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OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE JUNE 2010 www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

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Montana’s Most Overlooked Trout Streams Fly C Casting asting Basics

Catching Walleye In Montana

SPECIAL Pre-Season Deer Scouting Tips


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JUNE 2010


JUNE 2010

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Outdoor Calendar BIG TIMBER GUN SHOW: June 11 - 13

The annual Gun Show will be held at the Big Timber Civic Center. Vendors will be selling art, antiques, books, clothing, jewelry and guns. Phone: 406-932-5969

DEER LODGE MONTANA TERRITORIAL GUN SHOW: June 25 - 27

Gun Show will have a wide selections of firearms for sale, from antique to modern pistols, rifles and shotguns. Visitors will also find all sorts of ammunition and accessories, along with hunting and fishing gear. Held in the Old Montana State Prison Cell Block. Phone: 406-846-1303

ENNIS LIONS CLUB KIDS FATHER’S DAY FISHING DERBY: June 20 This is a great day for kids and dads. Kids under 12 can catch ‘big’ fish. Prizes given for various age groups. Enjoy a delicious and free barbecue in the park, at 1:00pm. Held at the Lions Club Park. Phone: 406-682-5711

FORT PECK MONTANA GOVERNOR’S CUP WALLEYE TOURNAMENT: July 8 - 11 Walleye fishing at its best can be found in Fort Peck Lake. $15,000 first place prize. Held at Fort Peck Lake. Starting point is the boat ramps at the breakwaters. Phone: 406-228-2222, www.mtgovcup.com

GREAT FALLS SUNDAY CHILDREN’S PROGRAM: Sundays, June 6 - August 29th

Join a park ranger at Giant Springs State Park for Sunday afternoon children programming. These presentations are focused toward children from ages 5 to 12 years. They will learn about many different topics ranging from animal tracks to grizzly bears. Phone: 406-454-5870

HELENA HELENA OUTDOORS FEST: June 12

JUNE 2010

LEWISTOWN ED MCGIVERN MEMORIAL SHOOT: June 11 - 13 Step back in time and join the Snowy Mountain Muzzleloaders and Re-Enactors at the Ed McGivern Memorial Park in beautiful Central Montana for an exciting weekend filled with activities of the mid-1800s. Phone: 406-428-2286

SIDNEY FORT UNION RENDEZVOUS: June 17 - 20 A fur trading outpost on the Northern Plains, Fort Union Trading Post comes alive during 4 days in June with an encampment of traders, craftsmen and Native Americans to relive its heydey and allow visitors a glimpse of history. www.nps.gov/fous

TOWNSEND CANYON FERRY WALLEYE FESTIVAL: June 26 - 27 Approximately $25,000 in cash and prizes, special prizes for male/female and adult/child teams. Held at the Silos Recreation Area. Phone: 406-266-5582

TROUT CREEK TROUT CREEK REGATTA: June 18 - 20 Hydro boat racing at it’s best. Held on the Noxon Rapids Reservoir. Phone: 406-827-4458

Events To Support WILDLIFE Ducks Unlimited

06/05/10 Missoula Missoula Area Greenwing Event Western Montana Retriever Club Jack White 406-544-7595 06/19/10 Billings Yellowstone Co. Chapter DU Sportsman’s Night Out - Billings Trap Club Jim Moreland 406-651-0814

Come out for some fun! Geocaching clinic and hike, archery clinics, kayak and rafting clinics, fly-casting clinics and more! 11am-4pm at Spring Meadow Lake State Park. Phone: 406-443-3202 or visit www.helenaoutdoorsfest.org

MULE DEER FOUNDATION 07/24/10 Missoula Hole-In-The Wall Ranch Banquet Fundraiser Gene Foster 406-218-9883 08/28/10 Helena Lewis & Clark Chapter Banquet & Fundraiser HELENA DOUBLE DIVIDE RIDE: June 12 - 13 Dennis Deaton 406-461-2844

On day one, cyclists take on their first challenge as they ascend MacDonald Pass. The ride to Avon is a fast downhill spin with a break for a huge luncheon at Nevada Lake. The final leg heads towards Lincoln on the highway through the Blackfoot River Valley. Phone: 406-439-7544, www.helenabicycleclub.com

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

06/12/10 West Yellowstone Yellowstone Taylor Fork Big Game Banquet Kelli Bieler 406-995-2610

ADVERTISING RICK HAGGERTY (406)370-1368

AMY HAGGERTY PUBLISHER

8591 Capri Dr., Helena Mt. 59602 bigskyoutdoornews@yahoo.com www.bigskyoutdoornews.net The entire contents is © 2010, all rights reserved. May not be reproduced without

prior consent. The material and information printed is from various sources from which there can be no warranty or responsibility by Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure. Nor does the printed material necessarily express the views of Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure. VOLUME 7 Issue 4


JUNE 2010

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Top 25 ‘Conservacation’ Spots For Family Getaways ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

F

irst came the vacation. Then, the staycation. Now comes a newly coined concept, the conservacation. It’s a vacation focused on conservation, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is recommending 25 top educational destinations where families can experience and enjoy learning about elk, other wildlife and their habitat. Elk viewing areas like Rocky Mountain National Park and Theodore Roosevelt National Park are well known, but RMEF’s list is a compilation of alternative spots. “With summer upon us and many families thinking about a getaway, we’re pleased to suggest the following locations,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “All of these places are worth a visit any time of year, but some really come to life when elk are rutting or on wintering grounds. That’s when visitors are most likely to see these animals up close and possibly observe a spectacle of nature they’ll never forget—hearing an elk bugle for the first time has inspired many a new conservationist.” Of course, hearing a turkey gobble, watching a whitetail doe and fawn, and countless other experiences can have the same effect. That’s why RMEF has long provided funding for educational sites

and projects across the U.S., in and out of elk country, says Allen. Elk are present only seasonally at some of the following locations, completely absent in others, so be sure to Google or call each facility for specific wildlife info before traveling. Here are 25 RMEF-recommended spots for your family’s conservacation: ARIZONA 1. Springerville, Ariz.—Sipe White Mountain Visitor Center/Interpretive Trail. Operated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. RMEF grant recipient. In 1993, RMEF helped the agency purchase this 1,362-acre property known for its trophy elk as well as threatened, endangered and sensitive species. Visitor center, hiking trails, interpretive signage, wildlife viewing sites, picnic area. Phone: 928-367-4281. ARKANSAS 2. Ponca, Ark.—Ponca Elk Education Center. Operated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. RMEF grant recipient. About 450 elk reside nearby along the Buffalo National River. Exhibits outline elk history, biology and restoration efforts. Various activities for all ages, hiking trail, gift shop, picnic facilities. Many kinds of outdoor recreation available. Phone: 870-861-2432.

CALIFORNIA 3. Crescent City, Calif.—Redwood National Park Elk Meadow Viewing Area. Operated by the National Park Service. RMEF grant recipient. Roosevelt’s elk are easily observed here especially south of the Klamath River in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Gold Bluffs Beach along Bald Hills Road and near Orick, Calif. Phone: 707-464-6101. 4. Tupman, Calif.—Tule Elk State Reserve. Operated by California Department of Parks and Recreation. RMEF grant recipient. In 1874, cattleman Henry Miller began efforts to save tule elk from extinction by unregulated hunting and loss of habitat. Today this remnant herd has expanded on what is now park property. Animals from this herd have been relocated to start new herds in other areas of California. Interpretive exhibits, picnic areas. Phone: 661-764-6881. COLORADO 5. Durango, Colo.—Durango Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum. Operated by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. RMEF grant recipient. The hatchery produces rainbow, brown, Snake River cutthroat, native cutthroat trout and kokanee salmon. Fish feeding, visitor center, wildlife museum, aquatic and terrestrial wildlife info, mounted specimens, hands-on displays. Phone: 970-375-6766.

HILLS OUTSIDE MISSOULA. MISSOULA NAMED AS ONE OF TOP 25 ‘CONSERVACATION’ SPOTS

6. Minturn, Colo.—Dowd Junction Elk Viewing Area. Operated by the U.S. Forest Service. RMEF grant recipient. This lush habitat is winter range for several hundred elk. Good viewing from U.S. Highway 24. Also visit the viewing area with telescope and platform at the Holy Cross Ranger District office. Phone: 970-827-5715. ILLINOIS 7. Belknap, Ill.—Michael Wolff Memorial Wetland Viewing Area. Managed by the Michael Wolff Memorial Wetland Foundation. RMEF grant recipient. A tributary of Little Black Slough, this is rich habitat for migratory waterfowl, neotropical songbirds and wading birds. Wildlife viewing platform, interpretative signage. Additional attractions nearby including Cache River State Natural Area. Phone: 618-549-7901. (continued on page 36)


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Summer Coyotes: A Cure For The Offseason Blues BY BRODIE SWISHER

T

he smokin’ hot summer days are here once again and while many sportsmen retreat to the nearest lake for fishing or other aquatic activities, there are those that have yet to get their fill of their hunting endeavors. With open seasons and limitless bag limits, hunting summer time coyotes can be the perfect pursuit to help you beat the summer-time blues. This month we take a look at a few ways to score on some coyotes this summer. The beauty of hunting coyotes is that they can be tempted by their tummy year round. Coyotes are an opportunistic animal and seldom seem to care whether they’re eating rabbit, mice, or the neighbor’s house cat. However, summer-time allows for a variety of new sounds that allow you to cast a more natural calling presentation for a greater menu of sounds than at any other time of year. The spring/summer months bring about a seemingly endless supply of changes to the landscape. It is a time of re-growth for all of creation. Not only is the vegetation around us growing by the day, but the cycle of life continues with the birth of numerous wildlife species in the months of spring each year. And you can bet that coyotes are well aware of these changes and taking advantage of every opportunity possible to snatch these newcomers from the fold.

The arrival of deer fawns, and a variety of other large and small species, signals the beginning of a transition period for coyotes. They have endured a long, hard winter...just trying to survive on whatever they can possibly dig up, or run down. However spring-time brings the coyote new opportunities for red-meat...and you can bet that any fawn found by a coyote will quickly become lunch.

In my opinion, fresh-cut hay fields are the ticket when hunting coyotes throughout the months of summer. Because of the young critters on the ground at this time of year, I often employ “immature sounds” in my calling routine. It’s the time of year when I pull out a fawn bleat or baby cottontail call, as opposed to an adult cottontail distress or jackrabbit sounds. I also use a lot of canine pup sounds throughout the summer months. Puppy whines and yips are an extremely deadly sound at this time of year. These sounds are particularly effective due to the fact that they can pull double duty as both a curiosity and prey call. Pup distress sounds work on the maternal (continued on page 31)


JUNE 2010

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NWTF Montana To Invest $30,000 In Projects In 2010 NWTF T

he National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) Montana State Chapter budgeted $30,750 from its state Hunting Heritage Super Fund to invest in outreach, education, conservation, increased land access and other projects in 2010. The NWTF Super Fund is administered jointly by the NWTF, its state and provincial chapters and wildlife agencies, and supports conservation and education programs. Since 1985, NWTF chapters in Montana have raised and spent more than $304,887 on wildlife habitat enhancements, land purchases, education, outreach and more within the state. NWTF chapters and cooperating partners across North America have raised and spent more than $306 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving 14 million acres of wildlife habitat. “The Montana State Chapter is dedicated to improving land access and wildlife habitat, and is backing up their commitment with the funds to make needed changes,” said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., the NWTF’s chief conservation officer. The targeted projects approved by the Montana State Chapter Super Fund Committee and Board of Director’s include: -$6,750 to uphold outdoor traditions through the NWTF’s JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship), Women in the Outdoors and Wheelin’ Sportsmen outreach programs; fund educational programs and scholarships; and provide NWTF Wild About Turkey Education Boxes -$5,000 to improve riparian areas — or areas near rivers and streams that are vital to wildlife survival — in the Northern Great Plains states by creating riparian pastures to better manage livestock use, planting trees and shrubs, improving timber stands and controlling invasive species through the NWTF’s Northern Plains Riparian Restoration Initiative (NPRRI) Project partners include: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), conservation districts and private landowners. -$3,000 to support the NWTF’s Regional Biologist Program. The NWTF regional biologist works with state and local officials to improve wildlife habitat, promote North America’s hunting heritage and provide outreach opportunities. Project partners: South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks and North Dakota Game & Fish Department, BLM – Montana/Dakotas and regional NWTF state chapters -$3,000 to remove encroaching ponderosa pines from riparian areas to promote healthier hardwood stands on the Ashland Ranger District of the USFS – Custer National Forest near Ashland, Mont. The state chapter has provided financial support for riparian improvements on the Custer National Forest for the last four years. Project Partners: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and USFS -$3,000 to support the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ efforts to secure term access agreements across private lands to provide access to large blocks of public lands owned by BLM, USFS and various state-owned lands. This effort is part of the NWTF’s More Places to Hunt initiative. One agreement is in place and other agreements are being pursued. Project partners: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and private landowners -$2,500 to support the BLM – Miles City Field Office’s ongoing efforts to improve timber stands on the Knowlton project area east of Miles City, Mont. Project plans include continuing to remove unwanted ponderosa pines that are encroaching on meadows and areas of hardwood stands. This project will improve hardwood stands, increase brood-rearing habitat for wild turkeys in the project area and decrease the risk of wildfires. Project Partner: BLM (continued page 16)

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PHOTO COURTESY CHUCK ROBBINS

Montana’s Most Overlooked Trout Fishing CHUCK ROBBINS

D

riving around it’s easy to get duped into thinking of Montana as wet country. After all, beside nearly every road runs a creek of sorts. While many hold trout not many anglers bother. Most of us it seems would rather brush elbows on more crowded, well-known waters with big reputations for serving up big trout. And it’s true most of the cricks I have in mind do hold smaller trout. Many are overrun with tiddlers and a 12-incher is a monster. But there are surprises. For example, the little crick runs right through the center of a neighboring town where we almost always catch a couple 14-15-inches and occasionally a bigger player or two. Naturally some of these roadside gems shine brighter than others. Most hold fatter trout in high water years and drought is a real killer. Nearly all depend on snow melt and sensible water management if they are to hold up year around. And of course some are far easier to fish than others—brush, high gradient, too much meddling (irrigation demand, road building and such). Some look really good in the spring but are bone dry later; others hold up well inside the forest but not so hot down below. And of course some are private and require landowner permission, which in many cases is easier to get than you might think. Over the years I’ve fished a fair number of creeks both well off-the-beaten path and right beside the road. Admittedly the natural sounds of wind and water and just the chance of hooking a tiddler or two

do more for me than most anything down by the highway; my problem is, like most of us, time. So what’s better, an hour’s fishing after work or no fishing? I rest my case. I fish flies just because but spin-fishing can be deadly. Both, however, usually require some adjustments in tackle and technique. Except in really, really tight brush my go-to rig is an 8 ft. 4 wt. rod fitted with a weight-forward 5 wt line; 5-7 feet tapered leader including a 3X or 4X tippet of sufficient length to insure as natural a drift as possible. Because of the intimate surroundings and that trout face up current I like to approach from below. Unless the trout dictate otherwise I tie on an attractor dry or terrestrial and go for it. But just in case my stash always includes a few nymphs, soft-hackles and a couple small streamers. I know two spin-fishing brothers who specialize in tiny roadside creeks. To the tune of hundreds per season the pair haul trout with a machine-like efficiency. Employing short ultra-light rods and reels, skinny monofilament and always the same home-made spinner sporting a single, barbless hook, heron-like they stalk upstream (usually side by side). Accurate underhand lobs probe every likely spot and on a good day the body count is well, mind boggling. Next time you’re hard pressed for fishing time, try one those roadside cricks you’ve been speeding by forever... heck, you might even like it.


