Catching On

“Tom Gruenwald Outdoors” highlights winter fishing in NW Montana

Winter recreation enthusiasts across North America will have the opportunity to experience the great ice fishing opportunities of Northwest Montana through the ice fishing television program, “Tom Gruenwald Outdoors.” In three episodes of the nationally broadcast series’ fourth season, Gruenwald showcases the idyllic lakes and ice fishing just outside Kalispell as well as the town’s welcoming amenities.

“It was literally a lifelong dream of mine to fish in Montana, and our experience there was everything I dreamed it would be,” said Tom Gruenwald, host of “Tom Gruenwald Outdoors.” “If you’re looking for great fishing and a great community, you can’t do better than Kalispell.”

The 2015 episodes of “Tom Gruenwald Outdoors” featuring Kalispell premiere on the Sportsman Channel on Nov. 11 and 18 and Dec. 23, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. Mountain Standard Time. Each episode will be rebroadcast on the subsequent Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and then the next Monday at 1:30 a.m. The series airs across the U.S. and Canada on the Sportsman Channel, Canada’s Wild Television Network and in the Midwest on Midco Sports Network. (For a local channel finder, visit View a sneak peak of the episodes highlighting Kalispell at

Gruenwald first came to fish the lakes around Kalispell during the winter of 2014 at the behest and invitation of Mike Howe, owner of A Able Fishing Charters in Bigfork. The results of that trip were highlighted in a trio of episodes during the third season of “Tom Gruenwald Outdoors,” which aired last winter. After experiencing great fishing for diverse species including kokanee salmon and lake trout, Gruenwald (with Howe) hatched the plan for a return trip — this time to fish a Montana backcountry lake accessible only by helicopter.

To amplify excitement about the unusual fishing trip, Gruenwald and the Kalispell Convention & Visitor Bureau sponsored a national sweepstakes, with the lucky winner joining Gruenwald, his producer and Howe on the trip. Nancy Suthers and her boyfriend, James Fenton, both residents of Monroe, Wisconsin, won the drawing and came along for the shoot, which took place in February 2015. Two episodes were shot on Lupine Lake, a pristine high-mountain lake approximately 20 miles west of Kalispell, known for its great cutthroat trout fishing. Two Bear Air of Whitefish provided helicopter support for the trip.

An additional episode of the series was shot on Rogers Lake, where Gruenwald successfully fished for Arctic grayling — the so-called “sailfish of the north.”

The return of “Tom Gruenwald Outdoors” to Kalispell gives another boost to the city as a destination for winter travel, said Diane Medler, director of the Kalispell Convention & Visitor Bureau.

“People around the country are starting to recognize Kalispell as a perfect basecamp for the best that Montana has to offer,” Medler said. “In winter, we have endless ice fishing opportunities as well as two ski areas, the region’s biggest pond hockey tournament, dog sledding — name your interest and you can do it here. With Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake right at our doorstep, there’s something for literally every season.”

Gruenwald agreed, noting that one of his favorite parts of fishing in Montana was coming back to civilization in the evenings.

“For a town the size of Kalispell there are some really good places to eat, lots of fun things to do and see for the whole family,” he said. “I’m an ice fishing guy, but even I get cold. It’s nice to know that I can come back to town and enjoy a great meal and sit by a warm fire and meet interesting people.”

To learn more about “Tom Gruenwald Outdoors,” visit Please check local listings as air times may change.

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