Ice Fishing Derby

January 31, 2010

Fly Fishing Montana

Post by Jeff Thomas

I know this isn’t Fly Fishing, but Big Hoss heard about an Ice Fishing Derby that we decided to enter and wanted to here what went down.

My Friend Casey Scott called me a few weeks back and asked if I’d heard about the Perch Derby coming up. I told him no but we thought it would be a good excuse to get all of the boys together to hangout and do some fishing. We called all of our closest friends from Missoula and Butte, and somehow got everyone to actually show up.

The night before the Derby started we got all of our gear together and our rods all set up. After a “quick” trip downtown for a few beers (Thanks for driving Farnes) we were in bed.

The following morning we met everyone we were fishing with at Canyon Ferry (A Lake in Helena, MT). We noticed as we were unloading all of our gear that we only had two 4-wheelers between 15 people. We had no idea that we had about a 2 mile trek to our fishing destination. After tying all of the Jet Sleds together about 8-9 of us started the long walk, watching the taillights of the 4-wheelers disappear into the darkness. Then about half-way there we noticed that full-sized trucks were driving by us. I kept saying how dumb they were, but after a while when the sun came up I realized there were trucks everywhere.

When we finally got to our spot we started to set up all of the Ice huts. It was 16 degrees out but with the wind chill it was 10 degrees. It hurt to have your gloves off for even 30 seconds. After we had all of the holes drilled we finally heard “Fish On” from our buddy Jay Slocum. We were all excited and really got down to business watching our rods. It was kind of like watching paint dry except you had a beer in your hand the whole time. We fished for about 3 hrs when I was talked into hitching a ride back to get my truck on a 4-wheeler. Mostly because we didn’t want to have to walk all of the way back with all the gear.

When I returned the fishing got hot for a little while. Turns out that we couldn’t just leave the rods by them self. We found out that they would only hit if we were jigging. We ended pulling in 12 good sized perch together as a group. The Derby was for the Biggest Perch. We had 2 fish that we entered that Casey and Brad caught. (These perch were all pretty good sized).

We ended up going to the weigh in but unfortunately we didn’t catch a winner. But even though the fishing was slower than we all expected, we all had a great time and you can’t beat hanging out with all of your closest friends.

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