JUNE 2010

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Fishing With The Captain

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National Fishing Week is in June, and there is good reason for the timing, especially in Montana. June is the time of the year that fishing really turns on all across the state on the rivers and lakes. If I had to choose just one month of the year that I could fish, June would be my pick. I love to fish lakes and whether you are fishing for trout, walleye, northern pike, bass, or lake trout all you have to do is pick your body of water and head out to catch the big one. Fort Peck Reservoir, over in the eastern part of the state, would probably be on the top of my list. The 134-mile lake has seen an increase in water level the last couple of years and even with the low snowpack and anticipated low spring run-off, will probably hold its present water level and might even rise a little more. The key is how much the Army Corps of Engineers releases from the dam to go down the Missouri River. The Dakotas have had more than enough moisture this year so the release from Fort Peck Dam has been minimal so far this year. Higher water levels mean better fishing pure and simple. The experts are predicting an excellent year for walleye fishing. The northern pike population in the lake has also benefitted. Lake trout fishing has been good and will only get better with more anglers targeting them. Let’s also not forget that Fort Peck is also known as one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the region. It holds the state record for a smallmouth bass. If it is possible for your summer travel plans, try to work in at least a four or five day fishing trip to this great Montana treasure.

Another great lake that should be on the “I HAVE TO GO FISHING LIST THIS MONTH” should be Canyon Ferry Reservoir by Helena. If you want to get started fishing for walleyes, this lake and this month are a perfect combination. The walleye bite on Canyon Ferry normally happens most of the month of June. The south end of Canyon Ferry is also mostly free of snags so you won’t get frustrated by constantly getting hung up while fishing. The lake on the south end is fairly easy to target walleyes because they are biting near one of the four dust abatement dikes, also known as ponds one, two, three or four. Trolling with a bottom bouncer and a crawler spinner or leach harness is the most popular way to fish the walleyes. The kokanee salmon fishing on Lake Mary Ronan started off strong last month and should continue for at least a few days into June, which depends mostly on the water temperature. It is a pretty lake just west of Flathead Lake and has a nice state boat ramp to launch your boat. Anglers like to jig with a Swedish pimple and glow hook that is tipped with a maggot in 22-29 feet of water or troll cowbells with a wedding ring tipped with a maggot about two or three colors deep.

Mark Ward is known as the Captain of the Montana Outdoor Radio Show heard statewide every Saturday from 6am - 8am. Log onto www.montanaoutdoor.com to find a radio station in your area. You can also read his weekly column in the Thursday Missoulian Outdoor section.

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Sage Series 99 Fly Rod

Recommend...Yes with only three weeks to test. Highlights: We had three weeks to test the Series 99 fly rod from Sage. Our normal procedure is a minimum of 180 days. We broke our rule because that is all the time Sage would give us. We needed to fish this 7 wt. quickly and we did just that. The Series 99 is the newest addition to a long list of Sage rods. This is a 9’9” fast action, and was loaded with the new Rio line. I put it in the hands of my son Chris who started his fifth year as a guide on the Big Horn River. The first test came on the Yellowstone River on the last day of March. He threw streamers and caught a few good-sized Browns. Chris reported the rod loaded and pumped line out in a hurry. I fished the rod along with Jim Abel on the Big Horn River and both of us were impressed with it’s distance. We caught fish and the Sage performed like Sage does. All testers had high praise for the Series 99 7 wt. Drawback...Tested for only short time Rating...6 Point...Great Tester: Pat Stinson, Chris Stinson, Jim Abel Suggested Retail: $699.00

Thingamabobber Strike Indicator

Recommend...Yes Highlights: If you fly fish you know about and probably use the Thingambobber strike indicator. It has taken the industry like a hurricane. The last time on the water, I made a point of observing strike indicators and every angler was using a Thingamabobber. This is a reusable balloon indicator that you do not have to blow up, just tie on, and remove at the end of the day. You have three sizes to choose from; 1⁄2”, 3⁄4”, and 1-inch diameter and you can pick from a bundle of different colors. I have used all season and can tell you they cast great, are easy to see, and very durable. Another great feature is they do not sink; the only way to ruin them would to punch a big hole in one. If you fly fish and have not used a Thingamabobber the next time you head for trout waters pick yourself up two or three. I can promise you the Thingamabobber will be your indicator replacing all others. Drawback...None Rating...High Water Mark...Great Tester: All Suggested Retail: Small $1.20 Medium $1.30 Large $1.40 Extra Large $1.50

Hi-tec V-lite Thunder HPi Sport Shoe with ion-mask™ hydrophobic technology

Recommend...Yes Highlights: My feet like good shoes. Among others, I buy them Merrell, Salomon and Vasque. Several years ago, it seems a pair of Hi-Tec was in my arsenal. I do not recall them as “bad shoes,” I just did not buy another pair. Nevertheless, for the past nearly six months, I have worn a pair of Hi-Tec V-Lite THUNDER HPi sport shoes with ion-mask™ hydrophobic technology almost every day. When I first took them out of the box, it was immediately apparent why they called them V-Lite. I am sure they are the most lightweight shoes I have ever worn and almost as immediately, I thought of all the negatives lightweight shoes conjured. Surprisingly, they proved innocent on every count. They were comfortable from the very start and still are, though they have shown almost no wear. I am out in the elements a lot. The V-Lite Thunder continues to weather the storm. Drawback...None Rating...6 Point...Great Tester: Jim Abel Suggested Retail: $90.00


JUNE 2010

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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 11

MONTANAʼS HEADQUARTERS FOR ODYSSEY RAFTS

BIG SKY

14’ ODYSSEY SELF BAILER RAFT

Fly Tying Corner: Hatchmaster ROBERT BATES fedflyfishers.org

T

he history of this pattern isn’t well documented. However, an internet search produced the following: “This fly was apparently first developed by Harry Darbee in the late 1930’s for use in the Catskills.” Several references agree it was popularized in the west by Dick Alf of Sun Valley, Idaho. There it was used in slow moving sections of Idaho’s famous and difficult to fish Silver Creek. While most stories extol its power in moving water it also works as a Callibaetis spinner imitation in lakes. Remember that drag free float when fishing any moving water. There are many ways to achieve the needed drag free float. A quick upstream mend before the line hits the water, leaning your body and rod upstream, a wiggle or “S” cast, cast upward a little so the line will land with “S” shapes when it falls to the water or a draw cast. It goes by other names, but I use the draw cast when fishing straight downstream to rising fish. Cast beyond the fish, and draw the rod and line back before it lands. MATERIALS & EQUIPMENT: Hook: Dry fly, (some recipes specify short shank) #12 – 20 (14 for pictured fly) Thread: Light brown thread, or other color to match hackle Tail, body and wing: Mallard flak feather natural or any color Hackle: Grizzly or color to match the hatch STEP 1: Put thread on hook about mid shank wind to eye and return to mid-shank. STEP 2: Prepare mallard feather by pulling off fuzzy stuff. Hold tip of feather and stroke some of the barbs away from the tip. STEP 3: Prepare mallard feather by pulling off fuzzy stuff. Hold tip of feather and stroke some of the barbs away from the tip. STEP 4: Top view (photo to the right). STEP 5: Cut out center of feather to eliminate stem. Stand up the barbs, put a few thread winds in front of the butts, and wind around the base like you were making a parachute post. Leave thread behind the wing. STEP 6: Prepare the hackle by pulling a few fibers off the bottom. Anchor feather on near side in front of body. The stem is anchored from the body to just in front of the wing. STEP 7: Wind hackle forward to in front of wing, anchor the hackle and trim. Put on a few half hitches. Trim off top of post. STEP 8: Cut out center section of mallard feather to make tails STEP 9: Put glue on body, tail and a little on the head. Use any kind of glue, preferably one with brush. Trim hackle on the bottom about even with point of hook. There are several variations of this basic pattern. The tail, body and wing can be mallard, teal, dyed mallard, pheasant neck hackle or other feather. The hackle can be any color, even black, to match the insect. Some tiers do not trim the bottom of the hackle. Trimming the hackle makes the fly sit lower in the water which I think looks better to the fish. Some tiers put fan type feathers on for regular wings. Tie up a few for your waters, and go fishing.

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The Chinook Salmon Are Running Strong BY TRAVIS DEBOER

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uge numbers of Chinook salmon have been pouring into Idaho Rivers since March 1st, over 30,000 and counting as of mid-May. With the numbers usually averaging around 6,000 at this point in the salmon season, it goes without saying that opportunities to hook a big king are better than ever! Being a novice freshwater salmon fisherman and wanting to try my hand at fishing this enormous run, I decided to grill someone about techniques whose advice I have come to trust. Jason Clausen is the manager of Camp Cabin and Home in Orofino as well as a confirmed salmon junkie. Jason says, “The Clearwater should continue to produce good catches through the month of June. The best stretch of water in June is typically from the north fork of the Clearwater to Clear Creek in Kooskia.” This bodes well for Montana fishermen because many are already familiar with this stretch of river and it is hospitable to boaters as well as bank-bound fishermen. When asked about most reliable bank methods Jason lists drift fishing, plunking, spin-n-glo with shrimp or eggs, as well as bobber with a jig or bait. A few places to start with regard to color choice would be orange, greens and pinks. Jason says, “Always tip your presentation with bait or use sent if there is no scent trail they can‘t find it.”

Jason applies this “heavy scent use philosophy” to his favorite boat fishing methods as well. His favorites are using K14 or K15 kwik fish with a sardine or herring wrap, or a jet diver and egg rig on a slider with 5 feet of leader with a spin-n-glo above the bait. Fully rigged examples of these rigs are displayed in his shop and as I examine them one thought comes to mind: This is essentially steroidal steelheading! Yet another idea that bodes well for Montana fishermen as many are also familiar with some or all of these techniques or at least have a buddy who is. “The water types to fish from the bank are back eddies and tail outs. These fish like to rest after pushing through rapids and fast water.” Sounds very similar to another popular ocean run fish; doesn’t it? Jason went on to say “from a boat I like to fish seams and transition lines where fish move through either above or below faster water.” This again sounds very familiar to a steelheader like me. Regardless of your skill level this salmon season is shaping up to be something special and for those of you that have been wanting to try Idaho salmon fishing this is the year to get to it!!! With a little local know how and help from guys like Jason as well as some motivation, patience, and a can do attitude, this could be a season to remember for any angler willing and capable of investing a little time in this battery charging folly we call big game fishing.

