Jerry’s adventures on the Blackfeet’s famed Duck Lake

Print Article

Our plans to ice fish Duck Lake last Friday were thwarted when weather forecasters predicted snow and 36-mph winds.

But that hasn’t always been the case.

Forty years ago we’d have just thrown the auger, rods, and hot chocolate into the truck and headed over Marias Pass to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

Sometimes, we turned around and headed back home. Sometimes, we continued and had an adventure like the time…

• The wind blew the topper off my Datsun pickup and we watched it roll end-over-end towards Cut Bank. My Brittany Spaniel, Lucy, who had been laying on the folded, plywood ice house, was catapulted into the air like Toto in The Wizard of Oz!

We were able to drag the topper back to the highway and secure it to the truck. But we couldn’t find Lucy and I was terrified of having to tell my wife we’d lost our dog. Eventually, two flapping brown ears came running down the barrow pit and Lucy nearly knocked me over when she jumped into my arms!

• While answering Nature’s call on shore, someone asked, “What’s that blowing down the ice?” Our auger!

• More guys showed up at our meeting place in Columbia Falls than we had seats for, so some guys rode all the way to Duck Lake, in the middle of winter, in the back of an open pickup bed!

• I drilled two holes behind the pickup then, by the time I jumped up and sat on the tailgate, the holes had moved under the truck!

• I was driving, on slick ice, to check how many fish some friends were catching. When I turned the steering wheel, nothing happened! All the way left, then all the way right. Truck stayed straight! Also, no brakes!

• Murffy, our brown Lab, who had a tendency to steal other fishermen’s fish, laid someone’s gourmet deli sandwich at my feet.

• We drove onto the ice before dawn, then heard open-water lapping onto the ice nearby.

• In early spring when we were fly fishing from float-tubes in a narrow band of open water on Duck’s north shore. Most of the lake was still ice-covered. When the wind shifted, a south wind began pushing the ice northward. We kicked like crazy to get out of the way as the strip of open water disappeared. Within minutes, ice reached shore, then was pushed and compacted several feet high in the bushes!

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

Next river meeting is June 20 in Kalispell

June 13, 2018 at 8:16 am | Hungry Horse News The next comprehensive river management plan for the three wild and scenic sections of the Flathead River is June 20 in Kalispell. The meeting will be held in the lower level of the Arts and Technol...

Comments

Read More

You’ll catch more trout if you keep that line nice and straight

June 13, 2018 at 8:03 am | Hungry Horse News Keeping the fly line straight is one of the most important keys to catching fish. When the line has curves or waves, it only makes sense that a fish could actually pick up the fly and move it withou...

Comments

Read More

Kokanee salmon are hitting right now and they taste so good

June 06, 2018 at 8:08 am | Hungry Horse News Five Reasons to Like Kokanee Salmon • They’re easy to catch right now. Matter of fact, with all the rivers still blown out and water too cold for most insect hatches, kokanee salmon are pretty...

Comments

Read More

State Parks, Forest Service also dealing with crowds

June 06, 2018 at 8:02 am | Hungry Horse News Glacier National Park isn’t the only land agency dealing with crowds. The Flathead National Forest and Montana state parks also have their fair share of visitors as well. Montana State Parks had 2.7...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2018 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X