Too bad the big catch was a bit early for Seeley Lake’s annual Pike On Ice Tournament,  but that doesn’t matter to Jaylund Rammell and his daughter Kaylee.

Last week, the Rammells were spending time ice fishing on Seeley like they always do this time of year. They were using tip-ups baited with smelt.

Rammell told me his daughter likes to see the fish trip the orange flag on the tip-up, run over to them and then hand-line them in. This time, however, Rammell decided that the fish on the other end of the line might be a little big for young Kaylee to handle.

“So I started to pull the line in, and it took a while as the northern pike had taken out quite a bit of line before it stopped,” Rammell said. “In fact, there was a couple of times that I thought I lost the fish as it was swimming toward me.”

But Rammell could feel it was a heavy fish. “So when I got the pike up to the ice hole there was a nearby fisherman who said he would gaff the fish to help me get it out of the water.”

It was a good plan to put a big fish on the ice. “But I guess when he saw the size of the head of the northern pike come up, it must’ve surprised him because he didn’t move,” Rammell said.

“Then his buddy decided to grab the fishing line in all the excitement and the line ended up breaking,” he added. “But we had it out about halfway out of the ice hole when the line broke, so I grabbed it and got the whole fish on the ice.”

And what a fish it was. The northern pike measured 44 inches and weighed 30.7 pounds.

It was certainly worth the excitement and was the biggest northern pike that Rammell had ever caught. He wants to thank the other two guys who came over and lent him a hand.

I asked Rammell what he was going to do with it and he told me that it already was at the taxidermist for mounting. You can view the big northern pike at www.montanaoutdoor.

com. The pike, as you will see, is about as long as Kaylee is tall.

Now, we get to see if anyone can come close to matching the big pike during this weekend’s Pike On Ice tourney on Seeley and Salmon lakes. To enter the tourney, you can e-mail or call (406) 370-8396. Entry fee is $25. The tourney offers $1,000 in cash and prizes.

Mark Ward’s statewide Montana Outdoor Radio Show airs Saturdays from 6 to 8 a.m. in Missoula on KGVO 1290 AM. E-mail Ward at

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