JUNE 2010

I

n spin casting, the weight of the lure pulls the line off the reel. In fly casting, the weight of the line carries the fly to the fish. In fly casting, you must learn to use the fly rod to cast the weight of the fly line. You can do that quickly by following five basic principles of good fly casting: -The fly line (and fly) goes in the direction you point the fly rod tip during the cast. -Good fly casting is not strength-related; it is timing-related. You need to practice the timing of the cast to become a good caster. How much practice? At least 15 minutes a day to become a good fly caster in a month. -Proper stroking and stopping of the fly rod are fundamental to good fly casting. The caster loads energy into the fly rod during the casting stroke. The fly rod releases the energy into the fly line in the cast. The fly caster loads a little energy (a short, low-energy stroke) into the top of the fly rod for short casts; he loads a lot of energy (a short, powerful stroke) into the middle and bottom of the fly rod for a long cast. -Casting arcs (the arc the rod makes in the air during the cast) in fly fishing are small for short casts and large for long casts. -Stopping the fly rod after the casting stroke is critical to forming the casting loop, and it allows the fly rod to unload, thereby casting the line. Fly fishers seldom need to cast more than 50 feet when fishing, but becoming proficient at long-distance fly casting can improve all your casting. You should learn to cast short (30 feet) first, and then practice at greater and greater distances. You can’t learn fly casting from a book. You need to just do it. The more you practice, the better you’ll become. Practice on a lawn or pool. Casting while fly fishing is not practice. Practice allows you to focus on casting fundamentals without distractions. Getting Started The best way to learn fly casting is from an expert instructor. Ask a friend or relative, or find instructors at fly fishing schools, fly shops or fly fishing clubs. If one is not available, take your balanced fly rod, fly reel and fly line to your backyard. You’ll need at least 120 feet (60 feet in

each direction) of lawn with no overhead obstructions. Mark your fly line with an indelible marker at 30 feet. The marker will indicate how much line you have out when you cast. Also place hats or some other objects on the lawn 30 and 60 feet from where you will stand. The markers will help you develop the sense of distance that is critical in casting accurately to fly fish. The Grip Grasp the fly rod firmly with your casting hand and place your thumb on top of the rod grip. When you are learning casting, keep the fly rod butt under and in line with your wrist and forearm. That way, the rod will remain in plane during your cast. If the fly rod comes out of plane during the cast, the tip wanders and the fly line follows the tip, wandering and spoiling the cast. Stand on the lawn with your feet slightly apart. Thread the line off the reel and up through the line guides and out the tip top of the fly rod. Tie a 9-foot leader onto the end of the fly line using the tube knot and tie a small piece of yarn to the end of the fly tippet. Pull about 20 feet of line off the fly reel and lay it out on the lawn to the right of where you stand (to the left if you are left-handed). Make sure the fly line is drawn tight on the lawn and is not lying in S-curves or it will not cast well. Using a horizontal side-arm cast, flick the fly rod tip forward from your right to your left (from your left to your right if you are left-handed), and watch the fly line form a loop and roll out to your left and then settle to the grass. Using your arm and a flick of your wrist together (the way you’d throw a Frisbee backward and a baseball forward), cast the fly line repeatedly back and forth in backcasts and forward casts. Try to make the line form candy cane-shaped loops in both your backcasts and forward casts. Loop formation is the intent of your fly casting - the tighter the loops, the better the cast. As you stroke the rod back and forth, keep a firm wrist and stop the fly rod abruptly after each stroke. Stopping the rod allows the fly line to form a loop off the rod tip. It also allows the fly rod’s tip to turn over to unload energy into the fly line efficiently. The energy in the fly rod casts the line. You must stop the rod when making both the forward cast and the backcast to become a good fly fishing caster. After casting sidearm for 15 minutes, or until you feel comfortable with the feel of the fly line and fly rod, try casting the rod at a 45-degree angle and then vertically. You’ll use all these casting positions when you are fly fishing, so get used to them. You want to groove your casting stroke in the position that is most comfortable for you: sidearm, 45 degrees or vertical. The fly fishing casting principles remain the same for all casting positions. The sidearm cast allows you to watch the line and thus to teach yourself timing and loop formation.


JUNE 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 13

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Fly Fishing Casting Basics (continued from previous page) Aiming the Cast For short casts, you aim about 4 feet above the water (or lawn). As your casts get longer, aim higher to allow the line and fly more time to reach the target. Learning to aim accurately is a hallmark of expert fly casting. You should spend considerable practice time learning to aim and to hit targets on the lawn. Using the practice steps, you should be able to teach yourself how to cast the fly line, fly leader and yarn (fly) from 15 to 30 feet in your first hour of practice. Now you can present a fly to bass and panfish in a pond or to fish in a stream or on the ocean. Here are some helpful tips when practicing casting or when fly fishing: -Wear protective glasses (polarized sunglasses) to prevent eye injury. -Push yourself to greater (measured) distances in casting the yarn fly only after you achieve competence at the shorter distances - 15 feet, then 20, then 30 and so on. -Have a good fly caster watch and critique your casting. Here are some basic errors in fly casting and how to correct them: Problem: Backcast dropping to the lawn or water.

Fault: The fly rod tip is flopping over (pointing too low), sending the fly cast to the ground. Correction: Stop the fly rod tip high. Keep a firm casting wrist. Problem: Tailing loops. Fault: Stroking the fly rod too hard or too soon. Correction: Stroke more gently. Allow the fly line time to straighten out in the backcast completely before stroking the forward cast. Problem: Fly snaps off with a crack in the backcast. Fault and Correction: Same as for tailing loops. Problem: The cast dies before reaching the target. Fault: Underpowered cast caused by loose fly line or by a floppy wrist stroke. Correction: Tighten the fly line before the pickup for the backcast. Use a firm wrist stroke on the backcast and forward cast, and stop the fly rod immediately after the stroke. Expert fly casting takes practice, but 15 minutes a day (every day in summer) can make you an expert caster in one season. To try your skills consider attending the Big Sky Montana Fly Fishing Festival. For details see page 27.

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14 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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Montana Fishing Report

JUNE 2010

Sponsored By Boston Beer Co. And Summit Beverage

CHRIS MADSEN

Western Montana Fishing Report

RYAN ONGLEY

Southwest Montana Fishing Report

Brought To You By Missoula

Brought To You By Bozeman

BY CHRIS MADSEN, (406) 523-9000 e-mail: fishing-115@live.com

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on’t blink you may miss run off. The extremely low snow pack in the mountains of western Montana is going to make high water on the rivers a short affair. The plus side of a quick run off is that fishing our local rivers will be much easier, especially for the wade fisherman. The down side is, you better get in some good fishing this June because after that it’s anyone guess how long the rivers can avoid closure due to climbing water temps. Most reservoirs will start the season in good shape but could get drawn down quickly if we don’t get some summer rains. That being said make sure you plan your fishing trips accordingly and take advantage of the fishing opportunities that Mother Nature does give you this June. There are plenty of options available to the adventurous angler. For fly fishers salmon flies are the name of the game in June. The sight of these three inch long orange bugs clinging to the bank side brush will make your eyes glossy and your casting arm sore. We are lucky enough to have a handful of rivers within a short driving distance that have some of the densest hatches of salmon flies any where. Rock Creek and the Blackfoot are known through out the fly fishing world as “destination” rivers for this hatch. And the Clark Fork and the upper Bitterroot also have excellent hatches of these bugs. Once again the quick run off will benefit the wade fisherman. Floaters will still have the advantage when it comes to fishing this hatch but wading around in a river full of slippery rocks is going to be a little easier this June at less than average flows. Casting big bushy dry flies tight to the bank, under over hanging bushes and around river obstructions will get you lots of looks from hungry fish. If

BY RYAN ONGLEY (406) 586-0100 Countdown to Salmonflies!!!!!

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you’re ahead of the hatch try a large black or brown stonefly nymph with a San Juan worm dropper under a strike indicator. Salmon flies aren’t the only option you have to catch fish on top in June. Golden stoneflies, yellow sallies, caddis and my favorite, the green drake, all make an appearance during the month. You can see yellow sallies and different species of caddis hatching during the whole month. Golden stones begin to appear in strong numbers toward the middle of the month when the salmon fly hatch starts to slow down. Green drakes should start to show up around the second week of June. This large may fly is present in greater numbers on cloudy humid days and can over shadow the giant salmon fly. Be prepared for anything and have your fly boxes full. While the big rivers get most of the attention during the summer the small streams in the area offer an excellent diversion from their crowded big brothers. The paltry snow pack will make the early season fishing little easier on our creeks. The raging waters of runoff usually make it difficult for an angler to find calm enough water to cast in or in some cases even get

to the creek through the flooded brush and willows. Although the fish average a smaller size the numbers you catch usually make up for it. Streams are great places to take beginners. The fish generally take any fly, lure or bait that comes their way. They are opportunistic feeders and are generally just happy to get a chance at a meal. On Flathead the perch fishing has been fair this spring with fair number of fish in the 12” range being caught in between all the little guys. Try a small spoon, jig head or twist tail grub tipped with a maggot or night crawler. Target bays with shallow flats and weed beds. Macs have been providing the usual steady fishing. Try vertical or drift jigging through the schools once you’ve located them. Trilobites, Lead-a-gators and Rattle D-Zasters are the jigs of choice. This usually produces smaller fish but your catch will be higher. Trolling with J-PLugs, Flatfish and hoochies behind a dodger will catch some of the larger fish. As I write this Georgetown Lake still has a good amount of ice on it. The beginning of June should see the lake ice free with lots of hungry fish. Those fishing (continued on page 16)

ow time flies here in the Golden Triangle. We’re already halfway through 2010 and gearing up for the high time of the fishing season. Which can mean only one thing! The annual emergence of the Salmonflies. There’s nothing quite as exciting as watching a large Brown or Rainbow trout rise up and engulf a size #4 or #6 bushy dry fly. Many of our other hatches will be gearing up throughout the month as well. HENRY’S FORK: For some early Salmonfly action this is the place to be. As the big bugs generally will be out by late May. Look for Emergences working upstream from Ashton and continuing on up into Box Canyon later into June. If you just can’t wait for the Big Hole or Madison hatches this is a great bet. UPPER MADISON: Look for Salmonflies as well as Golden Stones to begin appearing near the end of the month and providing good fishing well into July. A good tip for this water is to trail your salmonfly with a size #12 to #14 caddis imitation in a dark brown. There will be tons of big caddis on the water at the same time and the fish can be skiddish towards that big fly but inhale that trailer in a heartbeat. Look for Blue Winged Olives to be finishing up their spring emergence in the early part of June. And Pale Morning


JUNE 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

Duns should get going mid to late June. YELLOWSTONE RIVER: The Salmonfly emergence here is very dependant on water conditions and runoff. If we have low flows and decent visibility the fishing can be outstanding. BWO’s will taper off early in the month. And caddis will continue emerging throughout June. BIG HOLE RIVER: This gem is probably my favorite river to fish Salmonflies on. The hatch generally gets going a bit earlier. Mid June to just a bit after. Make a full day of it. Throw large streamers early on and switch to the large bugs later in the day. There will be plenty of caddis and Pale Morning Duns

to keep yourself busy. When this river is on it is on!!!!! BEAVERHEAD RIVER: Spring has seen some great fishing here. Caddis and PMD emergences should keep us all busy right through June. The Beav is giving up some consistantly large fish once again and is an absolute pleasure to fish. YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: With the season opener just behind us. Look for Salmonflies to be on the water on the Madison and Fireholes for the first week to 10 days of the month. Pale Morning Duns, Blue Winged Olives, and numerous Caddis will all be on the water on these rivers as well.

know desired depth is when you start hooking up. Also jigging them using marabou jigs is another effective method if you prefer to stay busy. Kits Tackle makes an excellent marabou and tinsel jig that is effective on an array of species. It seems that fish tend to hit a jig on the fall more than anything; so the key is to keep as much of the slack out of ones line “on the drop”.

JESSE FLYNN

North Central Montana Fishing Report Brought To You By Helena

BY JESSE FLYNN (406) 457-7200 e-mail: fishing167helena@yahoo.com CANYON FERRY: Having another excellent spring…what do you expect? We are in Gods country! Floating worm harnesses and lindy rigs with leeches are going to be a great means to a limit of walleye on Canyon Ferry this month. Anglers are already rigging up cowbells and having success trolling for rainbows. Down riggers are the best way to control ones depth…but if you don’t currently have them then you will have to mess with weight in order to control depths. The only bad thing about weighted lines and lead is that there is not an exact science to the madness. What I mean is that it can be very difficult to know what depth you are at. I guess the best way is to locate the fish and then start adding and or subtracting weight until your desired depth is reached…and the only way to

HAUSER LAKE: I wanted to mention how much fun it is to shoot carp with a bow. All you need is a boat, generator, flood lights, and a carp bow. Kidding you can get it done with a spot light and waders. At night carp cruise the shallows in search of food and this is our opportunity to have one of the most fun nights of your fishing career. Its just good old fashioned fun! If you don’t have all the gear head on down to one of our shops in Montana and we will get you fixed up with all the necessary gear. Lately a lot of planer boards have left the building along with Rapalas and other plugs. This is one of the most fun times of the year because the spring walleye bite is one and it does not last long. There feeding habits become much more aggressive than normal which of course makes them an easier target. HOLTER LAKE: From the dam down to the Gates is a fly fisherman’s dream. Nice sized perch have been coming out of the lake jigging…but no limits that I have herd of. Seems anglers have to search for a limit of walleye and perch and at times still are not getting a limit. A limit of trout should not be a difficult matter at hand though. I would speculate that this month will get a lot better as water temperatures warms and walleye get more aggressive because of the spawn. Keep plugging away and see what happens. REGULATING RESERVOIR: Apex trolling rig or a Kwikfish lure is great set ups to use while trolling for Kokanee. These plugs have a good intense wobble to them that seems to attract fish. A good fish finder is a very handy piece of equipment to have because Kokanee are seemingly never in the same spot.

