Flathead Lake Fishing Charter Boat

Checking the math here: if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a four-minute video clip at sixty frames per second should be worth about fifteen million words…about two dozen volumes of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

Given that, it makes more sense to present a video tour of Captain Norm’s Sea Raider, the largest charter fishing boat on Flathead Lake, and thereby save more time for fishing. So please enjoy our little video, which not only presents the amenities of the boat, but also portrays the pristine environment around Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater body west of the Mississippi. Snow-capped mountains, bright blue skies, forests and fish…hard to ask for more. One of the best kept secrets of the Last Best Place.


Come to Montana!

Join us on the lake. Kick back, rest easy, and catch a fish or six.

Trolling for Monster Lake Trout

Trolling for Monster Lake Trout
by Capt Norm, Sea Raider

My first experience with monster fish scared the hell out of me. My dad had just handed me the rod, where the bait was in the water at a distance. With his hand on mine, we began to reel it in. A short distance from the boat, something struck on the other end of the line. The rod jerked violently in my hand, and before my dad could utter a word, that Winona monster, a huge Northern…huge relative to me anyway…exploded from beneath the surface. I cried out in fear and tossed the rod to my mom. I was two.

Since that time, I’ve been seeking monsters…relative to me anyway. Got a hundred pound Dorado…mahi-mahi…and that’s a monster. Hooked up with a one-hundred and ninety-two pound halibut that needed a harpoon and a twenty-gauge shotgun to pacify at boat-side. Monster Salmon, monster Rainbow, and monster Lake Trout, they’re in my blood.


Sea Raider is set up for trolling in Flathead Lake charters. For the uninitiated, that means dragging artificial or live bait slowly through the water while trying our best to make that enticement look like food to monster fish. We can anchor and jig, or anchor and set lures in the current, but the primary means for fishing Flathead Lake and finding monsters is by trolling. Sometimes that’s done with downriggers—controlled depth fishing as it’s called.

With high-tech sonar, fish-finders for the uninitiated, we discover where the monsters are hanging out with their buddies, and then we drop the food in their laps…er…faces. Sometimes they feed, sometimes not, but at the very least the invite is delivered to the right address.

For deep-dwellers such as Lake Trout, we use a spread of artificial lures that usually have scent enhancement. The lures trail behind a flasher or dodger, an attractor that simulates a fish feeding on the lure. Lake Trout are often stimulated to strike by the act of another fish feeding and since it seems as though their competitor missed they might be prompted to give it a try. One of my captains actually had a big Lake Trout try to take a Worden Flatfish out of another big Lake Trout’s mouth. He caught them both simultaneously on the same lure. Voracious and competitive accurately describes Lake Trout. If you know how to find them, and where to find them, they’re not difficult to catch.

Surface dwellers, like Bull Trout and Rainbow (or Kamloops) as you might find when fishing Lake Koocanusa, are a different story. In Flathead Lake fishing, the apex predators feed almost anywhere and on just about any fish, but they concentrate on shrimp and fry…down deep. While fishing Lake Koocanusa, the primary forage is Kokanee Salmon. The Kokanee feed on zoo plankton, on the surface, and that’s where the monsters hunt them. Those big fish are boat shy and that makes presenting a lure…food…a different proposition.

In Lake Koocanusa fishing charters, to effectively prompt Bulls and Rainbows to strike, your lure must be trailed far from the boat, sometimes as much as three hundred feet away. You might drag flat-lines straight back behind the boat, but to avoid tangles, not very many and there is yet another aspect of the problem to solve. The big predators are dispersed and you have to cover a LOT of water to find them. Planer boards provide for an effective solution for fishing Lake Koocanusa.

A planer board is a properly-shaped pair of planks constructed of wood or foam-filled plastic that ride up on their edge. It is connected to the boat via a large pulley with an extendable cord that lets the board travel through the water fifty yards or more away from the boat. The shape of the planer board causes it to arc away and out to the side from the boat to the full extent of the cord.

Once the boards are out and running, we let back our lure directly behind the boat for about two hundred feet. Then the line at the tip of the rod is secured into a release which is then clipped onto the planer board cord. More fishing line is let out and this release then slides down the cord toward the board while dragging the lure out and away from the boat. Three or more lines are attached to the cords on each side in a similar manner. A boat trailing a pair of planer boards covers a swath of water almost a hundred yards wide. We troll at nearly twice the speed of Flathead Lake fishing when fishing Lake Koocanusa…covering a LOT of water with our three-hundred-foot wide spread. And still it takes time to find those predators because, unlike Flathead Lake charters, the monsters are not typically beneath the boat. It’s more of a hit and miss approach. Side-scan sonar helps, but not a lot.

