We kept hearing about the fabulous Lake Trout fishing on Whitefish Lake, and decided to dedicate one day of our week taking a shot at them. Not knowing the area, we first set out a strategy to get some local knowledge, where to fish, what to use, when to fish, that sort of stuff. We got lots of opinions, and the trick with local knowledge is to sort out the gold from the garbage. We were well into our knowledge quest when I stumbled upon an ancient Indian in a bait shop. There are lots of Indians around here, mostly from the Flathead Tribe. Anyway, this old leathery guy imparts to me that he’s a Tribal Elder that holds authority over much of the tribal fishing lands. And, just because I’m a real nice guy, he gives me the dirt on how to nail Mackinaws on Whitefish Lake.
“I always use our ancient fish harvesting chant”, says he. “It never fails me”. So, figuring I’ve hit the mother lode I ask him to teach it to me. I was fascinated. Not only do we get to spend a week in this most beautiful of National Parks, we get a personal lesson of Indian Lore to boot!
Well-armed with bait and chant, we set out on our own harvest, anticipating just how wonderful that fresh trout would taste for dinner. Because Whitefish is mostly a high-dollar resort area, access to the lake is pretty limited, but we found our way to Les Mason State Park and set to it.
You can catch some of the live action here at the Whitefish Highlight Reel. Anyway, we got skunked I couldn’t believe it. We had the right bait, were fishing at the right time, and according to the Camp Host we were fishing in a spot that produced lake trout for the past 2 days. And we had the magic chant! At least I thought we had the magic chant. I’m rethinking that chant thing. After a little further study, and some advice from yet another passing Indian in the State Park, we may have mis-interpreted the chant. In the Flathead language it goes like this:
“Ta keet a’el dag, Ki nah al wat, Wan’e co’na um kialeh pow’rbate”
Which, according to Chief Big Heels at the State Park translates as:
“Big fat fish, don’t make me wait, Come and bite my PowerBait”
Does anyone else out there believe this translation? Or do you have a better one? I’m hoping someone can send along a chant that works before we blast out of here, cause this one was as big a turkey as this one we saw outside the bait shop.