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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16 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

www.Markslakemaps.com

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ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

JUNE 2010

mreller@mt.net

Box 949, Helena, MT 59624

Western Montana Fishing Report (continued from page 14) from shore can use a standard worm and marshmallow combo or power bait and do well. Trollers should use small sets of cowbells or lake trolls followed by a wedding ring, cripplure or needle fish. Fly fishers can catch good numbers of fish in June on leech, scud and damsel nymph patterns early in the month with adult damsels showing up later in the month. Callibaetis and midges can provide some top water action as well. The pike fishing at Salmon and Seeley has been slow this spring so far. There has been the occasional story of a nice fish being caught but for the most part it’s been hammer handles. Run off hasn’t been as huge a factor to the quality of fishing as it has in years past. There shouldn’t be near as much color and debris at the inlets to the lakes. Try throwing crank baits, spinner baits and jig and pigs to the edge of the weed beds and the drop-offs. Fly fishers should throw perch, kokanee or yellow colored patterns. Fishing for bass has been fair this spring so far. The mild spring is warming up the reservoirs quickly and the slow runoff hasn’t added a lot of color or debris. Spring flows from the rivers can still carry in a lot of debris to the reservoirs so beware of floating logs and such if you launch a boat. Ninepipes has been producing some nice largemouth on crankbaits and soft plastics during warmer days. Kicking

Horse has been fair with the reservoir being low but it should pick up with an influx of water from run-off. Noxon has been giving up some good fish this spring too. Reports have been coming in of bass being on their beds. Anglers are having the most success with soft plastics but crankbaits have been picking up a few nice fish too. If you’re into fishing for Chinook salmon the Clearwater River opened on the 24th of April and the Lochsa opened on the 23th of May. The large numbers of fish Idaho had been hoping for started showing up in the early part of May. The fishing has been more consistent around the Lewiston area but the fish have spread through the system fast and there should be decent numbers of fish in the Lochsa when this article comes out. Back trolling plugs seems to be the most productive method on the main river but drifting roe, bobber and jig and casting spinners can catch Chinook too. If you head to the Lochsa try casting flying C’s, Pixee spoons, large Vibrax spinners and KO Wobblers. They are the popular lures in the fast current of this river. Check the Idaho Fish and Game web site for regulations and updates on the season as I’m sure they will change. There is no shortage of options in June. With all the lakes and rivers within a short drive there’s no excuse to miss out. Be safe on the water and I’ll see you out there. TOM STEINBRENNER FROM MOUNTAIN STATES COLLISION WITH A BEAUTIFUL SPRING KING CAUGHT ON THE CLEARWATER RIVER NEAR KAMIAH IDAHO

A DAY OF GREAT FISHING WITH TRAVIS DEBOER PRODUCED SEVERAL STEELHEAD ON THE GRANDE RONDE RIVER IN SE WASHINGTON FOR RICK AND RICKY HAGGERTY IN APRIL. TRAVIS IS THE OWNER OF GUERILLA GUIDE SERVICE AND DOES A FANTASTIC JOB.

NWTF Montana To Invest $30,000 In Projects In 2010 (continued from page 7) -$2,500 to support ongoing prescribed fire efforts on the Ashland Ranger District of the USFS – Custer National Forest near Ashland, Mont. Prescribed fires help reduce fuel loads and the risk of large-scale wildfires while improving timber stands for wildlife. The state chapter has provided financial support for conducting prescribed fires on the Custer National Forest for the last six years. Project Partners: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, USFS and private landowners -$2,500 to assist the BLM – Lewistown Field Office with ongoing prescribed fire efforts on BLM lands in the Tin Can Hill area north of Winnett, Mont. Project Partners: BLM and private landowners -$2,500 to protect Yellowstone River riparian areas from Laurel to Sidney, Mont., through a North American Wetland Conservation Act grant being proposed by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Project goals include permanently protecting 500 to 1,500 acres through purchasing lands in fee title or through establishing conservation easements that include a public access component. Project partners include: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society and private landowners

Camping Regulations Change At Stillwater Fishing Access Sites MFWP

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amping rules at three fishing access sites managed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in the Stillwater River drainage will change for the 2010 season. Overnight camping at Fireman’s Point fishing access site will not be allowed this summer. The site is heavily used as a take-out point for whitewater rafters, kayakers, fishermen and float-tour companies. Because of the small size of the site, one or two camps can congest traffic and limit parking for other users. At two fishing access sites, FWP will charge fees this summer where camping was free during previous years. FWP will collect nightly fees at its Whitebird and Castlerock fishing access sites. Fees are $7 per might for campers with a current Montana fishing license or $12 for those without. Fees charged for camping will help cover the cost of maintenance. Rules will remain the same this summer at all other Stillwater drainage fishing access sites. Free camping is still available at the Itchkepe, Swinging Bridge, Cliff Swallow, Moraine, Buffalo Jump and Rosebud Isle fishing access sites.


JUNE 2010

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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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18 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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Pre-season Deer Scouting Tips Fall’s hunting success begins with summer scouting BY ANDREW MCKEAN

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DAYNA LOGLE PRONGHORN ANTELOPE 83-0/8 B&C COUNTY IN: MEAGHER COUNTY, MT. 2006

PRE-SEASON SCOUTING WILL INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF FINDING AN EXCEPTIONAL BUCK THIS FALL.

e all pledge to invest more time in the field prior to opening day of the fall’s hunting seasons, but how many of us actually put in the hours and miles to scout good habitat, find specific animals and work on accessing land? Put another way, it’s a rite of seasonal passage to get nervous on the eve of opening day, but if you spend some time this summer scouting, your anxiety won’t be because you’re ill prepared for the hunting season. Unfortunately, precious few of us achieve the pre-season scouting goals we set for ourselves. So keeping in mind that our time is precious, our resources are stressed and we have plenty of other obligations to attend to, here are some time-saving scouting tips to make this fall your best hunting season ever:

not only to identify boundaries and landmarks but also to spot natural features — pinch points, funnels, hidden patches of cover, food sources and water — that may not be visible from the roads. Some of the best of these online mapping services include mytopo.com, googlemaps.com and TerraServer (terraserver.usgs.gov). Most of these maps are customizable, meaning you can add your own names, boundaries and other overlays, plus you can center the map on whatever property you wish.

·Consider trail cameras – Scouting for elk and mule deer is a landscape-scale endeavor. You are better off hiking and glassing for pre-season distributions. Whitetails are a different matter. Because they sleep, feed and frolic in a relatively concentrated area – especially now ·Verify hunting district boundaries – Much before hunting pressure redistributes them of Montana’s big-game hunting – whitetails can be scouted remotely. The regulations are as tradition bound as rest of the country knows the value of Catholic liturgy. But change does take trail cameras to pattern whitetails and place, and it can take the unprepared by identify remarkable bucks. Montana law surprise. Check the boundary description requires trail cams to be taken down prior of your favorite hunting district. to hunting seasons, but you can get a good idea of deer movements this month ·Order maps – I’m a sucker for BLM’s by putting a remote camera on a game land-ownership maps, which detail public trail or edge of a favorite field. land, both state or federal, plus have accurate roads and GPS-friendly survey ·Invest in optics – You can’t hunt what points. For your favorite areas, obtain you can’t see, and you can sharpen your the latest versions of these maps, which vision with good binoculars and spotting you can buy online by visiting the BLM’s scopes. The very best optics will set you Montana State Office (www.blm.gov/mt/) back a significant amount of money, but web site. Also get updated Forest Service if you’re in the market to upgrade your maps that include the most recent travel glass, you can buy mid-priced binos and plans for the jurisdiction. There’s nothing scopes for about the half the price of a worse than hiking all day to a high pass new rifle. And you’ll be amazed at how only to find that everyone else drove up much more effectively you can scout, there. especially at first and last light, with optics that are engineered to gather light and cut ·Consider aerial photos – These days it’s glare. Check out Outdoor Life magazine’s a cinch to get a very good aerial photo of comprehensive roundup of new optics in almost any land in the country. It’s the June/July issue or see the results of the especially useful for your hunting area, optics test online at outdoorlife.com.


JUNE 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

Hunting Convictions Cost Landowners $50,000 MFWP Members of a Minnesota from Mike Lee of Malta to use video surveilthe sale of the outfitting business family that owns property in southern lance of suspected baiting stations, which associated with their ranch property; Phillips County have agreed to pay $50,000 in restitution and fines for illegal baiting of big-game animals, hunting without licenses and/or permits, outfitting and other wildlife-related crimes. Albert “Will” Carlson, 67, owner of the Blue Ridge Ranch in the Larb Hills area south of Malta, and son Todd Anthony Carlson, 41, of the Minneapolis suburb of Inver Grove Heights, recently pleaded guilty to multiple misdemeanor charges in Phillips County Justice Court. In total, the Carlson family was ordered to pay a total of $42,615 in restitution to the state of Montana and $7,385 in fines. Albert “Will” Carlson and Todd Carlson will forfeit their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for three years in Montana and states involved in the wildlife violator compact. Another son, Troy Albert Carlson, 45, and Sandra Pearl Carlson, 49, also of Inver Grove Heights, will not be allowed to hunt in Montana for three years. In addition, the family: ·cannot accompany other hunters in the field during the period of their privilege revocations and/or suspensions; · forfeited any future right to work as licensed outfitters or guides in Montana; ·forfeited any right to benefit financially

·forfeited seized property, including a full-size body mount of a bighorn sheep and a trophy class, shoulder-mount bull elk. In the fall of 2008, Dirk Paulsen, a Malta based field warden with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), began investigating complaints of the Carlsons allegedly leading illegal elk hunts at baited sites within the ranch, which borders the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Burnt Lodge Wilderness Study Area. Albert “Will” Carlson, who is not a legal resident of Montana, had arranged for a hunting outfitter to become his license sponsor, as well as his employer. The Carlsons then became licensed guides -- as well as clients -- under the outfitter. This business arrangement opened the door for the ranch to have a steady supply of guaranteed, outfitter-sponsored hunting licenses that were then made available to Carlson family friends and business associates. In all, this resulted in about 40 out-of-state clients a year obtaining the licenses, as well as exclusive rights to hunt the Blue Ridge Ranch for trophy bull elk. A search warrant from the Montana 12th Judicial District Court allowed Paulsen and fellow FWP Warden

were strategically placed near elevated hunting stands on the ranch. The illegal baiting led to an artificial concentration of game animals near the hunters. Further investigation revealed a variety of criminal violations, including the hunting of big-game animals without valid licenses and other outfitting-related infractions. Additional illegal luring, baiting and feeding of elk were documented through video surveillance. Last October, other District Court search warrants were served on the Carlsons and their outfitter by wardens from FWP Regions 4, 6, and 7, as well as officers from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office. Information and evidence collected during the search led to dozens of other nonresident suspects in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Evidence seized during the search included oats, salt blocks, trail cameras containing images of the hunters with illegally harvested game animals, outfitter records and licenses, among other items. Misdemeanor criminal citations were issued to Albert “Will” Carlson and Todd Carlson for the illegal use of radios

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for hunting; the use of trail cameras for illegally tracking big game during the hunting season; hunting of game animals with the use of bait; feeding game animals; and soliciting the hunting of game animals with the use of bait, among other outfitting-related charges. Earlier this year, Montana wardens went to Minnesota and Wisconsin and conducted nearly 50 interviews with hunters who were suspected of illegally killing or illegally possessing elk that had been taken from the ranch. The Montana wardens were assisted by officers from Minnesota and Wisconsin’s state wildlife agencies. Paulsen said charges are still pending against 11 out-of-state residents and the outfitter. During the investigation, an illegal full-body bighorn sheep mount was also discovered in the Blue Ridge Ranch’s hunting lodge. An interview with a taxidermist in Minnesota led to him admitting that he’d prepared the mount for the Carlson family after the 2008 season, even though the taxidermist knew the animal was unlawfully possessed. The Blue Ridge Ranch cases were prosecuted by Steve Gannon of the Chouteau County Attorney’s Office and Kathleen Jenks of the Montana Attorney General’s Office.


20 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

Elk Foundation Opposes Managing Wildlife By Initiative

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FWP Makes Decision On Pair-A-Dice MFWP Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (FWP), Region 1, has completed an environmental assessment (EA) for the development of the Pair-A-Dice Fishing Access Site (FAS) along the Clark Fork River in Sanders County near Paradise, Montana, to improve public access to this stretch of river. The proposed project includes site signage, improvements to the access road, boundary fencing, a concrete vault latrine, a designated parking area for 15-20 vehicles, and a concrete boat ramp. The draft EA was out for a 30-day public review through May 7, 2010. Seven comments were received, all in favor of the project. FWP will proceed with the project with noted design changes as set forth in the decision notice. There were no changes to the draft EA; therefore, the draft becomes the final EA. A 30-day appeal period will be observed prior to any action being taken.

JUNE 2010

Buy A Ticket For A Chance To Win One Of 20 Guns To Be Raffled Supports the Helena Wresting Club

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uy raffle tickets at $20.00 each for a chance to win one of 20 guns to be raffled by the Helena Wrestling Club. The more you buy, the better your chances. Only 2,000 tickets will be sold! Guns include a selection of Rimfire rifles, Centerfire rifles, and Shotguns. Total value of the guns to be raffled is $14,500. Must be 18 years old and able to pass a federal firearms background check to take possession of any of the firearms. All Federal Firearms laws and regulations apply. Firearms left unclaimed become the property of the Helena Wrestling Club after 30 days. For tickets contact Dave at Helena Wholesale Sports, 406-457-7200 or purchase at the Helena Wholesale Sports at the gun counter.

Montana initiative, I-161, is pitting hunter against hunter in a process that would take certain aspects of wildlife management out of the hands of professionals. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation believes topics such as hunting access, services and costs are better left to conservation professionals, sportsmen and landowners. “Initiatives are always a slippery slope and are especially concerning when it comes to new wildlife management policies,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. Allen points out that Montana has an existing process for addressing such issues, explaining, “Montana’s Private Land/Public Wildlife Council was developed in the early 1990’s to deal with exactly such issues as those raised in I-161. It was developed to allow all interested parties to have a seat at the table. We need to use this process.” There are valid concerns on both sides of I-161, but without even looking at the specifics, anyone who understands the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation will see a problem with the \

concept of initiatives to manage wildlife or hunting, says Allen. “Besides, at the end of the debate, it is the landowner who will decide how his or her land is used, not the hunter or the outfitter. What is proposed in I-161 is likely to increase private leasing of lands in an unregulated manner, and that will go against both sides in this debate,” he added. “The language of an initiative is written to serve one side more than the other, but a public vote is absolute, with no opportunity to find the best solutions that usually lie somewhere in the middle. The potential for unintended consequences here is significant,” said Allen. “RMEF strongly supports more hunter access, better hunting fees and landowner rights. However, the initiative process risks creating bigger issues than exist now. Neither the hunter nor the outfitter is the boogeyman and it is disappointing to see the two sides opposing one another.” Allen reiterated that RMEF would like to see the two sides resolve differences without the initiative process, and that RMEF would gladly play a role toward that end goal.