Both Flathead Lake charters or Lake Koocanusa fishing charters are hands-on educational experiences. Whether you are an angler looking to learn, or a vacationer wanting to try something new, come along with us and we’ll share every trick in the book. A fishing charter is a fun-filled time of discovery, so don’t pass on the opportunity.



Fishful Thinking

by Capt Rod (Piscator)

Recalling my first run to the chandlery (the local hardware store), I remember reading the signs posted on the neighborhood lawns. Adlai Stephenson or Dwight Eisenhower, round two, signs supporting one or the other posted depending on political persuasion. We needed snelled Eagle Claw hooks, preferably with worm-keepers…you know, those little barbs on the back of the shank that were designed to keep the worm on when you tossed the little bugger out where the fish might bite.  I was nine years old and I had already learned about this stuff. I had also learned that you needed a sighter along when you were fishing for the biggest, baddest fish in the pond, or stream, or puddle, as the case might be.

A sighter was someone who also held the worm can. A little brother maybe, or lacking one of those, a little sister if you had one and she didn’t talk too much and knew enough to keep her shadow off the water. I was lucky to have had two of each…but not at first. Not when I was nine. One little brother who had to play the role of sighter…and carry the worm can.

A sighter was necessary to keep track of airborne fish. You see, while those worm keepers kept the worm on the hook, they weren’t so effective at keeping those big game brookies hooked up. Those little…er…big sons of a guns would steal your worm in an instant. Second jiggle on the line, and they come one-two, real quick-like, and you would be wormless. And digging worms isn’t…wasn’t all that easy for a six-year-old worm can carrier.

So, the tactic of the day was to snap that rod up on the first jiggle, which if you were both diligent and quick, resulted in an airborne brookie. Like maybe treetop height and headed into the depths of the forest. Even a little brother could find them as they tended to thrash around in the leaves for a while. Never heard of limits back then and we caught a lot of fish.

Fast forward five years and things turned serious…like stepping onto a sportfisherman bobbing at the dock in Westhaven, Connecticut…a boat that belonged to a friend of the uncle of my neighbor’s father. This was a big boat…three paces across the cockpit. Gleaming brightwork everywhere. Nothing piques the senses in the morning like the smell of coffee from the mugs on the rail and the rumble of big diesels when headed out to sea. Gives me chills even today. Long Island Sound and mackerel, bluefish and stripers. Definitely a step up from airborne brookies.

Those days passed oh-so-quickly. A few cod and hake out of Gloucester, some lobster and scallops out of Salem and then it was off to college, Vietnam, and into the adult world of working for a living…working for wages, pursuing the dollar and a career.

If you go back a long way in my family line, a really long way…you end up in Scandinavia when those folks plied the seas in longboats. That heritage evidently runs through to me, because I can’t stay away from boats. First a twelve foot Yellow Jacket, and then a sixteen-foot Checkmate, which was, believe it or not, a much better fisherman than the Yellow Jacket, where you might be reluctant to even stand up. There was a lengthy period of rag-bagging back then. Sailboats for those who aren’t familiar with the term. Sailed all over the Great Lakes…but that’s another story and this is a fish-tale.

Through the mid-seventies and into the mid-eighties controlled depth fishing continued to  evolve. At first, it was primarily accomplished through the use of steel wire or lead-core line. I chose lead-core for it’s more forgiving nature and still prefer it, where it has a definite place even today in the world of downriggers.

Speaking of downriggers, those new-fangled and somewhat complicated gadgets were not so quick to find a place on my boats. But the Great Lakes are deep and wide and planer boards and lead-core only get you so many fish. They had electrics by the time I took the plunge and those bad-boys soon made a believer out of me. Land-locked now, I missed the saltwater, but I liked the walleye, the steelhead, the salmon, the whitefish, and the lake trout. Planer boards, downriggers, and lead-core proved back then to be a superior combination that extends your trolling pattern far, deep and wide. Some things don’t change.

Some things do. Northbound on US93 in 1994 and peeking over the hill at Polson for the first time…there was Flathead Lake. The best-kept secret in the world, I reckon. I darn sure wouldn’t have come boat-less to Montana had I known about this oversized puddle. No boat…but that wouldn’t last long. One hundred and twenty-five thousand acres of fishable water and I didn’t much want to spend years doping it out. So I took a couple of charters, a practice learned in other areas over decades past. Didn’t need any GPS to record hot spots as my years of sailing had taught me to subconsciously take fixes on landmarks and here, at least, you could see land all around you. Two charters and I was in the game.

