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OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE MAY 2009
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The Hatch Riddle
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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE
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SuperHawk features XT 500 laminated limbs, while PowerHawk comes equipped with the composite ZR 12 Split Limbs. Both bows come standard with Hoyt’s new 180 Pro-Fit Grip and are powered by their dynamic new M4 Cam & 1/2 Performance System, with four inches of draw length adjustment in 1/2-inch increments. SuperHawk specs include: Brace Height 7.5”, Axle-to-Axle 31”, Draw Length 25.5”-30.5”, Draw Weight 40-70#, IBO Speed 306. (www.hoyt.com).
Over bow features many enhancements developed for its big brothers, The TRUTH 2 and DONE DEAL. The GAME OVER takes “performance above price” to a new level. Specs include: Brace Height Brace 7.75”, Axle to Axle 33”, Draw Weight 50, 60, 70#, Draw Length 25”-31”, IBO Speed 305, Let-Off 80%, (www.beararcheryproducts.com).
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Budget Bows I
t was nearly ten years ago when I bought one of the hottest bows on the market for just over $500. That same caliber bow today is ringing up for about $800. Sure, times change and prices on everything seem to keep inchin’ upward. But the inflated prices sting even worse when it comes to our must-have hunting gear. While there are archers that seemingly change bows more often than they change their socks, countless others make an investment in a bow they plan to keep for the long haul. They want a good quality bow at a price that won’t break the bank. Unfortunately, most bow manufacturers only spotlight their flagship bow of the year - and understandably so. But for the budget conscious archer there are far more options than what can be seen in the pages of your favorite bowhunting magazine or archery shop. In this issue we’ll spotlight some of the best in “budget bows.” They are bows that are sure to offer the hunter quality equipment at a price that keeps everyone happy.
BY BRODIE SWISHER result is no timing or synchronization issues, and a self-adjusting, shooter friendly system with maximum efficiency and supreme accuracy. The specs on the Sniper include: Brace Height 7 7/8”, Axle to Axle 34 1/16”, Draw Length 27” - 32”, Draw Weight 60, 70#, IBO Speed 304 - 312 fps, Adjustable Let-Off 65 - 80% (www.bowtecharchery.com).
PSE Brute LT PSE has been one of America’s favorite bows for years. Partly because they’ve continued to offer great shooting bows at a price the blue-collar bowhunter can handle. Such is the case with their Brute LT. The Brute LT features an ultra lightweight riser, Slim Low Torque (SLT) Grip, Vibracheck Backstop, Parallel Limb Design, NRG Inner Cam System, 6” of draw length adjustment without a bowpress, 80% letoff adjustable to 65%, Asymmetric Idler Wheel, Pivoting Hyperlight Unibody Limb Pockets, Factory Installed Vibracheck Hush Kit, Tuning alignment marks, and multiple sight mounting holes. Specs on the Brute include: Brace Height 8 1/8”, Axle to Axle: 32”, IBO Speed 308, Let-Off 80% Adjustable to 65%.
Mission Archery by Mathews came on strong several years ago with a product line that offers power and performance as well as variety in price options. The Mission Eliminator boasts lightning fast speeds, and deadly accuracy. Short, fast, smooth and quiet - the Eliminator was designed with stealth in mind. The smooth draw of a perimeter weighted cam system and a compact parallel limb design minimizes recoil and maximizes your deadly precision. Equipped with limb-mounted String Cushions and all-new D-amplifiers, the only thing you’ll hear on release is the hushed whisper of pass-through power. Specs on the Eliminator include: Brace Height 7.125”, Axle to Axle 30.25”, Draw Length 24”-30”, Draw Weight 40-70#, IBO Speed 319, Let Off 80%. (www.missionarchery.com).
BowTech Sniper Anytime you can combine a great shooting bow, a top-notch accessory package, and a great price, you’ve got a deal for any budget conscious bowhunter. And that’s just what you get with BowTech’s new Sniper package. The Sniper offers precision equipment in the right place at the right time. The BowTech Sniper is more than just a maneuverable and lightweight bow. It’s tuned for performance, always ready to strike, and comes fully equipped with a 4-arrow camo push button release quiver, 4” camo stabilizer, Hostage capture rest, braided wrist sling, peep sight and 3-pin optical sight. The Sniper offers top of the line features like the Binary Cam system. When two cams work together as a team, it’s a beautiful thing. BowTech’s Binary Cam system slaves the cams to one another, not to the opposite limbs. The
Hoyt Hawk Series Two bows made for a single purpose. The new ‘09 Hawk Series has solidified Hoyt as a leader in the mid-priced compound market. At 31” axle-to-axle (32” for PowerHawk) and launching arrows at over 300 fps, SuperHawk and PowerHawk are light, tough and fast. They offer high-tech function and rock-solid dependability at a price that allows all bowhunters to pursue their passion.