Mule Deer Foundation Opposes Initiative 160 In Montana MULE DEER FOUNDATION

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he Mule Deer Foundation has joined with other conservation groups in opposing Montana’s Trap-Free Public Lands Initiative 160. The Mule Deer Foundation believes that scientifically sound and sustainable management of wildlife populations is critical to maintaining healthy ecosystems in Montana. Properly regulated trapping provides an effective method for managing furbearers at healthy population levels and in balance with their available prey base. Regulated trapping helps control damage to agricultural interests and reduces the spread of disease among wildlife populations and humans. Miles Moretti, MDF president and CEO, said “MDF is opposed to ballot initiatives to manage wildlife. Montana already has a system in place, established by the Legislature and the

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Commission, to regulate trapping. I-160 would remove a very important tool from the wildlife management tool box, and in the long run it would result in a decrease in the number and health of several wildlife species which live in Montana.” MDF believes if I-160 passes it would have far reaching effects and negative impacts on the ability of Montana FWP to manage furbearers and other wildlife populations. The Mule Deer Foundation has local chapters throughout Montana and is deeply concerned how I-160 could impact mule deer populations in Montana if passed. The Mule Deer Foundation supports the efforts of Montanans for Effective Wildlife Management to defeat I-160.


ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 21

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22 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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JUNE 2010

TRAVELER’S CORNER: Steering Box Stabilizer Designed for Late-Model Dodge Trucks

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JUNE 2010

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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 23

Economic Impact Report Of The Firearms Industry NSSF Key Points: Taxes

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t a Capitol Hill breakfast briefing the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, released a newly commissioned report detailing the significant economic impact the firearms and ammunition industry has on the nation’s and each state’s economy. Key Points: Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact 2008 Jobs: 166,200 Wages:$6,361,205,400

2009 183,424 $8,210,881,000

Econ Impact: 2008 - $19,199,634,700 2009 - $27,846,304,300 “During difficult economic times and high unemployment rates nationally, our industry actually grew and created 16,800 new, well-paying jobs,” said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. “Our industry is proud to be one of the bright spots in this economy.”

Federal Taxes: 2008 - $1,503,740,471 2009 - $2,035,154,440 State Taxes: 2008 - $1,299,088,678 2009 - $1,909,417,793 Excise Taxes: 2008 - $327,070,867 2009 - $450,177,780 The economic growth America’s firearms and ammunition industry experienced last year was driven by an unprecedented number of Americans choosing to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms and purchase a firearm and ammunition. This coincided with the continued decline in accidental firearm-related deaths (more than a 60 percent decrease in the last 20 years) and a continued drop in crime rates nationally. Also cited in the economic impact report were the significant taxes paid by industry member companies to federal and state governments and the Pittman-Robertson excise tax the industry pays on the products it sells – this tax is the major source of wildlife conservation funding in America. “In 2009 our industry increased its contribution to wildlife conservation by over 37.6 percent, which translates into sportsmen contributing more than $7.5 million dollars daily to conservation efforts,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “Ours is an industry with a storied past, steeped in tradition and a rich heritage,” continued Keane. “We were there at the beginning of America’s economic expansion and remain a vital and important American industry. We look forward to speaking with members of Congress today about important legislative and regulatory issues that will allow our industry members to continue to grow their businesses and create new jobs in their communities.”

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for hearing protection and enhancement, Pro Ears can’t be beat.” Gil went on to explain that he just received a note from one of his students, Ears Stalker Gold APG Michael Coakley Pro Camo Design which said “Dear Gil and Vickie, the Pro Ears muffs work fantastic. I was wearing them on station 12. I could hear the machine throw the clay before I could see the target fly above the levee. It really gives you an advantage!” Pro Ears-Hear the Difference at www.pro-ears.com


24 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

JUNE 2010

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FWP Requesting Comments On A Variety Of Topics MFWP species of concern. Montana Fish, Wildlife monitoring Species to be monitored will likely be & Parks (FWP) is requesting public comment on: proposed 2010 wolf seasons and quota alternatives; a proposed 2010 nongame check off work plan; a proposed 2010 HB 454 hunting access agreement and proposed 2010 fall upland game bird limits. The above were tentatively adopted by the FWP Commission at its May 13 meeting in Helena. The proposed wolf season includes three different quota alternatives; 153, 186, 216. Those quotas would be divided into 14 wolf management units (WMUs) with two sub-quota areas proposed. Also proposed is an archery season for all WMUs beginning September 4, 2010 that would run until 20% of the WMU quota or sub-quotas are met but ending no later than October 17, 2010. Nongame check off efforts proposed for fiscal year 2011 include $20,000 to prioritize habitat for conservation including identifying the most critical habitat needs for nongame or endangered species and identifying and monitoring threats to these critical habitats. An additional $20,000 is proposed for inventorying and

bald eagles, mountain plovers, burrowing owls and common loons. The proposed HB 454 hunting access agreement, if adopted, would provide one either-sex elk permit to a landowner or designee in HD 411 in exchange for four either-sex elk permits to be drawn from the list of unsuccessful applicants for HD 411 either-sex elk permits. The proposed 2010 fall upland game bird limits would be similar to 2009 limits. A change of note is a proposal to reduce the fall Region 7 limit from two to one either sex turkey. To submit comments electronically individuals may do so online by going to fwp.mt.gov click on For Hunters . Written comments can be sent to: FWP Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment, PO Box 200701, Helena MT. 59601-0701. The deadline for public comment is 5 p.m., Monday, June 14, 2010. Final adoptions are scheduled to take place at the July 8, 2010 FWP Commission meeting in Helena.

PUBLIC COMMENT ON WOLF QUOTAS DEADLINE IS MONDAY JUNE 14

NSSF To Award Up To $500,000 To Shooting Ranges NSSF

Take The Chance You’ll Be A Winner— Buy A Supertag MFWP

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o help public and private shooting facilities jump start their recruitment and retention efforts, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) will be awarding up to $500,000 in grants this year to ranges around the country. This is the third year that NSSF has distributed funding to qualifying ranges through its Range Partnership Grant Program. “These grants will help shooting range managers create new strategies to drive traffic to their facilities and, in turn, benefit the future of our sports,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president. “Research tells us that millions of Americans would like to try shooting, and the place to get started is at one of the thousands of ranges across the country.” The projects funded by the grants will also serve as pilot programs, which, if successful, can be used by other facilities. “The best way to increase participation is to enhance and promote shooting opportunities at the local level,” said Melissa Schilling, NSSF recruitment and retention manager. “We’re looking for unique proposals that move the needle on recruiting new shooters, attracting lapsed shooters back to the range and increasing opportunities for active shooters.” Shooting ranges interested in applying for a grant can learn more about NSSF’s Range Partnership Grant Program at http://nssf.org/shooting/grants.

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ight lucky SuperTag hunters will win the chance to hunt a moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer, antelope, mountain lion and bison in any legal district open for that species. Take the chance you’ll be one of this year’s winners by purchasing a $5 SuperTag chance. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds hunters that an unlimited number of $5 SuperTag chances are available for fall 2010 hunts. The deadline to purchase SuperTags for the moose, sheep and goat hunts is July 1. SuperTag chances on the deer, elk, antelope, bison and mountain lion hunts must be purchased by July 29. SuperTag lottery proceeds go to enhance hunting access and boost FWP enforcement efforts. To purchase a SuperTag, a 2010 conservation license is needed. SuperTags are available at all FWP offices, license providers, or online at fwp.mt.gov using FWP’s online licensing service.


JUNE 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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Hunting And Conservation News Buy, Sell & Consignment •Guns (new & used) •Optics •Ammunition •Knives •Reloading supplies •Outdoor equipment

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ontana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will host public open house meetings to discuss 2010 wolf hunting season proposals on June 2 beginning at 7 p.m. The FWP Commission recently approved quota alternatives of 153, 186 or 216 wolves in the proposed 14 different wolf management units. Sub-quota areas are also being considered to limit harvest during early season backcountry hunts and in an area directly north of Yellowstone National Park. Also proposed this year is a wolf archery season for all WMUs that would open Sept. 4 and run through Oct. 17, the same time as Montana’s deer, elk, lion, and black bear archery seasons. Hunting would close when quotas are met, or by Dec. 31. The meeting will be held at the following locations on June 2 from 7-9 p.m.: •Billings—FWP Headquarters; 2300 Lake Elmo Dr. •Bozeman—Holiday Inn; 5 E. Baxter Lane •Glasgow—Valley County Court House; 501 Court Square •Great Falls—FWP Headquarters; 4600 Giant Springs Rd. •Kalispell—FWP Headquarters; 490 N. Meridian Rd. •Miles City—FWP Headquarters; 352 I-94 Business Loop •Missoula—Double Tree Hotel Missoula Edgewater; 100 Madison Public comment on the 2010 wolf season proposals are due by 5 p.m. on June 14. Send comments via FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov . Click “For Hunters.”

20 acres for $39,900. 5 parcels to choose from. Owner terms with $3,500 down. Bearmouth area only 35 minutes East of Missoula. 20 acres with creek frontage $49,500. Located in the mountains 15 miles from power or paved road. Creek flows through the property. Many good building sites. Cabin on 20 acres $52,500. Mostly level and wooded terrain in the mountains with no services. Basic cabin for a great get-away price. Terms with $10-12,000 down. 20 acres Galen, Mt. $52,500. Level with power and great access. 4.5 miles West of the Galen exit. Owner terms. ELK SEEMS TO ROAM RIGHT THROUGH HERE! Mobile home on 20 acres $55,000. No power or paved road for 8 miles. Located in the mountains. Great cabin get-away or rough it off grid. Owner terms with about $10,000 down.

FWP Sets Open House Slate For Wolf Season Proposals - June 2 MFWP

LAND & RECREATIONAL PROPERTY

River frontage, Drummond. Price Slashed to $39,500. 1.0 Level acre with Clark Fork River frontage. Low bank waterfront located just 35 minutes East of Missoula. Paved Rd. frontage, power and phone.

160 acres $145,000 Located approx. 40 miles East of Missoula and N.W. of Drummond. Extremely remote with great hunting. No neighbors! Borders BLM land, remote yet close to Missoula. Terms available. 160 acres Elk hunters paradise partial timber and partial meadow bordering a large ranch were the elk love to pass through. Located approx 1 hr from Missoula N. of Drummond in the Helmville valley. Power within a mile or so and 2 miles from paved road. $320,000 terms available.

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TWITE REALTY CORP. Montana e-mail: Lnd2sel@montana.com • wwwmontanarealestate4sale.com Sportsmen For Fish & Wildlife Montana Chapter Wildlife 2nd Annual 3-D Banquet June 19th Management Archery Shoot For Areas Open MFWP The Cure June 12 & 13 The Montana Chapter of the Montana Sportsmen For Fish & Wildlife is hosting a banquet, June 19th at the The Broadwater Rod And Gun The Beartooth WMA near Lumberjack Saloon in Lolo. Helena opened Friday, May 14 at midnight, Club and Black Ram Archery are hosting Over 20 Years As A Montana Real Estate Broker Specializing in Recreational Properties, Land Recreational Country Properties, Commercial & Rentals

Doors Open at 4:00 p.m. Silent Auction/Dinner at 6:00 p.m.

Key Note Speaker: SFW Founder Mr. Don Peay Masters of The Ceremony: Bill Merrill - MT SFW State President Casey Richardson - MT SFW Vice President Live auction at 7:00 p.m. Raffles with lots of guns, fishing equipment, optics, hunting & fishing trips, plus more. Dancing and revelry - 9:00 p.m. Music Provided By: Shane Clouse and Stomping Ground In Lolo, take Hwy 12, then Right on Graves Creek Rd. to the Lumberjack Saloon. For more information contact Casey Richardson at 552-6338.

and the WMA’s along the Rocky Mountain Front including the Sun River, Blackleaf and Ear Mountain WMAs opened Saturday, May 15 at noon. “The opening of the game ranges is an important rite of spring for many Montanans,” said Ron Aasheim. “There are some folks who look forward to antler hunting every year on opening day, especially at the Sun River WMA.” Aasheim said that crowding at game ranges and management of the spring openings was a topic of discussion at a recent MFWP’s Commission meeting. No action was taken, but two FWP Commissioners, Ron Moody and Willie Doll planned to visit the Sun River WMA on Saturday to observe the opening and gather information on potential ways of better managing the activity. For a listing of WMA’s and their locations visit the FWP website.

the 2nd Annual 3-D Archery Shoot For The Cure, June 12th and 13th. Shoot one or both days. Use the best score from either day for awards. Saturday night entertainment by Tara and Mike Conroy. Camping is available on site at Canyon Ferry Lake. Proceeds go to the Montana Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Directions: Drive East from Townsend on Highway 12, 2 miles to flashing light. Turn North on Highway 284, 10 miles to Gurnett Creek Road. Turn East on Gurnett Creek Road, and drive 6 miles to the shoot. Follow the signs. For more information contact Dave and Ann White at 406-209-7477 or Al Bodle or Mary Huth at 406-266-3659.


