Late season ice

Print Article

If there’s any silver-lining in the cold-windy-snowy-sunny-rainy-squally-grauply, typically April weather we’re having, it’s a few more days of ice fishing.

And that sounds good to me!

If you remember late last year, ice formed pretty sketchy in November and December.

Late forming ice got multiple blankets of heavy snows which kept the ice from forming deep and safe.

Then we got weather so cold even the hardiest ice fishers were challenged.

While late ice can provide some of the best ice fishing of the year, late ice can be the trickiest to assess for safety.

We’ve discussed safety on late ice several times in this space. If the weather holds, maybe we’ll revisit the topic of safety late-late ice in the near future.

In the meantime, if you don’t know how to read late season ice, stay off!

Early spring is a good time to catch big pike through the ice. Still fishing with frozen herring below a big bobber or mechanical hooker will catch pike.

Pike often spawn in water less than 10 feet deep, so concentrate efforts around shallow weed beds.

Rainbow trout like to cruise shallow water in early spring. Remember, the water is cold so limit your jigging and don’t be making lots of noise of the ice.

Small jigs or wide-gap bait hooks sweetened with maggots or mealworms often fool trout.

Early spring is a great time to put some big perch in a bucket. My favorite bait, price-wise, is small pieces of earthworm. Leftover bait can be pitched into the garden!

Years ago I learned, if the perch aren’t biting late in the day, go back early the next morning and expect a bunch.

What I’m looking for are some kokanee salmon. On most lakes limits are liberal.

Remove heads and guts and lay them on the barbeque! Delicious!

Now go take advantage of the last days of this year’s ice fishing.

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

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

McManus made us laugh

April 25, 2018 at 8:16 am | Hungry Horse News Me: (snickering) Wife: Stop snickering Me: (snicker. snicker) Wife: I said, ‘Stop snickering! Me: (Guffaw! Guffaw!) Wife: OK, OK, read it to me so I can get some sleep If you’re over 70 ...


Read More

Jones book a coffee table classic

April 18, 2018 at 6:55 am | Hungry Horse News Renowned Troy wildlife photographer Don Jones has a released a new book “Wild Montana.” The photo book features a host of Montana’s wildlife and birds, all of them taken in the field of wild animals ...


Read More

FWP: Poachers cut out the best cuts of game, left the rest to rot

April 18, 2018 at 7:00 am | Hungry Horse News Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens are asking for help from the public on several incidents of poaching between Columbia Falls Stage Road and Highway 206. FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish decl...


Read More

Forest looks to move Polebridge boat ramp

April 11, 2018 at 7:33 am | Hungry Horse News The Flathead National Forest is proposing a new boat launch ramp on the North Fork of the Flathead near Polebridge. The current boat launch has problems for floaters because the river dynamics have c...


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