PSE BRUTE LT
Bear Archery Game Over In recent years Bear Archery has made one of the most dramatic comebacks in the archery world and continues to offer value-packed bows for archers at any level. Bear’s Game Over bow offers one of the most forgiving bows in its class. According to the folks at Bear, the game is over when you compare this bow — feature for feature — to any comparably priced bow on the market. The Game
The Diamond Stud is quite possibly one of the best values on the market, with a mid-range price but premium quality. It is designed around Diamond’s proven Single Cam and built on an all new riser design. With its customizable valley and single rotating mod, this smooth-drawing “Stud” can be dialed into individual shooting styles. It also features optimized mass placement for reduced shock and noise and increased efficiency. To further reduce noise and vibration, the Diamond Stud utilizes the new string suppressor technology that is directly in line with the stabilizer bushing to transfer vibration away from your hand. Vertical Force Technology (VFT) disperses any power not converted directly into arrow speed away from the riser, equally in opposite directions virtually eliminating hand shock and recoil. Specs on the Stud include: Brace Height 7”, Axle to Axle 33 1/4”, Draw Length 25” - 30”, Draw Weights 50, 60, 70#, IBO Speed 310 – 318, Let-off 65% - 80% (www.diamondarchery.com). Don’t let a struggling economy put a damper on your passion for archery and bowhunting. With today’s budget bows you can upgrade from yesterday’s bow with one of today’s heavy-hitters. Accuracy and affordability in one package…what more could you ask for? Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, and seminar speaker. Check out his website at www.BroOutdoors.com.
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Contents 6. Henry’s Fork Fun, Jack Ballard 8. New Gear For 2009 9. Traveler’s Corner, US Diesel Parts 10. Elk Foundation Grants To Benefit 12 Montana Counties, RMEF 11. Spring Is Bear Time, Joe Esparza 12 Fly Tying Corner 14. Montana Fishing Report 17. Gear Review, Patrick T. Stinson 18. Pheasants Forever 2 Gun-A-Week Raffle 19. Sagebrush News: Solving The Hatch Riddle, Chuck Robbins 20. Walleye Tournaments For 2009 Season 21. Fishing With The Captain, Mark Ward 22.. State Record Tiger Muskie, MFWP 24. Hunting & Conservation News 26. Five Men Sentenced In Antelope Poaching Case, MFWP 27. Photo Page, Boone And Crockett Club 28. News From Rocky Mountain States 30. Big Game Permit Applications Due June 1, Andrew McKean 31. Men Of Vision, Tracy Watt, MDF 32. Hot Spot “Elkhorn State Park”, MFWP 34. RMEF Celebrates 25 Year Anniversary & You Are Invited 36. Calendar Of Events 38. Paddlefishing Regulations For 2009, MFWP
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The entire contents is © 2009, 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 6 ISSUE 3
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Henry’s Fork Fun
BY JACK BALLARD
Have you ever set out on an adventure only to fall just short of
ANGLERS FIND GREAT FISHING IN THE HENRY’S FORK VALLEY
the final destination? What if the trip involved the entire family and the goal was Yellowstone National Park? While most travelers would view this as a disaster on the level of a basement full of termites, those approaching our nation’s premier park from the west may find as much delight on Yellowstone’s doorstep as in the park itself. The Henry’s Fork valley, just a short hop over the Continental Divide from Montana, boasts recreational highlights that most travelers whiz right past on their way to Yellowstone. Itching for some first-rate fishing? Henry’s Lake and the Henry’s Fork River are nationally renowned for the rapacious rainbow trout on the Henry’s Fork and the ten pound rainbow/cutthroat hybrids that fin the depths of Henry’s Lake. Photographers and scenery lovers treasure the valley for its backside vistas of the Teton Range and the thundering grandeur of majestic Mesa Falls. While canoers shy away from the falls, they, too, find inspiration on the navigable portions of the Henry’s Fork, many of which provide safe paddling for families. Desiring a diversion from our typical Montana outings, my family motored to the Henry’s Fork valley for a summer weekend. Pulling into the Box Canyon Campground perched above the river, we settled in for the evening and were soon lost in slumber.