26 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

Welcome Walleye Fisherman Night Crawlers $1.90 Doz. Leaches $3.75 Doz. Lb. Prices Available with 1 Week Notice 2 LOCATIONS 615 Helena Ave. corner Last Chance Gulch & Helena Ave. 406.443.8084 OR ON YOUR WAY TO THE LAKE at 200 S. Montana Off Highway 12 East - East Helena 406.227.6519

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JUNE 2010

Pre And Post Spawn Walleyes In Montana Reservoirs BY NEAL COTE’ BITEMEFLIES.COM

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he Spawning Period begins the walleye year. In natural populations, success of the spawn affects fishing in future years. And walleye behavior in spring determines fishing patterns from ice-out until early summer. As the ice cover melts from the lakes and rivers and the water warms in spring, walleye begin to move out of deep winter habitats. Reproduction is the main motivation, and the fish migrate toward traditional spawning grounds. When water temperatures rise into the upper 30°F, walleyes leave their deep overwintering areas and move toward spawning sites. In lakes and reservoirs, they may migrate into tributaries while ice remains. In rivers, they spawn over rocky shoals or gravel bars, or migrate up tributaries to find suitable substrates and currents. In either case, this prespawn movement is called the walleye “run.” Movement can be over a short distance in small lakes and reservoirs, or it can be a lengthy ordeal in rivers like the Missouri. Very good walleye fishing can be found in most waters during the pre-spawn period as fish congregate near spawning sites or below barrier structures that halt their movement. What are ideal conditions? Conditions that ignite the spawning activity are water temperature, rock or rubble shorelines, and in some cases, the length of daylight. While this last item is an arguable point, I know for a fact that fall feeding patterns are triggered by the day light hours, an item for a future article. The reason I believe this is a factor is the fact that on late ice-out years, the walleyes will spawn under the ice. Water temperature is a known factor, for starting the spawning activity and the water temperature is also very important for maximum reproduction. A spawning temperature of forty degrees Fahrenheit will start the spawning action and fifty-two degrees is the top end of spawning temperature. Rock and rubble are important structure for a successful hatch. The eggs must have something uneven to fall into to be protected from small predators like yellow perch, which will feed on the eggs. To provide ideal spawning conditions the water temperature should warm slowly and constantly with no severe temperature swings or wave action during the

gestation and hatching period. The north and east shorelines are usually the areas where the majority of the walleyes spawn. While the fish do not know east from west or north from south, what makes these shore lines most desirable is the fact that the sun penetrates the north and east shore lines with the hottest sun of the day. Therefore, the water is the warmest close to shore and in some cases, the ice can be ten feet from shore with the lake covered with ice, yet the walleyes will spawn. Walleye spawn when the water temperature ranges from 42 degrees to 54 degrees F. Fishing is invariably poor during this period. The best you can hope for is some male fish that frequent the actual spawning sites. This is usually near rip-rap armoring, along the face of a dam or channel structure, shoreline revetments, natural stone reefs, gravel bars, rubble piles, and on occasion over flooded aquatic vegetation. After spawning is completed, walleye disperse from the breeding grounds. Some of the males remain at the spawning site, probably anticipating late ripening of females. Fishing in the post-spawn is difficult because of this dispersal and the fact that there is physiological recuperation from the rigors of spawning. This resting period lasts from one to three weeks and feeding intensity is low. From 50,000 to over 600,000 eggs are produced by a fish in the 12-pound class. Eggs hatch in 12 to 18 days at usual post spawn water temperatures if environmental conditions are favorable. Studies of walleye recruitment (annual production of young fish) often show 10- to 50-fold annual fluctuations. Strong year classes can support a walleye fishery for several years, but when several weak year classes follow, catch rates dip dramatically once older fish are harvested or die of natural causes. (continued next page)


JUNE 2010

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• 27

The Clear Choice Choi ce

Thor Sichveland - Broker, Owner of Clearwater Montana Properties, Inc. “I specialize in premium recreation/ranch properties and my sales have topped 28 million in the last 3 years. Looking for your dream property? I will find it for you. Call me.” Factors that affect hatching success and survival of young walleyes include water quality, river flows, wave action, turbulence, siltation, spring water temperatures, availability of zooplankton and small fish to feed young walleyes, abundance of predators on young walleyes (including cannibalism), and competition for food. Studies suggest that the number of adult spawners has little effect on success of a year class compared to the many environmental factors. Keep in mind that you must have an exact knowledge of the spring weather patterns so when you arrive at the lake you wish to fish, you know what stage the spring spawn pattern is at. If you hit a late spring and the fish are still spawning or in the rest stage, you can still catch fish, but you will work harder for fewer fish. NOW IS THE TIME! Some of the finest walleye fishing takes place in late spring and early summer, once spawning is completed and the fish begin to search for food. Forage fish are not abundant in this period and all predators are moving extensively, a phenomenon, which makes it much easier to find the more aggressive fish. Fishing patterns for walleye are not well defined in early summer. Some fish are caught in deep water by still- or drift-fishing, while others are caught in the shallow waters with fast retrieved crank-baits. Trolling with planer boards is an ideal method for shallow water flats like the south end of Canyon Ferry. I am a big fan of planer boards for walleyes, but it wasn’t always this way. My first time using planer boards was on Fort Peck and in some serious rough seas! I can recall it being a real mess, but I have overcome that bad experience and I am very confident in planer boards. The real benefit of the planer board is that it gets the bait away from the boat. Often when trolling, we drive over the fish, and the boat pushes the fish off to the side where the boards and baits will be going over the top. How far out do we run the boards? If the water is clear and shallow, often times we’ll put them out 60-80 feet. Just think of the benefit. Normally, I can run two poles out the side

of my boat and cover a path through the water column about 30 feet. Now, I can add two planer boards to those same lines and cover a path 75 feet wide. This definitely puts you in contact with more fish, simply because you will be covering more of the water column. RIGGING (See illustration to the left) In-line planers clamp onto line with one or more release clips. Run your lure behind the boat at a slow trolling speed until it reaches the desired distance, then engage the reel. If you try this later in the year, add a snapweight with a pinch-on clip 50 feet ahead of the lure for fishing deeper than the lure can run on its own. Next, clamp the planer to the line, selecting a left or right model, depending on which side of the boat you want to run your line. Lower the planer into the water with the rod and disengage the reel. A slow trolling speed creates enough drag to pull line off the reel and angle the planer to the side of the boat. Once it reaches the desired distance, engage the reel and set the rod in a rod holder. Speed can make a huge difference, try trolling speeds from 1.5 to as fast as 3 miles an hour. If the bite stalls on one speed, keep experimenting until you find the speed the fish want. PRESENTATION Strikes aren’t always obvious, so watch your boards carefully. Sometimes the planer bobs and weaves, dropping back when a big fish hits your lure. Other times, the board barely lags or rocks as a hooked fish swims along with the boat. When a fish hits, shift the engine into neutral. Take the rod out of the holder and begin slowly reeling in. Don’t pump the rod. Your drag should be set light enough to slip under fairly light tension. Continue reeling until you can reach the board, then pop it off the line, and then land the fish. Now all you have to do is get geared up with a few planner boards, some of your favorite Rapalas and hit the water! Good Luck out there!

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JUNE 2010

Rocky Mountain States Coyote Activity Increases In Spring The Colorado Division of Wildlife is asking people to take precautions when living or recreating in coyote country. From coyote attacks on pets to aggressive coyotes approaching people, the Division is receiving increasing calls about coyote activity. “Spring is denning season for coyotes and with new pups in the dens, coyotes will behave more aggressively,” explained John Broderick, Terrestrial Program Manager for the Division of Wildlife. “When you put defensive coyotes trying to feed their young into the mix with lots of people heading outdoors to enjoy the warming weather, you get the right mix for potential problems.” The DOW wants to caution people about encounters with coyotes. These are not pets. They are wild animals that are predators, and they should be treated with caution and respect. The coyote (Canis latrans) is a member of the dog family. It resembles a small German shepherd with the exception of the long snout and bushy, black-tipped tail. Coyotes are extremely adaptable and resourceful, and can survive on whatever food is available. They prey on rabbits, mice, birds and other small animals, as well as young deer and sheep. In urban areas, coyotes have attacked people’s small pets - cats and dogs included – particularly when pets are allowed to roam free or left out in yards overnight. A typical coyote weighs about 30 lbs. Coyote home ranges can include urban areas such as the downtown Denver corridor. From feeding on pets in

the urban environment to more natural prey in canyon, sage and forest lands, coyotes are common around the state. Many urban coyote conflicts often center on feeding issues. When people feed wildlife, it doesn’t take long to teach a wild animal to associate people with food, but it’s very difficult to convince a habituated coyote to return to wild ways. Coyotes that appear friendly may be mimicking behavior that has been rewarded with food in the past: Remember that all wildlife is unpredictable. Do not get close or encourage interaction with wild animals. When it becomes apparent that no food is forthcoming, the coyote’s behavior can change abruptly. People with pets need to keep them on a leash when walking them. While at home, pets should not be allowed to roam freely. Even pets in enclosed yards run the risk of predation, especially at night. People should also feed their pets inside in an effort to keep pet food from attracting coyotes and other wildlife. Encounters with aggressive coyotes should be reported to the nearest Colorado Division of Wildlife office. For more information, get a copy of “Living with Wildlife in Coyote Country” at your local Division of Wildlife office or on the web at http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/ LivingWithWildlife/Mammals/CoyoteCountry.htm. An educational video entitled “Being Coyote Wise” is also available for viewing on the Division of Wildlife website: http://wildlife.state.co.us/NewsMedia/Videos/BeingCoyoteWisevideo.htm.

Found Camera Leads To Wildlife Violation Convictions A trail camera left at an illegal

bear bait in Oregon in 2008 has led to the conviction of a former Idaho resident on wildlife related violations that occurred in Idaho. On April 12, 2010, Aaron Loosli, formerly of Rexburg and now of La Pine, Ore., was sentenced in Idaho’s Madison County for unlawful possession of a bull moose in October of 2004. Information stored on the camera implicated a number of other individuals in illegal wildlife activities both in Oregon and Idaho. A joint investigation between Oregon and Idaho wildlife enforcement officers resulted not only in this conviction, but a variety of other charges. The investigation resulted in the confiscation of numerous illegally taken trophy animals. Officers involved in the investigation said this was not about subsistence poaching to feed a family, but lust for trophy quality animals. While investigators were able to charge Loosli with nearly 30 violations as the result of their investigation, legal maneuverings resulted in only the bull moose charge moving entirely through the court

system. Loosli’s sentence issued April 12 included: Nine-year revocation of hunting privileges. -One-year of determinant, two years indeterminate jail time (suspended). -$10,000 civil penalty to be paid to the State of Idaho at $200 a month. -$500 in fines plus $181 in court costs. -150 hours of community service. -30 days in jail served in either Idaho or -Oregon. Shall not carry any weapons during probation. Daniel Parker of Bend, Ore., was also found guilty for his role in the illegal killing of this same bull moose. He received a similar sentence. Because of the interstate Wildlife Violator Compact both individuals will lose the privilege to hunt in the participating 33 states for the next nine years. “This case demonstrates the distance that wildlife criminals will cover, as well as the staggering number of animals that they can illegally kill over the course of a few years,” Idaho Fish and Game Regional Investigator Robert Howe said.

Wolf Control Action Planned In Lolo Zone I

daho Fish and Game has authorized four backcountry outfitters to help reduce wolf numbers in parts of the Lolo wolf management zone. Outfitters and their licensed guides already in the backcountry on spring black bear hunts will work with Fish and Game in a predator control action to reduce wolf numbers. The four outfitters are authorized to kill up to five wolves each in their operating area by the end of the spring bear season June 30. The agency control action is not open to hunters. The effort is in response to concerns that wolf numbers are preventing recovery of elk herds in the Lolo zone from a long

decline. Fish and Game research has shown that predators have kept the Lolo herds in a downward trend. Fish and Game will evaluate the effectiveness of the control action as part of its ongoing Lolo elk study. The action is in accordance with Fish and Game’s wolf management plan and the predator management plan for the Lolo zone, which includes black bears, mountain lions and wolves. The predator management plan is on the Fish and Game Website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/plans/loloSelwayPredPlan.pdf. The wolf management plan is at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves/manage/PopManagePlan.pdf.


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Rocky Mountain States Increased Opportunity For Mule Deer Hunters The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is recommending an increase in mule deer tags for hunters for the 2010 hunting season. This comes after an increase of Nevada’s mule deer herd with a 2010 population estimate of approximately 107,000 deer, which ended a three year decline in the statewide population estimate of mule deer. “NDOW is recommending that Hunt 1331 — a resident, any-legal-weapon, antlered mule deer hunt — be increased from 8,526 tags in 2009 to 9,451 tags this year,” says Larry Gilbertson, Game Division Chief for NDOW. “This is a recommended increase of 925 tags.” According to Gilbertson, this is in response to increased fawn recruitment that resulted in an increase in many of Nevada’s deer herds. Fawn recruitment is the number of fawns that survive their first winter, at which time they are considered a permanent part of the herd. The fawn recruitment for the 2009/2010 winter was 34 fawns per 100 does, up from the previous year’s 27 fawns per 100 does, and just below the long-term statewide average of 35 fawns per 100 does. “The deer went into the winter in good body condition due to above average precipitation and better range conditions,” explained Gilbertson. “Combine that with relatively average winter conditions in many areas and the stage was set for increased recruitment due to fawn survival.” The single largest increase occurred in Area 6 of Elko County, where ideal summer range conditions and a mild winter allowed for the addition of 800 animals, a 12% growth. 20 years of aggressive restoration efforts of crucial deer winter ranges in Area 6, combined with excellent spring precipitation, contributed to the best fawn recruitment in ten years. Of the remaining units, the mule deer populations increased in over 56% of its deer management units and were relatively stable in most of the rest of the state. The total result is a statewide net gain in Nevada’s mule deer population for 2010. The population growth is noteworthy following the harsh environmental

After a tip from a good friend, my 12 year old son and I hiked a couple miles into an area with few roads and no quads. Kayden spotted this buck from about 1/2 mile away. We watched this buck bed down at the base of some rocks and used the wind to sneak around behind him to about 20 Feet. He shot it in its bed with one shot from his .243. What an awesome experience to have the perfect hunt with your kid for his first buck, a buck of a lifetime. The buck was a 6 year old 5x5 with double eye guards. It was 32” wide 24” high and grosses somewhere in the 220 range. No 12 year old can truly appreciate the opportunity to harvest a buck like this, but as his Dad, I cherish the opportunity to create memories like this. TONY WASLEY, NDOW

conditions and population declines the three previous years. “When Governor Gibbons hired me,” said Ken Mayer, Director of NDOW, “he told me that my number one priority was bringing back Nevada’s mule deer herd. NDOW has continued an aggressive habitat restoration and improvement program, which with the help of increased moisture on the range, is starting to pay off.” Mayer also points out that Nevada ranks second in the nation in expenditures in predation management and since 2000, has spent several million dollars on predation management for the benefit of wildlife. “In 2010, we plan to spend approximately $403,164 for predator management,” explains Mayer, “most of it targeted to benefit our mule deer herds.” The 2010 statewide mule deer population estimate is approximately 6% below the 10-year statewide average of published mule deer population estimates from 2001 – 2010 of approximately 112,700 and 28% below the 35-year average of published mule deer population estimates from 1976 – 2010 of approximately 137,000 mule deer. Gilbertson does caution that while the trend is positive, it is dependent upon continued good range conditions and mild to moderate winters. However, he is optimistic that good body condition, low winter mortality, and mild winter conditions in most areas will help to contribute to increased fawn production later this spring.

