Ice Fishing at Petrolia Lake


I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last post! I’m rushing to get this one is today so I can have at least one post this month. I’ve been bad at documenting lately, something I am working on. I’ve been working on myself a lot lately, being vulnerable, and putting myself out there. I’ve actually been quite busy. But with all of that I feel drained emotionally and it’s taking away from my creativity. I’ve found there a balance between participating in the world around you and hermiting it to take care of yourself. I still wax and wane. But I went ice fishing last weekend and took my camera so I thought I would share!

Where: Petrolia Lake, Montana
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First thing first: I went with Clint, who owns Yellowstone Cellars and Winery, and Tex. Haha yes I went ice fishing with two old guys… and it was a blast! I was at the winery when they were talking about it and they invited me last minute. I had been years since I had been ice fishing and I actually had to go out and buy Carhartt bibs. I’ve been wanting a pair ever since I wore my dad’s to a football game in 2015. They are SO warm when it’s cold; even warmer than snow pants. If you follow me on Instagram you saw the hilarity that was me running all over town trying to find my size. I still think they are a little too big however they don’t come any smaller.

View from a pickup in snowy Montana during blue hour.

We met at the winery at 6 am and hit the road, chasing sunrise. Funny thing, I was 4 minutes late and the boys texted me.. I figured with two older guys if I wasn’t exactly there at 6 am they might leave without me! Luckily I was awake and on my way! We, well they, decided to fish Petrolia Lake. Something I learned on the trip is that it’s important to know what type of fish are in the lake and how they move around the water. I think most of us assume fish are all over but some actually move slowly in schools and some don’t move much at all. It was the first time Tex and I been to that lake; Clint had been before but it had been years. The lake is located about 2 hours northeast of Billings. As we drove, as you can see, the sun started to rise. I was in awe of how beautiful it was and I kept thinking that I should get up for sunrise more. Heck I should go on road trips more often. Once you get going it’s so much fun being out there; it’s just the initial getting up that’s hard! There really is that catch 22 with sunrise and sunset. It’s the winter it’s so late in the morning and so early in the night that you can easily see both. But it’s SO cold. In the summer it’s so nice out but the sunsets so late and rises soo early! Some of the hardcore photographers I follow will hike hours for it and I’m just not that it it. I love an early morning but I don’t like hiking in the dark.

View out the back of a pickup truck. Going fishing in the morning.
Beautiful view out the window of a car. Sunrise filled with pastel colors,

When we got to the lake I quickly geared up. It was too hot in the car to wear the bibs. It was a little cold to be out exposed but luckily I could layer quickly. The guys loaded all of the gear into a sled which they pulled out on to the lake. They brought a fishing pole and a chair for me which is really nice! I keep forgetting I need to buy a folding chair. It seems like everywhere I go I always need one, or three! I’ll add it to the list. I actually have a list of things I want “eventually” like a backpacking tent or a car adapter so I can plug things in like you do into the wall at your house. I think I need to pick one thing each month and treat myself… and maybe add them to the birthday/Christmas list. I actually decided I want to start painting more - Laurie Ann has become an inspiration so I think this month I am going to treat myself to some paint and an easel.

Ice fishing at Petrolia Lake near Winnett, Montana. Beautiful photos takes at Sunrise.

After we got set up we started digging the holes. The guys were a little less than enthused to use a hand auger but I kind of liked it. It was fun to dig my own hole and it was a great workout. I had never dug a hole before so it was a fun first! I think in the future they want to buy a power auger.. maybe I will still being the manual one and use it. Sometimes it’s doing things like that when you use muscles you never use. I went bowling and one leg and my butt were SO sore from my fancy bowling moves! ;) It was a great way to workout areas I don’t normally work without having to go to the boring gym. I love working out but I don’t like gyms which is why I try to do most of my exercise outside.

Ford truck tucked between two trees while ice fishing at Petrolia Lake near Winnett, Montana.
Adventure blogger Bri Sul Ice fishing at Petrolia Lake near Winnett, Montana using a hand auger to dig holes.
Ice fishing at Petrolia Lake near Winnett, Montana. Beautiful photos takes at Sunrise.

Overall it was a great day! It has been very cold in Montana lately. Saturday it was almost 30! I was pretty hot in my bibs and took off my jacket at one point. I bought this jacket a few months ago because I saw it online and I was obsessed with it. I am actually not completely sold on the style. I LOVE the look of the top but it fans out at the bottom and makes me look “hippy”. And the hood is a little tight. I guess that would be good with wind but it’s not very cute in photo

Ice fishing at Petrolia Lake near Winnett, Montana. Beautiful photos takes at Sunrise. Cute folding chair with glove, fishing rod, and bobber.
Ice fishing at Petrolia Lake near Winnett, Montana. Beautiful photos takes at Sunrise.
Ice fishing at Petrolia Lake near Winnett, Montana. Beautiful photos takes at Sunrise.
Homemade moonshine. Ice fishing at Petrolia Lake near Winnett, Montana. Beautiful photos takes at Sunrise.

Overall it was such a fun day. I hadn’t been ice fishing in say 5 to 7 years - I can’t remember. Clint brought some moonshine and Tex brought some Schnapps. The moonshine was actually great - I am not a huge whiskey fan but this was pretty smooth. Since it was so last minute I didn’t bring much but I bought snacks at the grocery store. I was going to grab some beer at the gas station but I felt like 8 am was a little too early to buy! I am SO bad at keeping alcohol in the house because if it’s there I will drink it. I would LOVE to be one of those people who has a nice wine rack, maybe a wine of the month club, but that’s a lot of alcohol; kind of like junk food I am better off not having it in the house.

Adventure blogger Bri Sul ice fishing at Petrolia Lake near Winnett, Montana. Wearing Coach sunglasses, a Roxy coat, and the warmest Carhartt bibs.
Ice fishing at Petrolia Lake near Winnett, Montana. Beautiful photos takes at Sunrise.

A few neat things that happened that day were 1) a small place flew over the lake. We almost thought it was going to land on the lake which would have been awesome 2) the game warden came and checked our fishing licences. I actually almost didn’t get mine but since I was at Big R buying bibs I thought I would get my license too. Unfortunately it was right at the cut off for the year so I had to buy next years and a two day pass, but lucky I did. I just had a feeling they were going to come check! The warden was extremely nice, which is not always the case! And kind of cute ;) Hopefully he never finds this post… jk - call me! Ha Clint asked me to take a panoramic, which I didn’t post because it doesn’t do well on a blog but we are going to compare them in the winter and when we go back in the summer. Our plan is to take the boat this summer, maybe even camp. The even cooler thing is that my panorama contains the plane!

Ice fishing at Petrolia Lake near Winnett, Montana. Beautiful photos takes at Sunrise.

Have you ever been ice fishing? Or to Petrolia Lake? I would love to hear!