The morning dawned blustery and gray. Micah (my oldest son) and I had scheduled a day on the Henry’s Fork with the flyfishing outfitters at the Three Rivers Ranch in Island Park. Given the foul weather, we weren’t expecting too much success. After dropping the driftboat into the river, our guide, Todd, rowed quickly across the stream to a likely looking channel. “Cast your fly toward the bank, “ he coached Micah. I looped my line out on the other side of the boat. “Got one!” Micah yelled within seconds. “Great,” I replied, then turned to watch my son. Suddenly I felt a tug on my own line, which had been momentarily forgotten. Then the fight was on. With Todd’s help, Micah soon brought a husky whitefish, a Henry’s Fork native, to net. In minutes, I landed one of my own. Five minutes into the float we’d boated two fish. Although the rest of the day didn’t quite keep pace with the prelude, under Todd’s expert guidance we continued our catch, comprised mostly of hard-fighting rainbow trout. At one point, a curious chipmunk came chattering down a log, then hopped on a boulder to greet the floaters. During lunch, we spied a majestic bald eagle perched in a tall evergreen along the river. As we watched, it launched into flight, then soared away up the river. Turning from hearty sandwiches to the homemade cookies Todd had tucked in the lunchbag, our (continued on page 15)
What You Can Do To Prevent Conflicts With Bears
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uman behavior is perhaps the most important half of the equation in a positive wildlife encounter—especially with bears. Here are some tips on human behavior that will help you prepare for safe outings this spring and summer. Tips For Recreating In Bear Country -In Montana, assume bears are present whether there are reports of bears in the area or not. -Carry and know how to use bear spray. -Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. -Travel in groups of three or more people whenever possible and plan to be out in the daylight hours. -Stay on trails or rural roads. -Watch for bear sign such as bear scat, diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks. -Keep children close. -Announce your presence with voices or whistles when you are near streams, thick forest or winding trails where visibility is low. -Avoid approaching a bear, respect their space and move off. -Follow all forest service food storage orders including keeping food stored securely and maintaining a clean camp. Tips For Bear Encounters -Do not run from a bear. Running may trigger a natural predator-prey attack response. -Make certain you have bear spray at the ready. -Immediately pick up small children and stay in a group. -Move away from the bear, if it is possible to do so. -Throw a kerchief or other object on the ground—but not food items or a backpack with food in it—a as you move away to distract the animal’s attention. -If a black bear approaches, try to scare it away by shouting or making noise. -If a black or grizzly bear attacks at night while you’re in a tent, fight back aggressively with sticks or stones. -If a grizzly bear attacks during the day, most experts recommend playing dead by curling up in a ball face down. Use your hands and arms to protect the back of your neck and face, and keep your backpack on for added protection. Do not move or make noise until you are sure the bear has left the area.
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Southwest Montana WMA Spring Opening Schedule MFWP -May 15 opening : Canyon Creek S outhwest Montana is (northwest of Helena), Fleecer Mountain fortunate to have 11 Wildlife Management Areas totaling approximately 140, 000 acres for recreational users to enjoy throughout much of the year and wildlife to use during the critical winter months. Following is a schedule of Region 3 WMA opening dates: -May 1 opening : Dome Mountain (Paradise Valley), Gallatin (near Big Sky), Madison-Bear Creek (Madison Valley, east side), and MadisonWall Creek (Madison Valley, west side).
(south of Butte), Gravelly-Blacktail (southeast of Dillon), Mount Haggin (south of Anaconda), Robb-Ledford (south of Alder). Canyon Ferry (southeast of Helena) and Lake Helena (north of Helena) Wildlife Management Areas are open year-round with some restrictions on motor vehicle and boat access. Many of the state’s other wildlife management areas do not open until May 15.
New Gear For 2009
Predator Hunter Package – Brush with AccuTrigger™ in New Snow Camo from Savage Arms
Ross Reels Momentum LT
ew for 2009 is the Momentum LT - a lightweight, modern version of the standard Momentum. While the Momentum will continue to serve as a workhorse in the world of big game fly fishing, the Momentum LT joins the lineup as an equal competitor with a handful of new features. The LT is considerably lighter, without sacrificing anything in the way of strength or durability. The LT series is crafted with modern cosmetics, has enhanced sound on line-in and line-out, a machined engraved logo on the spool cap, and the reel is fitted with our newest drag knob design that delivers smooth rotation, infinite adjustments and secure settings. The Momentum LT series is appropriate for any fishing application, including Spey.