Piscator represents a cautious return to big-boat fishing. Yes, I still lust after a twenty-five-footer with a diesel inboard (or two), but this one will do for now. It also represents a compilation of everything that came before. The latest and greatest sub-surface electronic gear that can pinpoint every suspended bit of prey right down to and including the dime-sized opossum shrimp. Find the bait—find the fish. Got four electronic downriggers? Check. Got dual fifty-yard custom planer rigs? Check. Got a pair of deep-water lead-core rigs? Check. Big fish box, big live (kill) well. Autopilot on main engine and trolling motor…check. Narrow beam sonar, wide beam sonar, downscan sonar, sidescan sonar, broadband sonar…check. Some folks have mentioned that my rig looks more suspicious than a Russian trawler cruising past Newport News Naval Shipyard. Whatever it takes.

I’m prone to an out-of-the-box approach. Most folks on Flathead use green or white squid with six inch flashers of white, green or silver, and sometimes spoons like copper or brass or colors like five-of-diamonds. Sometimes dragging fast at 1.7mph with bits of sausage or slow like .7mph with Worden Flatfish on the bottom. Been there done all that. But then there’s the spoons from the Finger Lakes region on the lead-core ten colors down. Wham! Or the special flies from the Great Lakes one-eighty to two-hundred down. Wham! Wham! Wham! And the Ridgeback Rattlers that Capt. Greg out of Frankfort, MI who said he gained forty-percent in charter productivity. Swimmers from the Atlantic coast to tactics learned over mackerel schools in Long-Island sound. Eclectic—that’s me.

And that’s enough about me. Until next time—tight lines and keep that tip up!

New Flathead Lake Fishing Video!

Captain Norm’s Flathead Lake Fishing Charters

Captain Norm’s Fish~N~Fun fleet of fishing boats are on Flathead Lake or Lake Koocanusa almost every day that weather permits. Fishing and having fun are the reasons why we started this business so many years ago.

If you are planning a vacation to beautiful northwest Montana and the idea of hooking a 30 pound Lake Trout is part of your plan, you need to call the company that can make that happen. Obviously, no one can guarantee that you’ll reel in a trophy Mackinaw, but your odds improve if you choose the right fishing charter company.

Most of our customers call us because others have been personally recommended to us, or their initial experience with the Captain was so memorable they come back for another fishing adventure.  Let us prove to you that the most Fish~N~Fun you can have on Flathead Lake is to let Captain Norm be your guide!


Garden & tips: tomatoes

Spring is the season of the awake. At all stadiums, plants, flowers and trees come to a new life. same goes for certain kinds of animals that wake up and give up their lethargic sleep.

Those of you who have the luck to have plenty of room in their yard may also want to take advantage of it and plant a few plantations.

Well, this is the right time to think to plant some good tomatoes.

Tomatoes: how to do

Tomatoes are not very hard to cultivate and you will have good results in a few time and with just a few effort. First off, make sure you are buying a good plant of tomato. (start a plant from seed would be a little bit more complicated for beginners).

Among the most popular first time growers’ varieties you can find Better Boy, Creole, Big Boy, Early Girl, Brandy Wine, Celebrity, Lemon Boy and more cherry and grape tomato variety.

Tomatoes need much sun so choose a sunny edge of your yard and transplant at least a couple of plants.

You will have to prepare the garden bed by adding lots of well rotted compost (about 6-8 cm). finally, transplant the tomato deeply (50-70% of the plant). Space each plant and give them much water every day.

Keep the gardening tools safe

One thing most first experience gardeners don’t know is that your tools can also damage your plants if you keep them outside, under the rain or the hot sun.

So it’s better to store all your tools in a garden cabinet (often these cabinet are wooden or even in plastic materials). Cabinets have a door that you can lock and nobody will disturb or damage your tools as long as they stay inside.

Now, if you have any problem with your cabinet door, just remember that on this web site www.lock4less.com/emergency-locksmith you can find all info about locks and doors. And if you think that a garden cabinet is just something too specific, you should have a look to the wide range of services from Locksmith: apart of car and vehicles, there are residential services for all house / garage doors, offices and commercials are also included in the list of services and finally all kinds of cabinets for all uses can be relocked and reinstalled by the technicians from Locksmith.

Just save the Locksmith phone number and call in case of need.