Whitefish not so easy to catch, say local fishing experts

Print Article

Where are the whitefish?

Each fall, many thousands of lake whitefish migrate up the Flathead River system from Flathead Lake on a spawning trek.

Lake whitefish are broadcast spawners, meaning when they find a suitable and acceptable gravel substrate, eggs and sperm are deposited into the water. No redds are formed.

According to Dennis at Snappy Sports Senter in Kalispell, fishing for these tasty fish has been “tempermental.”

“Even guys who have been fishing every day may get only one or two fish — but there are reports of whitefish all the way up to Blankenship Bridge.”

Fishing for lake whitefish generally starts in October and continues through Christmas. My calendar has shown peaking the first week in November.

Lake whitefish are generally caught by slowly dragging leadhead jigs near the bottom of deeper holes where the fish appear to be resting and staging.

The fish hit jigs out of curiosity and anger, not hunger, so bait is not needed.

Here’s theories why we aren’t hammering the whitefish:

1) There are only small numbers of fish in the river above Old Steel Bridge now. Larger numbers are awaiting a surge of higher water to stimulate them to move upstream.

2) Normal numbers of lake whities are already in the river, but the river bottom has changed, so they aren’t hanging around the same spots as in previous years.

We were spoiled for years when the best jigging was immediately below the Old Steel Bridge and on the east shoreline downstream from the Highway 35 Bridge.

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

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

Montana Wilderness Association holding annual photo contest

December 04, 2019 at 8:47 am | Hungry Horse News Montana Wilderness Association is holding its annual Picture Wild Montana photo contest, with prizes offered for the best photos taken on public lands across the state. The theme of this year’s cont...

Comments

Read More

Hunting season better than last year, hearings on biennial season changes coming up

December 04, 2019 at 7:55 am | Hungry Horse News The general big game hunting season concluded last weekend across Montana, and hunters took more deer than they did last year. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks tallied more than 14,000 hunters at its...

Comments

Read More

Be careful when ice fishing this season

December 04, 2019 at 7:47 am | Lake County Leader Every year, at least one story in this space is devoted to staying safe on the ice. Small area ponds, potholes and backwaters are finally forming a thin layer of ice, which can be deceiving to uninf...

Comments

Read More

Lake whitefish harder to find without boat

November 27, 2019 at 7:55 am | Hungry Horse News Lake whitefish have been making annual spawning runs up the Flathead River system for over 30 years. In this space on Nov. 21, 1990, Tom Weaver, FWP fisheries biologist, reported, “A river run of la...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

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

©2019 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X