Action: Short Caliber: 223 Rem, 204 Ruger, 22-250 Rem Overall Length: 43” Barrel Length: 22” Weight: 7.25 lbs Magazine Capacity: 4 rounds Stock: Synthetic with Mossy Oak Brush Pattern Camo, positive checkering, dual pillar bedding Sights: 3-9x40mm scope mounted and boresighted (Camo scope and rings) Rifling Rate of Twist: 223 Rem (1 in 9”) 22-250 Rem; 204 Ruger (1 in 12”) Features: AccuTrigger™ adjustable from 1 1/2 to 6 lbs, camo stock and barreled action, medium-contour free-floating and button-rifled barrel with internal box magazine, and oversized camo bolt handle Suggested Retail: $839.00
X2 By Eberlestock
he X2 is the latest addition to Eberlestock’s “x - project.” The X2 is a tough little pack with big pack features. Like oversized compression straps for lashing on a heavy load. Dual hydration compartments. Quick-access pockets for spotting scopes and tripods. Other major features include: Ample FlexChassis™ which can flip forward for use as a seat or cradle loads you strap to the pack. Perfect platform for their ARCG ButtBucket™, for carrying a compound bow. Designed to accept either our A1SS or A2SS Side Scabbards, to carry either shotguns or full-scale hunting rifle.
10 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE
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Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Grants To Benefit 12 Montana Counties Trophy Big Game Records T BOONE and CROCKETT CLU LUB B RMEF
WARREN A. ILLI 184-6/8 B&C Sanders, MT. 2006
welve counties in Montana are slated for wildlife and habitat conservation projects using $149,665 in new grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The 2009 RMEF grants will affect Carbon, Deer Lodge, Lake, Lewis & Clark, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Park, Petroleum, Powell, Stillwater and Sweetgrass counties. Additionally, a biological research project has statewide interest. “Our volunteers across Montana helped drive the 2008 fundraisers that made these grants possible. This is where Elk Foundation banquets, auctions and other events transform into on-the-ground conservation work, and it’s part of the payday for our supporters who are passionate about giving something back to the outdoors,” said David Allen, Elk Foundation president and CEO. Elk Foundation grants will help fund the following Montana conservation projects, listed by county: -Deer Lodge County—Treat noxious
weeds to improve elk habitat in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. -Lake County—Restore native grasses and shrubs for elk and other wildlife by prescribe burning 250 acres of overgrown forest in Flathead National Forest. -Lewis & Clark County—Thin 650 acres of overgrown forests to improve winter and transitional range for elk in Helena National Forest. -Lincoln County—Using prescribed fire, reduce tree density and improve elk forage on 989 acres in Kootenai National Forest. -Mineral County—Offset nearby private-land development by prescribe burning 700 acres to improve elk winter range on 700 acres in Lolo National Forest; aerially treat 522 acres of spotted knapweed in Lolo National Forest-Missoula County—Rejuvenate native grasses and re-establish natural fire regime in upper-elevation shrub fields using prescribed fire on 325-plus acres of elk range in Flathead National Forest and Lolo National Forest (also affects Powell County). -Park County—Treat 300 acres of noxious weeds to enhance habitat for elk in Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness (also affects Sweetgrass, Stillwater and Carbon counties). -Petroleum County—Prescribe burn 1,787 acres to reduce fuel loading in ponderosa pine habitat and improve forage for elk and other wildlife on BLM lands in Lewistown area. -Powell County—Increase winter-range forage for elk using prescribe burns on BLM lands; improve fencing and water developments to distribute livestock away from riparian and overgrazed areas in Blackfoot River watershed. -Statewide—Use data previously collected from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming to answer questions regarding roles of climate, wolf predation and habitat quality on elk calf recruitment. Partners for 2009 projects in Montana include Bureau of Land Management, University of Montana, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Forest Service, other agencies, corporations, landowners and organizations. An additional $159,503 remains in the 2009 RMEF project budget for Montana. A second round of grant proposals will be reviewed later this year. A committee of RMEF staff, volunteers and partner representatives will select projects for funding. Since 1984, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed 605 conservation projects in Montana with a value of more than $113 million.
