating.  A ¾ oz of 2 oz Glo Grub in either green chartreuse glow or white glow color below a glow fly have been the best producers.  Our green scented cut bait with an additional scent of WD-40, shrimp oil or even anise are all ways of enhancing your bait in the dark reaches of the lake where these fish hunt primarily by scent and sound.

My partner and I boated 54 fish yesterday which is no more than an average day when you take into account the number of fisherman who are harvesting the 50 fish a day limit.  The one event that made our day unusual was landing a 28 lb behemoth (picture included).  This fish was released so it still lurks the depth of Flathead Lake.  I told my partner I’d keep the location a secret for one week, but because this fishing hole is more a line that runs for a bout 20 miles rather than a specific spot you don’t need a GPS reading to have great fishing.  The 28 pounder was caught about 3 miles North on the same 250 foot depth line as the 30 pounder that is leading the Mack Days contest. 

The largest numbers of lake trout are being taken on the mud line near the river delta at the North end of Flathead Lake.  Here you can add Lead-a-Gators and Rattle –D Zastors to your arsenal of gear. 

If you want to target large fish in either the delta area or the 250 foot line at mid-lake try fishing a whole fish. Bait fish up to two pounds are used if our interested in catching a real flathead lake monster. 

Long lining in the shallows will get you more fish than using a down rigger.  A countdown perch or firetiger Rapala or a hammered brass spoon is good bets for lures.  If you use floating Rapalas and you stop for any reason you might find yourself fighting an osprey (fish hawk).

The perch in East Bay are back in fairly heavy weed cover.  On days when the water is murky a flame red 1/16 oz or 1/32 oz lead head below a bobber baited with night crawler has been working well. 

Nice messes of 10-12 inchers are being taken.  Because cooler water comes into the bay as the lake rises the window to catch perch in any quantity is fairly short.  Four weeks is about the length of the bite.  You probably have about three weeks remaining.  For up to the minute information call us at 406-675-0068 email us at:     to see our tackle line and new reports check out our website at   Good fishing. 

The Macman




The runoff has started. We have been fishing on the east side of the delta. The fish are there, just try different spoons and flasher combinations. We had mixed results last sunday with spoons, and dodger squid combinations. Also jigging in the 160′ of water was producing good numbers of small fish. I troll the edges of the mud line as well as in the muddy water. The wind will push the mud line around the lake. Watch your fish finder and you will see the schools of fish. Troll your spoons just over the top of the schools. If you find large schools of fish, stop and jig for them. Be flexible and you will catch fish.


See ya in the fish lane   “Ben”

Steady fishing

Fished this morning and it was very frustrating. We are seeing a lot of fish on the fish finder, but cannot figure out how to get them to bite. We did manage to put 6 fish in the boat. I am hearing the same results from many of the other boats. I figure stay with it, mix up your presentation and the bite should turn on any day. Keep fishing and that day should come soon. The fish today were all caught on spoons. Try crockadile, in perch pattern, and the brown melon by Diamond King. It is time to experiment some and show the fish something different, you just might hit on the right combination.


Tight lines

nice weather

I did a charter today, and the fishing was very good. We put 5 fish in the cooler, released one slot fish and lost 3 more fish. The weather was very windy to start the day, but ended nice and calm. It was a morning bite and ended slow.  I fished the south end of the delta in 140ft. of water and marked a lot of fish. I think the bite is going to get better as the weather settles down. 

See ya on the water

co-op meeting

Please attend the first round of public meetings that will be held in Polson (April 12), Kalispell (April 13) and Missoula (April 14) that will gather your comments and ideas for an optimal solution. Strategies that will be discussed include angling, commercial fishing, bounties and agency netting. In Kalispell it will be held at the Red Lion at 7:00P.M. April 13

Flathead Lake Co-Op Plan

Guest Editorial submission


Flathead Wildlife Inc. has been protecting and enhancing our hunting and fishing heritage in the Flathead and in Montana for over 50 years.  We support biologically sound management of outdoor natural resources, which include hunting and fishing on an optimum yield basis. We support the conservation of natural resources for future generations. We strongly oppose those who would take away our outdoor recreational heritage, whether by gun control, privatization of public lands or wildlife, destruction of wildlife habitat, pollution, stream degradation or any other unwise use of our natural resources.


FWI recently invited several key members of the CSKT and MTFWP to an open meeting to discuss the issues that face us, specifically in regard to the recent CSKT pilot project to aggressively increase the harvest of lake trout in Flathead Lake.  Under the guise of protecting native fish, specifically the bull trout and presumably the west slope cutthroat trout, although the latter, an important piece of the puzzle 10 years ago when the current ten year co-management plan was written, seems to have been largely unaddressed as of late.


