Ice fishing at Island Park is slow, but still the best option for a while
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After fishing for two hours I finally got a hookup almost at the same time my JawJacker went off – a double but only me. I landed a 16 inch rainbow and quickly moved to the other dancing rod where I landed a 15 inch ‘bow. Both were released.
While baiting and resetting both rods the other JawJacker went off but missed while two other rods showed some light hits. In short, after two hours of being skunked; I landed five rainbows and one brook trout in 35 minutes – then two more hours of being skunked.
I was the only fisherman near the dam and after I picked up my gear I drove over to Lakeside Lodge where several fishermen were fishing – but not catching. They had found some success earlier but the fish had into a fast. Typical of a winter day during a full moon on Island Park Reservoir.
Those of us who love to fish through the ice have several options for the next two or three weeks as it appears Ririe and Palisades are going to be slow freezing over. Henrys Lake will close on Jan. 1, and the catching has slowed with an occasional trophy being caught; Chesterfield, Mackay, Jackson and Hebgen are a long way to drive; Jim Moore Pond and Mud Lake are producing tiny perch; Ashton has limited access as the gate across the dam is locked, leaving Island Park Reservoir as the best option until Ririe and Palisades freezes over.
A couple of things will make Island Park a popular place for fishermen to go there. First, the full moon will be gone in a week and second, on Jan. 5th, there will be an ice fishing tournament there. Lakeside Lodge and Elk Creek Station will be hosting the one day tournament for two-person teams. Pre-registration will be available Friday night, Jan. 4, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the evening with registration from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday morning at the Lakeside Lodge.
Fishing will begin at 8 a.m. and will end at noon with the final weigh-in at 12:15 p.m. followed by lunch and awards ceremony.
According to an information sheet, each team of two persons will pay a $40 entry fee, which will include lunch at Lakeside.
Each person will be limited to two rods instead of the legal five rod regulation. Each team will leave Lakeside at 8 a.m. and can fish anywhere on Island Park Reservoir and “each person is allowed two fish to be weighed in for a total of four fish for each team.”
“How does the weigh in work: once you catch a fish that you want to keep for weigh in you have to bring it immediately up to the lodge and get it weighed in and tagged. We will keep track of the weigh ins for each team,” according to the contest rules.
There will be two prizes awarded: first place for the individual with the largest fish for overall weight and first place for the team with heaviest overall weight of all four fish.
If you are considering signing up for this tournament you should call Lakeside at (208) 558-9770 for any updates.
The Island Park rainbows are hot and fun to catch and the brooks are delicious so you will probably find me there again in the next two weeks or until Ririe freezes.