I told myself that in 2018 I would try targeting different fish. My favorite fish to catch are perch and the occasional rainbow or kokanee. But Saturday, I decided I would try to muscle a mighty mack through the ice.

For anyone who has ever fished the around Flathead Lake, odds are you know Dick “The Mack Man” Zimmer. Dick is my go to resource for fishing reports in the valley. He has more times than not put me and my 5 year old son on some fishing trips we will never forget. This time, he took me out with him to learn the art of catching macks through the ice. To do this, we ventured to just south of Wild Horse Island. Zimmer used a spud-bar to break through the 4 inches of ice, while I used an 8 inch auger. Armed with 10 lb braided, it was a miracle we landed these monsters.

Using Zimmer’s 6 inch squawfish as bait. We hooked Zimmer’s custom set ups with #4-#2 trebles just behind gill plate and secured them with rubber bands. We did not suspend the bait, and just let it lay dead on the bottom of 35-50 ft of water. Total catch 8 fish weighing 70 lbs, largest 14 lbs smallest 6 lbs.

Beginners luck? I did learn a lot. My biggest tip: strap a little sticker, piece of paper or plastic on your slack line. You can chat with your buddies or jig for perch, and only have to look for your “flag” to check for a bite. Lets just say I had a couple “slides into home plate,” while one fish completely stripped a reel dry.