Flathead Lake Montana Ice Fishing

Flies For Ice Fishing In Montana

As the fly fishing season slows down, the hunting season comes to an end, one of our favorite seasons is just beginning. Ice fishing in Montana can be some of the most fun of the year. If you’ve hung around our shop enough then you probably already know that some of our staff and guides are die-hard ice fisherman. From building our own ice fishing rods to tying our own ice fishing flies, you can quickly tell that we have a bit of an ice fishing problem. For us it’s a chance to fish bodies of water that the we don’t often fish and catching many different species like Trout, Bass, Perch, Pike, Walleye, Salmon and more.

Josh Gartner enjoying a day of ice fishing

While the amazing ice fishing we have in Montana is no secret, ice fishing with flies is often looked past or never even thought of. We use a variety of flies jigging under the ice to fool fish. Many times the bite will be hot in the morning and die down mid-day. These mid-day lulls are when we start experimenting with different tactics. Often, we will see fish refuse our traditional ice fishing jigs like Swedish Pimples, Rockers, Jigging Rapalas and many more. These picky fish will often take smaller flies more readily then some of the bigger traditional ice fishing jigs in Montana. So next time when you’re having a slow day, try tying on one of these flies listed and you may be surprised. We fish these flies all day while ice fishing and usually outperform the classic ice fishing jigs.

Flies like Scud patterns and Damsel Fly nymphs work great but some of the most effective flies we use are varieties of tungsten jig nymphs that are heavily weighted and sink quickly.

Here we have highlighted some of the best ice fishing flies for Montana. This list is primarily focused on Trout but will work for other species like Salmon, Perch and more.

Top 15 Ice Fishing Flies

TJ Hooker Jig

Perdigon Jig

Hare’s Ear Jig

Pheasant Tail Jig

Pink Hot Spot Jig

Yellow Spot Jig

Brillions Lucent Pink Jig

Tungsten Jig Assassin

Espresso Midge Jig

G-Kes Jig

Tactical Fast Water Prince Jig

Wayno’s Cotton Candy

Tailwater Sowbug Jig

Stalcups Scud

Belly Flop Damsel

We stock 196 different varieties of jig nymph flies used for ice fishing here at The Missoulian Angler Fly Shop. Stop in and check them out or you can order from our limited selection online (here), try a couple and we are confident that you will have success when many other people aren’t. Many of us start with flies early morning and never change all day. We have done many experiments where half of us will be fishing traditional ice fishing jigs and the other half fishing jig flies and the jig flies will more often then not out fish the traditional hard-body traditional jigs. Not always but especially on days where the fish are less aggressive, this can be the key to a successful day of ice fishing in Montana.

Dusti Scott with a beautiful Brook Trout while ice fishing
Diana Maul with a big Montana Rainbow Trout