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Spring Time Is Bear Time
BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE • 11
BY JOE ESPARZA
come out of hibernation in May. So waiting till May to hunt black bears is a good strategy if you are looking to see a larger number of bears. The best bear habitat in the state is in region 1, followed by region 2. The wet, dark, thick, forests in these regions make great habitat. Consequently these forests support a higher density of bears. The Northwest corner of the state, the Bitterroot Range, and the Seeley Swan area are some of the best bear habitats in the state. This FWP map shows the typical black bear range in Montana.
have at least one area like this. If you find the green you find the bears. Jamie let me know about two of the most important foods emerging spring black bears look for, Glacier Lilly and Spring Beauty, pictured here.
2. Take care not to shoot sows.
AUTHOR JOE ESPARZA
May means that spring black bear season is in full swing. We’ve had a handful of reports from the field that bears were seen outside of their dens in the first two weeks of April. As the warmer, longer days of May arrive black bears will be out in full force. I spoke with, Jamie Jonkel, bear biologist for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks about black bears. Jamie shared with me that large boars are the first to emerge from dens usually coming out sometime in March or early April. He also shared that the largest numbers of bears
He went on to say that, “bears will focus on these snow chutes until creek and river bottoms start to green up with grasses, Skunk Cabbage, Cow Parsnip, young Nettles, and Horsetails.” Be sure to look for these key bear foods. MAP COURTESY OF MFWP When looking for spring bears look for drainages with a south facing slopes. Then use your optics to look for snow chutes with pockets of green vegetation. Most major drainages will
The highest mortality for grizzly bears comes from hunters. Visit FWP website to take the bear test or to refresh your identification skills. Here is the link: http://fwp.mt.gov/bearid/default.html
Jamie also suggests a few precautions when looking for spring black bears: 1. Know what kind of bear you are shooting
Every year hunters shoot large sows with cubs. If you do you are almost guaranteeing the cubs won’t survive. Take care to avoid shooting any sows as they will not always have cubs traveling with them. Black bears sometimes stash their cubs in trees and return for them later. These large sows are some of the best cub producers. Shooting them hurts bear recruitment. It is estimated that shooting an older sow like this takes not only her out of the population but also on average, seven cubs that she would have given birth to. Recently I found a great black bear video produced by the late Duncan Gilchrist, Spot, Study, Shoot. It outlines the key traits to look for to determine whether the black bear you’re looking at is a sow or a boar. The video goes on to say that, “determining boars from sows is (continued on page 26)
12 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE
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www.montanatest.com Official Scoring Manual Offered By Boone And Crockett Club F
rom whitetails to walruses, all 38 categories of North American big game are featured in the official scoring manual of the Boone and Crockett Club. A newly updated edition is now available to the public. “Measuring and Scoring North American Big Game Trophies” is a third-edition paperback with 176 pages, how-to procedures, score sheets and dozens of illustrations. Regular price is $29.95 (B&C members receive a discount). Order at www.boone-crockett.org or call 888-840-4868. “This is the official manual used by our certified measurers. It’s the definitive source for anyone who is learning or using the Boone and Crockett Club’s historic scoring system,” said Julie Houk, director of publications for the Club. Boone and Crockett developed its scoring system to measure the success of conservation and management programs across North America. Official data dates back to 1830. The new edition includes chapters on Club policies related to fair chase, score shopping, party and proxy hunting, damaged and/or repaired trophies, escape-proof fencing, trophy
entry procedures and many other trophy-related subjects. Authors include Dr. Philip L. Wright, William H. Nesbitt, Dr. C. Randall Byers, Eldon L. “Buck” Buckner and Jack Reneau with input from the Club’s 1,100 official measurers. About the Boone and Crockett Club Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair-chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship, and is the universally recognized keeper of the records of native North American big game. Member accomplishments include protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the National Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. For details, visit www.booneandcrockettclub.com.