There has been great buzz as of late regarding this issue, with many citizens writing letters to the editors of several local newspapers, as well as letters to our Governor and Director of FWP.  The overwhelming opinion of the general public is that this process needs to be slowly, carefully and deliberately proceeded upon, with a high level of scrutiny through an environmental impact statement.  We need to make absolutely sure that we do not let emotional arguments, such as ones made most recently in an editorial, cloud our judgments.


In this editorial, a case was made for the CSKT’s desire to move rapidly ahead with this proposal to kill 240,000 lake trout through increased angler harvest and agency gillnetting.  This editorial was full of strong, emotional statements using such terms as “exploding lake trout population”,  “stop the downward spiral of the bull trout population”, “avoid a future where the bull trout vanishes from Flathead Lake”, “Bull trout are just hanging on by their caudal fins” etc. etc. 


The writer even went so far as to emotionalize the bull trout as “a creature that comes toward us and can be seen from the shore…”  What any of this has to do with the actual science and evidence to the contrary regarding native fish populations in Flathead Lake becomes questionable, but especially so when one engages in serious study of the past ten years of plans, data, studies etc. as I and several others have done.  If you would, allow me to speak to the facts as identified and mutually agreed upon by the co-managers of Flathead Lake, and others in the scientific study of our world class, yet endangered fishery.(sorry, got emotional there)


In the five year review of the ten year co-management plan, and again in the 2008 Draft Annual report, the conclusion of the co-managers was that the fish community in Flathead Lake has STABILIZED IN RECENT YEARS.


This means all species of native and non native fish.  2009 Bull Trout redd counts conducted by FWP biologists also support that bull trout are indeed stable in population and are present in ALL historical tributaries of the Flathead Basin.  So as to assertions of a “downward spiral” and “vanishing” bull trout, the science simply does NOT support those statements.  Also, in a study done by a Michael J Hansen of the University of Wisconsin, which has been accepted as to the population estimate of 400,000 lake trout in Flathead Lake in 2008, he also asserts that Flathead Lake is “likely near or at carrying capacity”.  Again, so much for an “exploding Lake Trout population”.


The science and data clearly suggests that the increased angler harvest over the last ten years, specifically during the Mack Days contests, in which I participate eagerly, and the natural limitations in Lake Trout carrying capacity, have combined to, at the minimum, allow the ten year plans overall objectives to be deemed successful.  In table 6 of the ten year plan, the management action for a stable bull trout and stable lake trout population is a reevaluation of goals and objectives, NOT a more aggressive harvest of lake trout as is being proposed.  In fact strategy 5a, as adopted as the preferred strategy in the ten year plan, states “aggressive reductions in lake trout may be made if information shows that bull trout are not reaching at least secure levels.” 


In addition, the article references the Swan Lake netting as a success.  Quick looks at the recently released results indicate a five percent by catch of bull trout in the nets, resulting in an average mortality of FIFTY percent. AND, Swan Lake netting has been touted as a “best case scenario” netting project.  With an estimated 3,000 adult bull trout in Flathead Lake, I will let you do the math…In Yellowstone Lake in 2009, gillnetting removed over 100,000 Lake Trout and the recommendations are to double or even triple the effort.


Lastly, this referenced editorial asserts that the netting would be “shelved” once reduction is achieved.  This statement is in direct conflict with the multiple mentions in the ten year plan that commercial efforts to reduce lake trout, as well as agency management actions, are tasks that “would have to continue indefinitely”.  This is most troublesome in that the efforts to gill net are being sold as a temporary measure when indeed they have been identified otherwise in the 10 year management plan that is being referenced as authority to do so.




Please, educate yourself by attending the upcoming meetings.  Formulate and ask questions directly related to the issues before us.  Visit our website ( and consider how you can help us make a difference in many issues facing sportsmen and women in the valley.  The 10 year co-management plan was based on sound scientific values, judgments and public input.  Let’s not change that now.



We did two charters on Flathead Lake today and both boats caught 10 fish each. Biggest fish was 37″ at 19lbs. I also boated 5 slot fish. It was a nice calm day and the fishing stayed steady. We were fishing the center bar just south of the delta. We fishied in 140′ of water on the bottom with flatfish. It was definately a morning bite as I put 5 fish in the boat in the first hour. I would reccomend getting out there as early as possible.

See ya on the lake