Report from Dick Zimmer: The Macman

August 18, 2009


My judgment at this summer’s fishing is somewhat ambivalent.  On the one hand the perch and whitefish fishing have been near non-existent while the fishing for large lake trout (mackinaw) has been phenomenal. 

The only plausible explanation for the perch being so decimated is that a disease has taken a lake wide toll with the exception of those in Polson Bay which apparently don’t’ mix with those in the main lake.  Without the adult perch there are no perch fry and without the perch fry the whitefish have nothing to drive them into the feeding frenzy.  As a result the fishing that so many people enjoyed for 4 or 5 years probably won’t be revived till sometime in the future.  It could be 4 or 5 years or even longer.

The whitefish population still remains fairly constant evidently finding other things to eat.  I’m often bombarded with the question, “why don’t you figure out a way to catch them?” I hope if there is a solution that if not myself then someone else will get the revelation and pass it on. 

Because the aggressive management of the lake trout has brought their numbers down, the increase in forage fish (the minnow family, suckers and whitefish) large lake trout are showing up in abundance.  There have been days when fisherman are catching more trout over 30” than trout under 30”.  From reports I’ve gotten there have been more fish over 40” caught than anytime in the recent past.  Fishing with a whole bait fish has been the choice of most fishermen although trolling has also been successful.  The simplicity, not needing special equipment, the low cost, and the high success rate are what has persuaded many fishermen to use the whole fish. 

For catching the smaller macs deep water has been the rule most often.  A 240 to 260 foot depth in Skidoo Bay, at Rocky Point and out in front of Yellow Bay has been consistent.  Evidently high concentrations of shrimp have drawn them.  For the most part the fish caught here have bright orange to almost red meat and their stomachs look like sausages stuffed with shrimp.  An all Glow 1oz or ¾ oz Glo-Grub below an all glow fly (both tipped with green flavored cut bait) has proven most productive.  Using this setup, hesitation after a bite will catch you more fish than an immediate strike.  Also using 8 to 10 lb super line (Teflon coated Kevlar) with a light or ultra light pole will eliminate the frustration of trying to use mono-filament on heavier poles

Yesterday August 17, I fished with Larry and Roger Alter.  We started around noon (the worst part of the day).  I told them if they were patient the fish would more than likely begin to bite sometime after 2:00 p.m. At some point we were popping bladder in bloated fish to make room in the cooler.  By 8:00 that evening we were hard-pressed to get one more in it.  Our final count was 46.  Not too bad for an old guy and some newbies. 

Get ready!  Fall Mack Days starts October 2nd and runs for 7 consecutive 3 day weekends.  These tournaments are not only fun and profitable but are a big part of the very successful management of Flathead Lake. Because the whitefish and perch weren’t available this summer the lake trout have received much more pressure.  This along with the tournament harvests make any other method of harvesting lake trout unnecessary  

The tribal fish and Game especially under the brilliant organization of biologist Barry Hanson has created in the Mack Days contests a family environment along with completion to the extreme that appeals to the whole strata of the fishing public. 

For more information contact us at: 406-675-0068.  Visit us at our website at:

Good fishing

The Macman

Continuing into September ’09
We are reporting that there probably won’t be a whitefish bite this year, again.
Last year the perch were not in a healthy condition and this year, it seems, we have the same condition.  The whitefish are schooled in places but not biting.  This could change but we are not expecting it. 

Yellow Bay has been great for macs. 170-240 feet and morning and evening. 

Rocky Point is hot!!!! August 17, Macman and friends caught 46 fish there.  250 Feet . Fishing good all day.
Shallow 55 to 70 feet in Elmo, Big Arm, Skidoo and Rollins areas.

Note: It is important for mac fishing for you to be anchored up and use the right line and poles.  We are seeing fishermen, especially the out of state ones, who use a stretchy line such as monofilament and have been disappointed with the bite from macs.  Use a braided line, 8 or 10 Lb test, and because of the size of this line you can use a smaller pole and reel.
Fish according to your location.

The Macman


Fishing remains to be very steady. Most days bring 5/6fish to the net. Very nice size fish, mostly 28-29″.  Catching one or two slot fish per day. Last week a 41″ 28lb. laker went to the taxidermist. Fising deep at 150ft using flatfish. Hot spots off the delta, east side and the south end. Also fish showing up in good numbers off Angel Point. No whitefish yet. I am hearing of a few being caught. If you are willing to do a lot of searching you will probably find some in the usual places, but be prepared to move many times a day.  Anyone find any whitefish let me know, and send me any fishing reports you have I enjoy hearing from you.

See ya on the water