January 10, 2011
All of area lakes with the exception of Flathead Lake proper are frozen but still use caution on some of the larger lakes like Swan Lake, Bitterroot Lake and MC Gregor Lake
Perch fishing has been nominal in Crow Reservoir and the East Bay of Polson Bay. It has been best in Turtle Lake and Lake Mary Ronan, where the kokanee also have begun to bit at night.
There will be other opportunities at Nine Pipe and Pablo Reservoirs beginning this Saturday January 15 when they will be open for fishing.
My tackle of choice for perch is either a ¼ or 1/8 oz Trilobite or a willow leaf jig below a fly. I’ve found a piece of night crawler or a combination of perch eyes and maggots as best baits.
East Bay and possibly stone Quarry Bay on Flathead are good bets for big shallow water lake trout; either a whole fish or link sausage being most often used as bait.
Mac fishing on open water in Flathead can be great for those willing to brave the elements. The best depths often from 200 to 300 feet where mysis shrimp populations are highest. The shrimp diet creates bright orange flesh making these fish great eating. The ever more popular Spring Mack Days Tournament begins March 11 and continues for 3 day weekends until May 22.
With a possibility of $125,000.00 in prizes available in a variety of categories including tagged fish valued anywhere from $100.00 to $1000.00, the top 3 being 1- tagged fish worth $10,000.00; 3 worth $5000.00; and 5 worth $1000.00 makes this over all the most profitable contest in Montana. As an added note the top angler will be awarded a jacket and the other 9 best will be receiving sweat shirts monogrammed to make known their fishing prowess.
Here are some reports of good fishing days in the recent past:
- David McDaniels had an 85 fish day fishing open water (Glo Grub combos worked best) on Flathead Lake.
- Alvin Haase and Steve Naethe caught 10 Lake trout through the ice on Stone Quarry Bay the largest being 38 and 40 inches (They were fishing with whole fish)
- Ray Theiler kept 79 perch from Lake Mary Ronan all of them over 8 inches. Our new puff ball glow hook 3 to 4 inches below an attracter caught the most fish.
- I caught over 40 perch through the ice at Turtle Lake 14 of which were between 8 and 10 inches. I fished with a willow leaf jig below a fly.
Here is a list of Western Montana ice fishing tournaments worth considering for family fun:
2011 Final Winter Derbies
|Dates & Hours||Contest Name||Contact Person||Telephone||Waterbody||Species of Fish||Entry Fee||# of Participants|
|Jan. 22-23, 2011 6am-5pm||Pike on Ice||Brad Walters||406-677-5253||Seeley & Salmon Lakes||northern pike||$30/person||60|
|Jan. 22-23, 2011 6am-7pm||Fisher River Valley Winter Fishing Derby||Dean Herreid||406-293-7115||Upper, Middle, Lower Thompson, Crystal & Loon Lakes||pike, rainbow trout, perch, salmon||$15/person||350|
|Feb. 1 – 26, 2011 8am-6pm||8th Annual Perch Pounder||Gene Fincher||406-261-6445||All Region 1 Waters||perch||$15/person||200|
|Feb. 12, 2011 3am-2pm||11th Annual Lake Mary Ronan Perch/Salmon Derby||Chancy Jeschke||406-257-7525||Lake Mary Ronan||yellow perch, salmon||free||300|
|Feb. 12-13, 2011 6am-5pm||The McGregor Lake Fishing Derby||Mike Feldmann||406-858-2253||McGregor Lake||rainbow & lake trout||$10/person||750|
|Feb. 19, 2011 9am-3pm||Ryan Wagner Memorial Fishing Derby||Mike Sartori||406-882-4018||Murphy Lake||yellow perch, northern pike, large mouth bass, trout, sunfish,||$5 adult, $2.50 12-17, Free 12 & under||250|
|Feb. 26, 2011 10am-2pm||Lion Lake Canyon Kids Christmas Fund Fishing Derby||Don Lietz||406-387-9042||Lion Lake||perch, trout||free||100|
|Mar. 5-6, 2011 8am-5pm||2nd Annual Bitterroot Bash||Gene Fincher||406-261-6445||Bitterroot Lake||salmon, rainbow trout||$20/person||150|
|Feb. 26-27, 2011 6am-2pm||The Perch Assault “Ultimate Assault” at Lake Mary Ronan||Mike Howe||406-249-0556||Lake Mary Ronan||yellow perch||$150/team||150|
For more information call us at 406-675-0068 or email us at macman @ronan.net.
For a view of our product line check our website at www.zimmertackle.com
P.S. My favorite winter time tournament is at McGregor Lake in February the 12th and d13th. There is a new management at the MCGregor Lake lodge. Mike and Carolyn have reassumed ownership.. I don’t know how they feel about that but to me it is a definite plus. For information give them a call at 406-858-2253