If you are wondering if the lake whitefish are biting in Flathead Lake, the answer is YES!
A couple weeks ago a friend called and asked me if I’d heard of anyone catching lake whitefish in the big lake.
I checked around and found a few third-person reports that showed only one or two boat trailers parked at the Elmo FAS, generally a lake whitie hotspot in July.
Undaunted, my friend headed for Elmo early one morning and ended up catching “a bunch.”
He felt the bite tapered off after 9 a.m., so last week when I joined him, we were on the water before 7 a.m.
Unfortunately, even when we fished the previous week’s hotspot, we couldn’t find dense schools of perch on the sonar.
Popular thinking among veteran lake whitefish fishers, is that the whitefish are more accessible to anglers when they form big schools that are concentrated on feeding on tiny yellow perch.
In other words, find the perch and you’ve found the whitefish.
Within an hour, the boats that had been anchored a couple hundred yards off the dock began to disperse, apparently seeking better fishing elsewhere.
Some boats headed for the point off Big Arm, others moved up the shoreline to the left. We moved and found perch (and whities) in 30 feet of water.
Our best lure was Zimmer’s Rattle D-aster, followed by a green leadhead jig with yellow Gitzit tail.
No bait needed. Drop the lure to the bottom, raise it 2 or 3 feet, then let it drop.
Lake whitefish are delicious and fun to catch, but remember, somebody has to clean ’em.
Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.