allibaetis are most important in stillwaters, but they can be found in slow water stretches of many streams. In many lakes the mayflies become smaller with each succeeding hatch. The common name comes from the distinctly speckle wing markings on the spinner. Incidentally, don’t worry about “Dun” in the common name: one definition of “dun” is “mayfly.” About an hour before hatching the nymphs become quite active. They gather in weed beds and swim back and forth to the surface. Eventually, they will hang in the surface film and begin their transition to a sub imago (dun). According to some authorities this transition can take seconds on warm dry days to hours on cool, cloudy, drizzly days. Use a floating line and fish this pattern in the surface film. Depending on the situation, let it sit dead still or move it a little. Harold also suggested using a Power Bait method with a small split shot on the leader and something to hold it near the surface. Materials Hook: Mustad R30 #12-16 Thread: Orvis 8/0 or Unithread Brown Tail: Wood duck Body: Biot, Brown Wingcase: Fibers of turkey tail, use Krylon fixative Loop wing: CDC, brown Thorax: Superfine dubbing, Callibaetis color Head: A complementary color, little darker, Superfine dubbing Tying Steps: 1. For barbless flies, smash barb with smooth jaw pliers before you start tying. 2. Start thread at eye of hook. Select four or so fibers of wood duck flank feather, and position so the tail will be about a shank length long. Tie fibers in at eye, and wrap to rear over the wood duck. Stop at bend, and pass thread under the tail to raise it slightly. When happy with position of tail take one wrap in front of raised tail. 3. Select a biot and tie it in by the tip with the hard edge to the rear. Wrap biot forward using closer spacing at first and larger spacing toward front of hook. Stop wrapping biot well forward of mid-shank, secure and trim excess. Wrap thread back to a little forward 4. Select three or four fibers from a turkey tail, and tie in at least one on each side of hook with tips to rear. Trim excess butts. Return thread to tie in point at back of thorax. 5. Select two CDC feathers, match tips and curve. Then tie in on top of hook, tips to the rear, with two loose wraps. Pull stem to adjust feather. Excessively long fibers can be trimmed. Tighten thread and move it back to the tie in point. Trim excess butts. 6. Dub thorax forward to about one and one-half eye widths behind the hook’s eye. 7. Pull wingcase forward, secure at front of thorax and trim excess. 8. Using a bodkin to hold the loop fold the CDC forward, secure and trim excess. 9. Prepare a symmetrical wood duck feather by cutting the stem to make a “v” in the fibers. Pull on the base fibers leaving 3-4 fibers on each side of the feather. Tie on top of hook with two loose wraps. Pull on stem to adjust length of legs. If the legs are held along the body they reach to back of body. Secure and trim excess stem. 10. Put a little dubbing on the tread and cover the tie down wraps. Put on two whip finishes.
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Mo nta n a Fis h i n g Rep o rt a jig head fished around the weed beds in any of the bays.
Western Montana Fishing Report Brought To You By The Missoula UFA Sportsman’s Warehouse BY CHRIS MADSEN, (406) 532-9000 e-mail: email@example.com
nfortunately, my crystal ball was in the shop for most of April, but if you live in Montana unpredictability is something you have to learn to live with, if not love. Good snow pack, combined with some rainfall and warm weather, essentially kick-started our spring runoff a full month ahead of schedule, and limited the river fishing options. May is typically when the rivers will blow out for good, and with plenty of snow still to melt, this year should be a doozy. With the exception of tailwaters and spring creeks, expect to spend some time chasing fish in our lakes until sometime near the end of the month. Fortunately, Montana has more than her fair share of world-class lakes, and whether you prefer to chase trout, pike, walleye, or any number of available species, this should be a great month. FLATHEAD LAKE: On Flathead Lake, perch fishing should heat up this month, and the Mac bite has been going strong all spring. Trolling plugs, Hoochies or Flatfish on the north end of the lake usually produces the biggest Macks, while jigging spoons with cutbait around Wild horse Island, Painted Rocks and points around the bays should produce plenty of keepers for the grill. Perch will take maggots on glo hooks or a piece of night crawler on
BASS FISHERIES: Noxon Reservoir, Thompson Falls Reservoir, and the lower Flathead River will all be outstanding options in May. Depending on water temperature, both smallmouth and largemouth bass will start to congregate in shallower water in preparation to spawn, and will take soft plastic baits, buzzbaits and spinnerbaits. The biggest bass of the year are usually taken this month. If you prefer a toothier quarry, sight fishing to shallow water pike can be a nerve shattering experience. Casting top water baits, flies or jerkbaits will induce explosive strikes that will leave your rod arm aching. GEORGETOWN LAKE: As usual, the general opener on May 16th at Georgetown Lake will draw a crowd again this year. (Remember that certain areas of the lake will still remain closed until later in the year. Again, refer to the regulations concerning these closures.) Fish should be eager to eat