“We realize that mule deer are our most numerous and most popular big game species,” says Mayer. “NDOW tries to seize every opportunity to provide protection and enhancement of Nevada’s mule deer herd.” Most of the rest of the species saw significant increases in tag quotas as well. The only species with declines are the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Hunt 9151, which saw a decrease due to the major disease event in the Ruby Mountains and East Humboldt’s, and the Mountain Goat Hunt 7151 due to a minor disease event in the same area. The quota for resident Hunt 9151 was reduced from 10 tags, in 2009, to 6 tags this year and may be reduced by two more tags depending on the State Board of Wildlife Commission action this coming weekend regarding hunt units 101 and 102. Hunt 7151 was reduced from 24 tags in 2009 to 17 tags this year, as some goats were found that succumbed to pneumonia and biologists estimate that 30% of that herd may have died. Antelope have fared well in much of Nevada, so biologists are recommending an increase in the Resident Antelope – Horns longer than the ears – Any Legal Weapon Hunt 2151 from 1638 tags in 2009 to 1818 tags this year. Likewise with elk, as 20 years of wildfires have changed much of eastern Nevada’s shrub landscape to grass lands. Resident Elk – Antlered – Any Legal Weapon Hunt 4151 saw a recommended tag increase of 37 tags from 2009’s 748 tags to a quota of 785 for this year. The Resident Elk – Antlerless – Any Legal Weapon Hunt 4181 also saw a significant increase as some of the herds approached or reached their population objectives in eastern Nevada. This year’s recommendation of 1,686 tags is 312 tags higher than last year’s 1,374 tags, a 22% increase. The Resident Nelson (Desert) Bighorn Sheep – Any Ram – Any Legal Weapon Hunt 3151 also saw an increase from 170 tags last year to a recommended 195 tags this year. The Resident California Bighorn Sheep- Any Ram – Any Legal Weapon Hunt 8151 saw a small increase to 45 tags recommended three more than last year. “All in all, this year should be a good year for hunters with increased opportunity,” says Gilbertson. “And with this year’s moderate winter and good spring moisture, range conditions should be good and the animals should be in good body condition with decent antler growth.”

Wildlife Board Approves Antlerless Big Game Hunting Changes

I

f they have a cow elk permit for the same area, all bull elk hunters, including rifle hunters—can take a cow elk during this fall’s bull elk hunt. That change was among the antlerless big game hunting changes members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved at their May 6 meeting in Salt Lake City. All of the changes the board approved—including permit numbers for individual units—will be available in the 2010 Utah Antlerless Guidebook. The guidebook are available at wildlife.utah. gov/guidebooks. Division of Wildlife Resources biologists have used several strategies to keep elk herds within population objectives outlined in Utah’s elk unit management plans. One of those strategies involves archery and muzzleloader bull elk hunters. If they have a cow elk permit for the same unit on which they’re hunting bulls, archery and muzzleloader elk hunters have been allowed to take a cow elk during the bull elk hunts. Now rifle bull elk hunters will have the same chance. “Allowing hunters to take a cow elk during the rifle bull elk hunts will be good for the state’s elk herds and the state’s rifle elk hunters,” says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR. “Doing so will help ensure enough cow elk are taken,” he says. “Rifle hunters have the highest success rate. “Also, allowing hunters to take a cow elk during the bull elk rifle hunts will reduce the number of hunters who hunt during the cow elk-only hunts later in the year,” he says. “That will reduce hunter crowding and reduce pressure on the elk while they’re on their winter ranges.”


30 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

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JUNE 2010

FIVE VALLEYS ARCHERY CLUB & MONTANA BOWHUNTERS ASSOCIATION

3rd Annual Montana State Bowhunters Championship JUNE 19 - 20, 2010

40 3-D Targets : 2 – 20 Target Courses FIVE VALLEYS ARCHERY CLUB BEAR SHOOT 2010

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80 3-D TARGETS: 40 each day. Four separate loops of 20 targets. Shoot two different loops of 20 targets each day. These two shoots are at the same location for a weekend full of archery fun. Primitive camping available on site. Contact: Paul Roush @ 406-544-2169 or FVAC@Live.com or visit www.fivevalleysarcheryclub.webs.com This will be the BIGGEST ARCHERY EVENT OF THE YEAR. Come have fun with friends, family and other Bowhunters. Two days of nothing but shooting your bow. Held at The Clearwater Junction, 35 miles East of Missoula on Hwy. 200. You don’t want to miss this event. You will be sorry.

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Summer Coyotes: A Cure For The Offseason Blues (continued from page 6) instincts of a female coyote. These same sounds will often lure other coyotes, duped by what they think is an easy opportunity to dine on what appears to be a domestic pup that has wandered into their area. A number of the electronic callers on the market today feature the sounds of immature animals, such as baby birds, rabbits, deer, rodents, and canines. Use these sounds as you attempt to make the most realistic presentation possible as you hunt predators in the summer months. The offspring of wild critters are not the only ones that get it from hungry coyotes in the spring and summer months. Ranchers and farmers see an increase in coyote sightings at this time of year as coyotes prowl a little closer to home in search of livestock young. Beef calves, sheep, cats, dogs, or other pets can quickly become prey in the summer months as coyotes take advantage of a plethora of “red-meat” opportunities. It’s for this reason that farmers and ranchers are more open to allowing hunters on their property at this time of year than any other. Work together with the farmers, as they can

not only put you in the right spot for success, but can keep you informed as to when and where coyotes are moving in and around their land. With coyotes hanging closer to the back-forty in the summer months, this can be the ideal place to start when setting up for warm weather coyotes. You’d be amazed at how many coyotes survive and thrive within eyesight and earshot of the back porch. Incorporating natural sounds in a natural environment that coyotes are making their home, such as farm fringes, can be a super tactic for a quick hunt when the temperatures heats up. In my opinion, fresh-cut hay fields are the ticket when hunting coyotes throughout the months of summer. Such fields are the equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet! Who can resist that? A smorgasbord of mice, rodents, rabbits, fawn deer, birds, and bugs will meet their demise by the bush-hog or cutters when these fields are cut in the summer. Key in on these locations and make plans to hunt such spots within 24 hours of it being cut. Its likely

coyotes will feed on a clean field the first night after being cut. As previously mentioned, the fawn deer call is one of my top picks for calling coyotes during the summer months. For that reason, my decoy presentation is switched from a smaller prey decoy to a full-size fawn decoy. The deer decoy tends to catch the eye of an approaching predator better than some of the rabbit-sized decoys on the market, particularly when hunting in growing hay and agriculture fields. Once again, the

combination of a fawn distress call, mixed with a fawn decoy, paints an incredibly realistic picture to any coyote in the area. It’s the perfect remedy for summertime coyotes. Rest assured, the “off-season” provides what could be some of your most exciting hunting adventures yet! Keep your calling and decoy presentation realistic through the changing seasons and you’ll find summertime coyotes to be the ultimate cure for the off-season blues.


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In Praise Of Panfish BY JACK BALLARD

O

ne of the most pleasant diversions from the Montana trout routine involves fish with prickly fins and bodies that don’t look anything like trout. Smaller than the average rainbow, unsuited for the cold water haunts of the cutthroat and positively dim-witted compared to a wily brown, panfish are nonetheless a delight for spin anglers flipping tiny jigs with ultralight tackle or fly casters plying streamers with a wispy 3-weight rod. But just what is a “panfish” and why are they hung with this less than glamorous name? Catch a limit of bluegill, crappie, perch or sunfish (panfish), fillet, and sear in hot oil. Then come back with the question. If you’re still puzzling over the name, graduation from kindergarten was a monumental error. The flaky white flesh of panfish is mild and delicious. For anglers who engage in the sport even partially motivated by consuming their catch, a panfish fry may forever temper their enthusiasm for trout. Although they’re now a permanent fixture in my family’s summer fishing routine, a decade ago I knew little of panfish and wasn’t hankering to learn. But when a friend, transplanted from Missouri, suggested we take my two pre-school aged sons bluegill fishing, I agreed. Russ assured me that not only would the kids have a blast fishing with bait under bobbers, but we (the adults) would have a great time flipping spinners with ultralight gear or testing our angling acumen with fly rods. As it turned out, the outing was less than expected. A June cold front kept the canoe bobbing in a chilly breeze and also cooled the bluegill bite. Nonetheless, all of us caught fish. The boys were thrilled to catch real fish “all by themselves” and their father found that panfishing on ultralight tackle was much more exciting than he anticipated. Back home, the junior anglers begged to make breakfast from their catch the following morning. Five minutes into the meal, the entire family concluded that spiny little panfish were something with which we needed more intimate acquaintance. At first, our trial-and-error education in panfishing involved

spinning gear, but recently we’ve found that targeting them with fly tackle is just as rewarding. No matter which technique you prefer, there’s a few basic principles to learn to maximize your panfishing success. First of all, panfish love structure. Bluegills, crappie and perch, the three most common species, are often found around boat docks, submerged trees, sunken logs and so forth. In absence of objects that create structure, target the edges of weedbeds, drop-offs, ridges and mounds in the lake bottom. There you’ll find panfish. A second characteristic of these species essential for anglers to understand is their schooling. No, you won’t find a bunch of crappie swimming around with tiny college diplomas trailing from their tails. In the classic fish sense, though, panfish are schoolers. Where there’s one, there are usually more -probably a lot more. Of course, the schooling nature of panfish can lead to frustration as well as elation. What if you can’t find the classroom where the fish are schooled? If you’re working the water near structure and aren’t finding success, it’s possible that you’re fishing at the wrong depth. Although all fish have preferred water temperatures, panfish seem especially fond of just the right thermal zone. Keeping this characteristic in mind, vary the depth of whatever lure, fly or bait you’re fishing until you feel a strike. Once located, you’ll usually find more fish of the same species cruising a similar depth as the first. Armed with some information about finding panfish, the next logical question involves how to catch them. For children just learning to fish or those not wanting to put a lot of effort into casting and retrieving, bait is ideal. To most, the classic bait rig involves a bobber, a small weight and a nightcrawler or earthworm impaled on a hook. Using such a rig is simple. Adjust the weight and bait under the bobber for desired depth. Cast the rig and watch the bobber. When it goes under, set the hook and enjoy the fun. (continued next page)


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In Praise Of Panfish Beyond bait, a variety of lures are also effective. Perhaps the most productive of these is the jig. When choosing a jig, size is the first consideration. The small mouths of panfish dictate delicate enticements. On the larger end, 1/16 ounce jigs are more readily available for purchase and easier to cast, but in some situations 1/32 ounce and smaller jigs will fool more fish. After size, color and style are the next important factors in choosing jigs. Generally speaking, color choice can be keyed to weather conditions. On overcast or gloomy days, start with darker colors: black, brown, green and purple. When the sun is out, reach for brighter jigs in hues of white, yellow, pink and orange. Depending on the style, your jig may come with a body or as a head with a bare hook. Fuzzy jigs with feathery tails will take panfish, but the kids and I have found the most consistent success with plastic twister tails attached to a bare head. To accomplish this, poke the point of the hook into the fat end of the tail. Then loop the tail on around the shank of the hook until the bulbous end of the twister tail passes over the barb just behind the jig head. Like the jigs themselves, twister tails come in a wide array of colors and sizes. Lengths from 1 to 1 1/2 inches are best for panfish. Most adults prefer to match the color of the

twister tail to that of the jig, but my kids are fond of creating garish combinations -- a sparkling pink tail on a purple head or flourescent orange with green. Although I love fly fishing for trout, cruising a small pond or the edges of a reservoir in a float tube or canoe, casting for bluegill or crappie with a lightweight flyrod, ranks just as high on my list of fly fishing fun. Popping bugs can entice panfish to the surface as can standard dry flies commonly used by trout anglers when panfish are keying on hatching insects. But day in and day out, I’ve had the best luck fly fishing with brightly colored streamers, small woolly buggers, leech patterns and other similar fare worked below the surface. For panfish, fish these patterns as you would when targeting trout on a lake. Sinking line is most efficient for dropping flies to a panfish’s preferred depth, but it’s also possible to use floating line with a weighted leader. If you’ve never taken the panfish challenge, shouldn’t you at least give it a try? Whether you target them for fun, fillets or as a convenient means of introducing a child to the sport is strictly a personal decision. No matter what the motivation, I’m confident that after a single successful outing you’ll be more than happy to join me in praising panfish.

