The lake level is up, the river runoff has slowed, and it is time to get serious about trophy lake trout fishing. Our boats will all be in their permanent, summer moorage by this weekend and three of the best guides on the lake are ready to get YOU on the water.

Howes Fishing/A Able Charters maintains 4 boats at the ready on Flathead Lake, two in Bigfork , and two in Lakeside. Walk up and board, no fighting parking at public launches or waiting in line to use a restroom before or after your trip.

And contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, only A Able Charters operates THE largest fishing charter boat on the lake, capable of serving your party of up to 16 passengers! No other fishing boat on the lake comes close, when it’s all about keeping your crew together! Comfort, safety and fish-ability unmatched by any other outfit.


The FUN Time is BACK!

Ready for your large party!

Ready for your large party!


In 2013, A Able guides boated over 100 trophy Mackinaw (Lake Trout).  Our measure of a trophy is a fish 30-36  inches long, fish that by regulation MUST be released, and over…fish that we HIGHLY encourage releasing.  These BIG lake Trout are at least 25 years old, and are true Flathead Lake legends, the stuff memories are made of.


Tina made a memory of a lifetime last year with A Able, your giant lake trout is out there…will this be YOUR year?

A REAL Flathead Lake Monster!

A REAL Flathead Lake Monster!


And if fishing is not on your agenda, or if you want to mix it up a bit, we can offer lake tours, combo trips and even sunset cruises from either of our two locations on the lake. And of course, the Flathead Valley offers multi-species action on dozens of other lakes as well.  Lakes we know and fish often…so if a BIG Pike, Bass, Gerrard Rainbow, Kokanee or jumbo yellow perch suits your fancy, we have a boat and a guide that can serve you there as well. Let’s talk, and then… LET’S GO FISHING!


Trophy Gerrard Rainbow Trout

16.5# 34" Rainbow

16.5# 34″ Rainbow

16.5# 34" Rainbow
16.5# 34″ Rainbow

Every Spring we look forward to May for just this reason. As water temperatures warm on Little Bitterroot Lake, bug hatches and surface feeding Kokanee offer a smorgasbord for these healthy and hungry Gerrard strain Kamloops trout. This is a short season and one we take advantage of by fishing  as many lines as possible on planer board systems.

This is true trophy hunting, not for those just looking to catch a few fish. We have several other options if that is what you are looking for, like Kokanee trolling, or casting for Northern Pike. It is Spring in the Flathead and life is GOOD!

As fall winds down and winter closes in, our focus shifts from daily fishing trips to our other myriad projects, businesses and activities.  Don’t get me wrong, we are still booking trips and fishing whenever we get the chance, but owners Mike and Cindy Howe have MANY other irons in the fire, so to speak. Along with our Fall Whitefish Run trips on the Flathead River, and Little Bitterrroot Lake Kamloops Rainbow trips, we are preparing to conduct some of our other activities. You can go HERE to learn more about all of that.

A Able Fishing had a great summer.  We welcomed back former owner and Outfitter Pat Campanella, along with the return of Shorty’s big boat, the Fun Time.  We had a great season on big fish, tallying over 100 trophy lake trout between the three Captains. We had a chance to sponsor or support many charitable organizations events and we grew our charter numbers by over 20%. To say things are going our way would be an understatement and we look forward to serving you, your family and your associates again very soon.  Whether you come with us for your first time, or your 11th time, you will enjoy doing things the A Able way!  See you soon, on the road or on the water!


Fall is in the Air!



WOW, has Summer really ended and is Fall really here? I’m kinda kidding myself I know, but it has been an amazing year, a year that validated everything we are trying to be about. But, let’s talk about fishing, shall we?

As Fall settles in, we are finding very active Lake Trout along the shorelines. In fact, time of day, what day, weather, nothing seems to be mattering so if you just want to go catch Lake Trout, now thru the end of November is a great time. Oh yes, we fish the big lake until the roads start to get icy or it just gets too cold. BUT, we also have other stuff going on too. Just because our boats are no longer in the Marina doesn’t mean we are taking the rest of the year off!

The Flathead River is loaded with Lake Superior Whitefish right now, and we move up and down the river in style chasing these fish. Chancy’s 20’ Lund Alaskan is a roomy, casting machine and really makes a day on the river enjoyable.

The big Kamloop (or Gerard) Rainbows are getting real active and we fish Little Bitterroot Lake for them in November. This is multi line, side-planer surface trolling and we cover water! Kokanee are an added bonus, especially if conditions are not right for the ‘bows. Not a prettier quiet lake around in the fall.

Lastly, you will want to book your ice fishing trips soon. This is a service we offer like no other. Ice fishing is exploding all across the northern states and we are at the cutting edge of modern ice angling. From our early ice fishing trips using our Wilcraft amphibious vehicles, to mid winter excursions for your large group we have the shelters, sonars, cameras and comfortable base camps to make your time on the ice unforgettable, fun and productive.