almost anything, but traditional baits such as marshmallows, night crawlers, salmon eggs and Power Bait will always be staples up here. Fly fishers should cast leech patterns and damsel fly nymphs, and vary the retrieve speed until you find consistent strikes. Trollers should use cowbells with a wedding ring or triple teaser. BROWNS LAKE: If you haven’t fished Browns Lake after ice out you’re one of the few people in the surrounding counties that hasn’t. It gets a lot of attention from serious anglers and the casual fisherman alike, and deservedly so. It has a large population of large fish that cruise the shoreline looking for the first meals of the season and think about spawning. And at certain times they can be fairly easy to catch. The most common set up used is the classic worm and marshmallow combo followed closely by Powerbait. Fly fishers use a variety of flies but scud, leech and egg imitations are used the most. Those with boat access will ply the water with a variety of spoons, crank baits and Wedding Rings. LOCAL RIVERS: If all this talk about lake fishing has you a little squeamish, don’t despair. While May can be a tough month on our rivers, all is not lost. Usually by the end of the month, the summer season will start to kick
off with the biggest, baddest bug of the year, the Salmonfly. While this hatch is primarily a June/July thing on the east side of the hill, we will usually see full-blown Salmonfly madness on west side streams like Rock Creek, the upper Bitterroot and Blackfoot rivers before June 1st. As soon as the rivers start to clear even a little, you will find that most of the trout residing in Western Montana are now lined up within two feet of the riverbank, gorging on migrating stonefly nymphs, just waiting for the first adults to start dropping from the bushes. This is high-octane, athletic fishing, because these are fast, brawling streams that will be bank full. A float trip down Rock Creek during the Salmonfly hatch is an experience that every Montana fly fisher should not miss. Most of Montana’s creeks and small streams open on May 16th, though many will probably be high and off color this year. Expect to see some larger fish that move out of the bigger rivers to spawn in these tributary streams to still be present in May. If the flows cooperate, this is a great chance to catch big fish in small water. May ought to be a great month with a lot of options, so be good to yourself and use up a few of those sick days.
Southwest Montana Fishing Report Brought To You By The Bozeman UFA Sportsman’s Warehouse BY RYAN ONGLEY (406) 586-0100 DRY FLY TIME AND RUNOFF BEGINS As May arrives in Montana the official kickoff of fishing season
nears. The general opener arrives the Saturday after Memorial Day. Although most of our major lakes and reservoirs are already open, now will be the time for the tributaries and higher elevation waters to open up for action. Very good fishing near shore of most stillwaters should please those of you who have been waiting patiently for the open water to return. Our area rivers will be a bit hit and miss early in the month as early signs of run off will be appearing. It’s a good idea to call ahead to local outfitters for up to the minute water clarity and flow information. Let’s look at some good bets for some great early season fishing. Hebgen and Quake Lakes: Ice should be fully off both bodies of water by mid May. On Hebgen look for the annual emergence of large midges to appear. An excellent rise of trout can be expected any calm morning or evening. #12 - #16 Parachute Adams are a great visible fly to use. Dropping a midge pupae or emerger is also a great addition. Streamer action should be picking up as well. Focus on the water near shore and close to the drop offs early on. Quake will generate some great action near the inlet with possible midge and baetis activity, and good fish greeting streamers with some aggressive takes. Ennis Lake: Ennis Lake has been free of ice since mid April and has had good action already. Fly anglers throwing streamers and leech imitations have been taking some very fine fish cruising the shallows. Trolling with Raps, Panther Martins, and Thomas lures have had great success as well. This is a hidden gem and a great place to catch some fine trout. Lower Madison River: Look for the Mothers Day Caddis Hatch to begin around ten days before Mothers Day. A size #14 - #18 olive caddis imitation will match the hatch. This hatch can be very heavy so sometimes fishing a trude or similar pattern can be easier to pickup with your eyes and the trout will eat them just fine. Baetis in sizes #18 - #20 will also be appearing. And good action with streamers and crayfish patterns will land some very large fish. (continued on page 35)
