By Robert Lucke
Havre area fish biologist, Kent Gilge, has some information about ice fishing conditions in north central Montana.
"I think it is safe to say that right now we are at the end of ice fishing doldrums," said Gilge. "We should be coming out of it in probably two to three weeks."
Ice fishing doldrums is a name for a peculiar condition that Gilge described when after Christmas until mid-February, ice fishing is just not as good as it is before and after. That malady happens every year around the same time.
Folks, who fish Beaver Creek Reservoir or Bear Paw Lake, are having good luck even during the doldrums.
"At Beaver Creek Reservoir or the lower lake, fishing is good. There has been some good perch fishing there and both walleye and northern pike spearing has been good," continued Gilge. "In fact, I heard of a ten- pound walleye and a 17-pound northern that were taken just last week."
Fishing Bear Paw Lake? That, too, is good now.
"I should mention that trout fishing has been good in Bear Paw Lake. Fishermen have reported much larger fish and in better shape than they have been," added Gilge. "In fact, I would say that things are cooking out there."
Dry Fork Dam or Schwarz Reservoir have been great of late for northern pike and smaller catches of large perch, Gilge reported.
"For some reason Bailey's Reservoir has been really slow this winter," Gilge stated. "It could be an oxygen related thing or something. I just am not sure."
Don't overlook H.C. Kuhr and Grasshopper Reservoirs in Blaine County when planning that fishing trip.
"Trout fishermen are missing out if they don't try H.C. Kuhr and Grasshopper. Fishermen are taking five to six pound trout out of them," said Gilge. "Reser Reservoir has coughed up some nice trout this winter too."
As for fishing Fresno, Gilge has had few reports about results although below the dam in the tail waters, walleye fishing has been very good.
Ice conditions continue to be good on area fisheries.
"Ice conditions have gotten better in the last week. Baring some strange chinook, they should stay good into February at least," Gilge said.
Unfortunately, spring fishing conditions do not look all that good at this time.
"Spring fishing as of this moment is pretty bleak," stated Gilge. "The word I get is that snow pack is below normal in the Milk River Drainage and Nelson Reservoir is really low. It will be hard to get those reservoirs filled this spring if things stay the way they are now. In fact, we will be worse off than we were last year. Conditions are not good but remember, one or two spring storms could change the situation quickly!"