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Ice thick enough for fishing on some area lakes

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I’ve been getting multiple calls from fishermen wanting to know the state of the ice locally. This is what I know as of yesterday when I intended to check out Kicking Horse Reservoir, Crow Reservoir, Turtle Lake and the East Bay of Polson Bay. I only made it as far as Kicking Horse and Crow Reservoir because I was captured by steady action on the latter. Both bodies of water had adequate ice, up to 4 inches. Unlike normal, there is ice at both places before there is snow on the ground. This smooth clear ice gives the illusion of being thin. Although it is thick enough, walking on this type of ice can be treacherously slick, so wearing cleats is not a bad idea. 

I caught a few yellow perch and three nice brown trout — the largest being 18 inches. I caught most of them on a 1/8th-ounce Glow “Alleye” tipped with a combination of maggots and fish eyes. To target the rainbow here, nightcrawlers are better bait. 

Turtle Lake should have good ice. It will probably take a few more cold days before East Bay is safe. 

Lake Mary Ronan is covered with thin ice, and judging from weather forecasts, should be safe in a week. 

On Jan. 12, both Pablo and Ninepipes Reservoirs will open following the end of waterfowl season. Pablo in particular should be great fishing for lots of 9-11-inch perch. Only use of non-lead lures is legal at the refuges. I’ve created a perch line of products from tin that will be available at local tackle distributors. Although they are lighter than lead, this shouldn’t be an issue in the shallow water perch inhabit. 

For up-to-the-minute fishing information call us at (406) 675-0068 or email us at Check out our product line at

If you would like to receive our periodic fishing reports, get in touch with my wife and she’ll include you on our list.

Good fishing,

The Macman

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