Most folks living in Missoula or Billings would assume the entire Great Plains would be ice and snow free, since their balmy weather has greened up the grass and muddied up the rivers the past few weeks. But, on Montana's northern-most reservoirs, there was still enough ice recently to partake in a final ice fishing outing.
I typically enjoy "late" ice better than those days in December, when a lot of anglers are excited to try their new gear or are perhaps just bored with sitting inside. I am typically still running the dogs on wary birds and can't make time for fishing. But, in late March, I enjoy curing cabin fever by sitting in a lawn chair, jigging for perch and walleye. The days are longer, the sun brighter and the fish often are cooperative.
This final trip was hot and cold; the perch bite was slow throughout the day, but the walleyes turned on very nicely during the fade to dusk. We caught only the smaller-sized male 'eyes, which was fine with us. They are better eating than the larger females, females that have important business to tend to in the next month or so.
Upon arrival at home, my gear went directly into storage. Now I am truly ready to trade the auger for a boat, warm boots for flip-flops.