WE SELL MORE DIFFERENT JOHN DEERE PRODUCTS THAN ANY DEALER IN THE WORLD!


34 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

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www.honda.com Read the owner’s manual before operating Honda Power Equipment. Connection of a generator to house power requires a transfer device to avoid possible injury to power company personnel. Consult a qualified electrician. Not all dealers carry all products. Consult your local Yellow Pages. © 2010 American Honda Motor Co., Inc.


JUNE 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

James Kipp Recreation Area visitmt.com

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

Before You Buy Your RV

Palomino Tent Trailers Starting at just

$5,995

PHOTO COURTESY BLM

T

Activities Offered: Boating Camping Fishing Fly Fishing Hiking Picnicking Rafting River Fishing RV Camping Swimming Tent Camping Wildlife Viewing

Season: 4/1 - 12/1

Phone: 406-538-1900 www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/fo/lewistown_ field_office.html

Services Offered: Boat Launch Campground Host Campsite Established Fire Pits Handicapped Accessible RV Dump Station Toilets Trash Removal

Directions: This recreation area is located where US Highway 191 crosses the Missouri river approximately 70 miles south of Malta and 64 miles north east of Lewistown where US Highway 191 intersects the Missouri River at Fred Robinson Bridge.

Mailing Address: Bureau of Land Management PO Box 1160 Lewistown, MT 59457

Hiking The Ice Caves Trail visitmt.com

he Ice Caves Trail (455) climbs almost 5 miles to the permanent ice caves on the Snowy Crest. The first part of this trail climbs 3 miles to the top of the Snowy Crest and gains 2,200 feet in elevation. This portion of the hike is moderately difficult. Drinking water should be carried as none is available along the way. The next 2 miles the trail follows the flat open top of the Snowy Crest along Trail 490. This part of the trail is on the open ridge and is marked by cairns or small piles of rock. The view from the Snowy Crest is spectacular with the Absarokee Range (about 100 miles) to the south, on a clear day, it is even possible to glimpse the Grand Teton Range (about 220 miles) south, the Little Belts and the Crazy Mountains (about 60 miles) west, the Highwoods (about 70 miles) northwest, the Moccasins and Judith Mountains (about 40 miles) northeast and beyond these mountains are the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

• 35

See us

he James Kipp Recreation Area is in a wooded river bottom setting in a historic and scenic area of the Missouri River. The site offers interpretive signage, 19 single units and 15 multi/group camp sites, a floaters tent camp site, boat ramp, fish cleaning table, 8 restroom sites, and an RV dump station. The roads are graveled and there are trailer pads. Camp sites are on a first come first serve basis. All facilities are handicapped accessible. Overnight camping with a vehicle is $12.00 per vehicle per night. Floaters have their own camp site near the boat ramp and camping with a table and warming unit is $12.00 per site per night. The 14 day camping limit is in effect.

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Length: 5 miles Trail Begins: Campground Trail Ends: Snowy Crest Season: Summer Mailing Address: Lewis and Clark National Forest PO Box 484 Stanford, MT 59479 Phone: 406-566-2292 www.fs.fed.us/r1/lewisclark/ Directions: From Lewistown, take US Highway 87 north 8.7 miles to Forest Access sign (Crystal Lake Road). Turn left onto Crystal Lake Road (dirt) and go 5.3 miles to a Y intersection. Bear left and go 3.9 miles to Recreation Area sign. Turn left at sign, continuing on Crystal Lake Road, and go 12.7 miles to campground. The last 5.7 miles are paved.

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36 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

“Best Hotel VALUE in Missoula” IDEAL DOWNTOWN LOCATION

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Top 25 ‘Conservacation’ Spots For Family Getaways ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION (continued from page 5) MICHIGAN 11. Holland, Mich.—Outdoor Discovery Center. Operated by the nonprofit Wildlife Unlimited. RMEF grant recipient. Group programs are designed to introduce the wonders of the natural world through live animals exhibits, short hikes, investigations and general nature discovery. Phone: 616-393-9453. MINNESOTA 12. Detroit Lakes, Minn.—Pine to Prairie Birding Trail. Operated by area communities. RMEF grant recipient. A 200-mile driving trail featuring different habitats home to a tremendous variety of birds as well as opportunities for conservationists to study native wildlife. Interpretive signs at featured sites. Phone: 800-433-1888. 13. St. Cloud, Minn.—Sand Prairie Wildlife Management Area and Environmental Education Center. OperKANSAS ated by the Minnesota Department of 8. Junction City, Kan.—Milford Nature Natural Resources. RMEF grant recipient. Center. Operated by the Kansas Dept. of This 700-acre wildlife area is situated in Wildlife and Parks. RMEF grant recipient. the flood plain of the Mississippi River and Activities, dioramas, live animal features moist to wet remnant prairie, dry exhibits, nature trails, wildlife viewing areas, prairie and aspen. Wildlife viewing, nature backyard habitat demonstration area. Picnic study, hiking. Phone: 320-255-4279. facilities and nearby Milford Fish Hatchery MONTANA are added attractions. Phone: 785-238-5323. 14. Lewistown, Mont.—Charles M. Russell KENTUCKY National Wildlife Refuge/Slippery Ann Elk 9. Frankfort, Ky.—Salato Wildlife Education Viewing Area. Operated by the U.S. Fish Center. Operated by the Kentucky Dept. and Wildlife Service. RMEF grant recipient. of Fish and Wildlife Resources. RMEF Hundreds of elk congregate here during the grant recipient. Dioramas, live reptiles, fall rut offering spectacular wildlife viewing aquariums, interactive displays and opportunities. A self-guided auto tour route computer programs. Wheelchair takes visitors on a 20-mile loop through a accessible trails allow visitors to see variety of habitat types. Numerous interpreeagles, bison, bears and natural habitats. tive signs. Phone: 406-538-8706. Phone: 502-564-7863. 15. Missoula, Mont.—Elk Country Visitor 10. Golden Pond, Ky.—Land Between the Center. Operated by the Rocky Mountain Lakes National Recreation Area. Operated Elk Foundation. Free admission. Fun, by the U.S. Forest Service. RMEF grant hands-on exhibits, displays of record elk, recipient. Many hands-on learning western wildlife diorama, theater, nature opportunities, exhibits, hiking trails, trail, interpretive signage, gift shop. Focus nature programs, living history farm, on habitat and hunting heritage. Facility is planetarium—and a 700-acre elk prairie. part of the headquarters of the international Animals from this herd have been relocated conservation organization that has protected to help establish elk populations elsewhere or enhanced over 5.7 million acres of habitat in the eastern U.S. Phone: 270-924-2000. for elk and other wildlife. Phone: 406-523-4500.

OREGON 16. Charleston, Ore.—Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area. Operated by the Bureau of Land Management and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. RMEF grant recipient. Up to 120 Roosevelt’s elk and other wildlife species may be viewed here year-round. The O.H. Hinsdale Interpretive Center is popular at nearby Reedsport, Ore. Phone: 541-756-0100. 17. Seaside, Ore.—Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. Operated by the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. RMEF grant recipient. A popular Roosevelt’s elk-viewing area from November through April. Open pastures border a state highway offering excellent viewing of up to 200 elk during winter and spring. Paved parking areas, four viewing areas, interpretive signage. Phone: 503-755-2264. TENNESSEE 18. LaFollette, Tenn—Sundquist Wildlife Management Area/Hatfield Knob Elk Viewing Tower. Operated by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. RMEF grant recipient. Elk were reintroduced here beginning in 2000 with vital funding and assistance from RMEF. The viewing tower allows visitors to observe these magnificent animals. Phone: 615-781-6500. UTAH 19. Hyram, Utah—Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area. Operated by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. RMEF grant recipient. A good spot for a family outing to view wildlife, especially in cold months when elk may be seen on this traditional winter range. Educational kiosks and exhibits. Phone: 435-753-6206. WASHINGTON 20. Amboy, Wash.—Charles W. Bingham Forest Learning Center. Operated by Weyerhaeuser Company in partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation and RMEF. Site is located inside the blast zone of the May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens. Exhibits, trails, interpretive signage explaining forest recovery efforts. Additional conservation attractions nearby. Phone: 360-274-7750.

21. Concrete, Wash.—Hurn Field Elk Viewing Site. Operated by the nonprofit Skagit Land Trust. RMEF grant recipient. This 64-acre property provides food and shelter for over 50 elk during winter and spring. Many other wildlife and fish species present. Gravel parking area, interpretive signage. Phone: 360-428-7878. 22. Randle, Wash.—Gifford Pinchot National Forest/Woods Creek Interpretive Trail. Operated by the U.S. Forest Service. RMEF grant recipient. An interpretive 1.5-mile trail loops through five habitat areas, offering hikers an opportunity to learn about wildlife and the habitat. Trail guides are available at the trailhead. Phone: 360-891-5003. WISCONSIN 23. Grantsburg, Wis.—Crex Meadows Wildlife Viewing Area. Operated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. RMEF grant recipient. At 30,000 acres, this is the largest state-owned wildlife area in Wisconsin. Education center, exhibits, habitat dioramas, classroom facilities, gift shop, wildlife mounts, maps, publications. Guided tours can be arranged. Phone: 715-463-2739. WYOMING 24. Jackson, Wyo.—National Elk Refuge/Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center. Operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies with ongoing support from RMEF. Refuge holds up to 5,000 wintering elk, the world’s largest concentration. This herd has been the nucleus for replenishing and reintroducing elk herds across the U.S. Morethan 800 bison winter here, too. Visitor center, interpretive displays, book and gift store, videos, lectures, activities. Phone: 307-733-9212. 25. Lander, Wyo.—Lander Wildlife Education Center. Operated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. RMEF grant recipient. Dioramas, exhibits, hands-on educational opportunities, publications. Group programs can be arranged. Connects to the Popo Agie Pathway with wildlife viewing sites and interpretive signage. Phone: 307-332-2688.


JUNE 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 37


38 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

JUNE 2010

Making Memories KELTY...GO ANYWHERE Backpacks Child Carriers Camp Furniture Sleeping Bags Sleeping Mattresses Tents Dog Gear Travel Gear

TRAIL DOME 6 TENT 99 $

208.. 208

(30% OFF Suggested Retail)

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SEE OUR HUGE SELECTION OF QUALITY KELTY PRODUCTS


JUNE 2010

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

Bob Ward & Sons New Gear Review Each month we select several products that are brand new to the market and may appeal to our Montana readers and customers

Emotion Comet Kayak “Outside Magazine 2010 Gear of the Year Award Winner”

The Comet features a large

easy to enter cockpit and fully adjustable seat and footbraces that will accommodate paddlers of all sizes. The flared bow offers plenty of leg room and a dry comfortable ride in many water conditions. The solid chines provide an extremely stable experience while the stern keel and tracking channels will keep even the newest paddler on track. More adventurous paddlers will love the predictable lean turns and quick acceleration that the Comet invites. Deck bungees for gear storage and the Emotion signature molded “paddle ledges” will free your hands to photo, fish or relax after a hard days work. Water drains easily from the stern-placed drain plug making it a breeze to empty. At the end of the day, the Comet has all the big performance and features we all want but at a cost we can all afford. The Comet will be awaiting your next adventure. Comet

Yeti Coolers

BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

• 39

SPORTING GOODS, MONTANA STYLE FISHING

GOLF HIKING HUNTING OUTDOOR APPAREL FOOTWEAR WATER SPORTS PADDLE SPORTS PAINTBALL & MUCH MORE!

CAMPING

“Wildly Stronger. Keep Ice Longer.” Certified Grizzly Proof!

T

he Construction of YETI Tundra coolers is carried to the extreme, because there are elite groups of outdoorsmen and adventurers who seek extremes. Desert sun has scorched these coolers. Blizzards have frozen them. Bears have gnawed on them. They have tumbled off trucks and cliffs. This is one ice chest that puts no conditions on reliability under the harshest conditions. Tundra Series Bear-proof Cooler (65qt)

Redington CT Classic Trout Fly Rods 4 and 6 piece fly rods

The Classic Trout Fly Rod Series from Redington is versatile enough to

handle the smallest spring creek and big river fishing conditions. This is a truly elegant and traditional series that blends modern materials and classic styles of casting and fishing. These handsome rods were designed with a forgiving medium action and with notable details such as a machined aluminum reel seat with a lovely Rose Dynawood insert, alignment dots and line/weight designations at each ferrule, and durable titanium oxide stripping guides. The Classic Trout comes in a rich brown color that is fittingly named, Classic Brown. Get one today and see how it fishes.

Aquaglide Supercross LE2 Tow Tube Sure, this 2-person cockpit tube looks

innocent enough. Large, comfy cockpits and high shoulder surrounds provide the security and confidence that many riders prefer. But a peek under the hood reveals your first clues to the performance that lurks within. Integrated HydroGlide floor offers blistering speed, slippery whips and superior stability. Fully reinforced rear towing eye opens the door to the wilder side of the Supercross. Ride either sitting, chariot-style or full motocross-style. Unlimited versatility for 1 or 2 riders. All products shown available at Bob Ward & Sons or at www.bobwards.com.

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SPORTING GOODS, MONTANA STYLE


40 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE

ON-LINE AT www.bigskyoutdoornews.net

JUNE 2010

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1189 1st Street South 363-7644 1-888-406-7644 Mon.-Fri. 8-7, Sat. 8-6. Sun. 9-5

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Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure - June 2010