Gift certificates are available for any of the services we offer and make a great holiday gift. We look forward to seeing you soon!



PS: Check out our latest expansion into the fishing world, a new tournament series we are bringing to MN, SD and WI this winter.
Mike and Cindy Howe

Tina Hahn 23 pounds 39 inchesIf you have ever wanted to catch a fish of a lifetime on Flathead Lake, now might just be that time. While we can’t guarantee everyone will catch a fish like this, I can assure you, you WON’T if you aren’t on the water! The whitefish are starting to move into some areas of the lake, and the big lakers are right behind them. Let us help put you on them, morning trips are the time for these fish, and with three boats always at the ready, we can get you on the water!


This year has been a great year for big fish. I have been tracking my fish over 30 inches so far this year, and our clients are connecting on at least one fish over 30″ on almost every charter! These are Lake Trout over 20 years old and we are practicing CPR…catch, photo and release! There is a big one waiting for you, so give us a call. Hearing “that’s the biggest fish I ever caught” just NEVER gets old! Check out this photo from a recent charter then CALL!

kids and fish



Well, we have know this was coming for a long time, but the CSKT and the BIA have released the EIS regarding gillnetting Flathead lake. I have attached the link to the document (635 pages) as well as Fish Wildlife and Parks response to it.  The important thing to note here is that, as I understand it, the funding would be provided by the Bonneville Power Administrations fish mitigation funds. This plan asks for up to over $900,000 ANNUALLY to string up to almost 500,000 feet of gillnets across Flathead Lake. This would impact the $20.1 MILLION dollar Flathead Lake fishery by over 11%…so we are looking at a $3 MILLION dollar total impact to engage in the foolishness annually….


I want to encourage EVERYONE to look at the facts, and make your comments known.  And PLEASE don’t just comment to the folks proposing the plan, but send your comments to our Governor, our director of FWP and to your congressman and senators. A letter to the BPA would also be a good idea. I will be providing continual updates here, and how to comment and to who.  In the mean time, please read the documents and familiarize yourself so you can see what this all means…




Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks response to plan to gillnet Flathead Lake



BIG fish time!

Trophy Lake Trout with A Able Fishing

Another big fish day

Brother Mark and Roger wanted big fish and they got 'em!

Healthy 37″ Lake trout caught on a Wordens T-60 Flatfish




Well, June is once again rewarding us with big fish on most days. Early starts tend to see at least 2-3 large, over 30 inch fish caught before we move on to catching numbers of fish up “on the delta”. We have also seen plenty of larger, over 30 inch fish caught up there as well.


Don’t wait, get your charter booked NOW!


If you are looking to get some great info on Flathead Lake fishing, look no further!  Two years ago, I and some other Flathead Lake experts, participated in a series of videos produced by the CSKT. The DVD’s are available for the asking by calling Cindy Benson at 406-675-2700 ext. 7294.

They can also be viewed on One of my videos can be viewed here…

While I did  a series on trolling, there are some great clips by Dick Zimmer (AKA The Mac Man) and several others.  There is a LOT to be learned here about trout fishing on Flathead Lake in Montana. They can all be found on the page where you will view mine.

Right now on Flathead Lake, with the snow melt and runoff from Glacier National Park, the conditions are very similar to when I made this video, so apply some of these techniques and go catch some fish!  Of course, we would be happy to take you there and show you in person, so mention this post for a $50 credit off your next fishing charter.

See you on the water.

Captain Mike



The yellow perch are in at Flathead Lakes East Bay in Polson, Montana. This is a fishery that many look forward to each year when the water temps rise and they move into spawning grounds.



Once water temps rise to about 48 degrees on this shallow bay, the fish turn on.  Ideal conditions look like this…cool nights that allow the water temps to drop to about 40-42 degrees in 1-3 feet of water.  As the late morning sun begins to warm the water, the fish become more active.  By noon or so, the temps have warmed to about 48 degrees and the fish become more active, and go on a feeding frenzy when the temps hit 48-50 degreesF.  Sometimes, these fish will gather below the shade pattern of your boat and allow you to sight fish and pick the size of fish you wish to catch.


Closing in on the state record

Lures are simple, 1/8 ounce, minnow pattern baits with a bit of night crawler or perch belly. Cast and retrieve your jig along edge of weeds, with a lift/fall action.  Or, just put same bait under a slip bobber, keeping it no higher than 6″ off bottom.  This is a GREAT fishery for kids or seniors as the action can be non-stop.  And these yellow perch are some of the finest table fare out there.  Self imposed limits are important, as yellow perch are not regulated here.  Keep a couple meals and let those big females go, so they can spawn and help protect this fishery for years to come.


Last week, a fish barely 1/4 pound off the state record was caught by a local angler who avidly fishes yellow perch in the winter. 15 3/8″ and 2.13 pounds, it was a personal best for him.