Year in and year out, the most consistent “fish bite” in the Flathead Valley is kokanee salmon on late ice.
And probably the most inconsistent factor in ice fishing is the condition of late ice.
More than once warnings about unsafe ice conditions have appeared in this space.
So this week the topic is how catch a limit of those tasty kokes.
One thing to remember is kokanee salmon school in similar-sized fish and catching them is very depth dependent.
In other words, when you start catching the size of fish you want, stick with ’em at the same depth.
No doubt the most popular kokanee rig is a Glo-hook tied about 8 inches below a Swedish Pimple.
Glo-hooks do glow (even brighter if you flash them with a bright light), so they can be even more effective a greater depths.
One advantage of Swedish Pimples is they are much less likely to twist the line than flat-bladed lures.
And don’t forget to remove the treble hook on the Pimple. You’ll thank me when the “bite” is crazy and you are struggling to take your last fish off the hook.
Fresh maggots are preferred bait. Maggots stay on the hook better than kernels of corn.
Ask three ice fishermen how many maggot to put on the hook and you’ll get three different answers.
Wild jigging scares fish. Slowly raise the rod tip, then drop it quickly so the lure can flutter downward.
Expect a tug when you raise the rod tip for the next jigging action.
Know the regulations and good luck!
Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.