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Henry’s Fork Fun area streams like the Buffalo River also boast fine paddling and excellent fishing, but this day we decided to put in at the Osborne Bridge access on the Henry’s Fork and take out at the Riverside Campground. Not long into the float, we began to spot wildlife. First, an osprey winged overhead, talons laden with a trout. We then noticed two large, dark birds perched in a huge, gnarled pine downstream. Rounding a bend, they came in full view. “Dad,” cried Dominic, my second son, “I think they’re bald eagles.” Right he was. As we floated by, everyone had a front-row seat to guide asked Micah what he liked to do the eagle show, admiring the stately at home. “Play soccer and baseball,” white heads and large yellow beaks came the unhesitant response. which turned to follow our passing. “So, Micah,” went on the Not long after the eagle interrogation, “would you rather play encounter, we pulled ashore for sports or go fishing.” For a moment dinner. By the time we paddled back the boy was stumped. Then he gazed into the current, I knew we’d tarried at the splendid surroundings and too long over mealtime. Darkness looked his guide in the eye. “I’d rather sank gradually onto the river, making be fishing here with you and Dad.” me wonder if we’d reach the pullout Out of its canyons, the in anything that remotely resembled Henry’s Fork winds placidly through daylight. broad meadows and towering everIntent on paddling and greens, making these segments of the calculating an elusive speed/distance river ideal for family canoeing. Other equation, I momentarily forgot my
(continued from page 6) surroundings. “What’s that?” Micah asked from the bow as he pointed to a shadowed form just down the river. The figure moved slightly, leading me to believe it was a die-hard angler determined to net one last trout. The closer we floated, the less it looked like a fisherman. Then it rotated in the light reflection of a cloud and the silhouette became the unmistakable bulk of a bull moose. On our present course, a moose collision was inevitable. Fortunately, the bull wasn’t interested in capsizing a boatload of tourists and went splashing away to the far bank. We rushed on with the current, arriving at the take-out just at dark. Although you can’t run the rapids in a canoe or kayak, “Cascade Corner” in Yellowstone National Park boasts exceptional river recreation in other forms. Photography buffs and scenery seekers revel in the numerous waterfalls and splashing cascades of the Bechler and Falls Rivers. Anglers wade the waters, hoping to test the rainbow and cutthroat trout. Trails wind along the rivers, luring hikers from their vehicles for a day-long ramble along the wonderful waterways. This is a corner of
Yellowstone that few see, reached only by a ribbon of gravel from Ashton, a small town in the Henry’s Fork Valley. A bright sunny morning found us winding along the Cave Falls Road east of Ashton. The day’s plan called for a hike along the Bechler River and fishing in the famed Bechler Meadows upstream. The hike up to the meadows occupied more time than I anticipated, allowing for just a brief spate of fishing. But in less than twenty minutes, I landed two speckled rainbow trout, either of which would have fed three hungry kids for dinner. Back at the trailhead, we escaped the afternoon’s sudden heat at Cave Falls. At the base of the falls, a trio of anglers cast flies to rainbow trout in a wide, deep pool. We skirted the river’s edge, then scrambled into the cave for which the falls is named. From the damp, cool cavern, we peered out at the crashing water. “Brrr, it’s chilly in here,” observed one of the boys. Out in the sunlight, we walked back to the car. On the return trip to the campground we reminisced about the day’s adventure and contemplated a question of the future. What fun will we find tomorrow on the Henry’s Fork?
16 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE
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White Sierra Daytona Men’s Fleece Shirt Jacket
Recommend Yes...Buy Highlights: This month, fishing and camping is upon us so in that spirit we have chosen three pieces we tested from White Sierra, a clothing company that may not sound familiar. The three pieces are the Daytona Men’s Fleece shirt jacket, Cancun fishing shirt, and Yellowstone Convertible pant. The Daytona shirt jacket was new for fall 2008 and quickly became a real favorite of yours truly. I will continue to wear it this spring on the river and on camping trips. The Daytona is 100% polyester cord fleece, oversized and fits perfectly over a shirt. It has two hip pockets and two breast pockets for all your possible’s, and washes up great. If you are looking for cool evening, wear around the campfire shirt, this is the perfect piece. The Daytona will continue to be offered from White Sierra for fall 2009. Tip: Here is a tip for purchasing, if you wear a large, buy a large. In the Daytona, you do not need to buy one size larger. This is oversized so buy the size you normally wear. Drawbacks: None Rating: Good Water...Great Tester: Pat Stinson Suggested Retail: $55.00
White Sierra’s New Cancun Fishing Shirt
Recommend Yes...Buy White Sierra’s new Cancun fishing shirt continues in the same idea as the Kalgoorlie shirt we tested and reviewed last season. The Cancun wears and looks stylish with a mini check pattern and brighter colors for spring 2009. The Cancun was made for us, with UPF 30 sun protection, back mesh venting, roll up sleeves, made of polyester and nylon, two breast pockets with a vertical zippered pocket under the left pocket. This is pure fishing outwear, but is versatile enough for casual clothing. White Sierra is not recognizable as your better known fishing shirts but from day one, all were impressed with the look and quality. We throw all our new outwear in the washing machine for a couple of reasons. If it has any flaws they will show up right away. and to see how bad they wrinkle. We do not like to look like slobs on the water and if they look decent, we wear them. Another advantage is price, White Sierra is not expensive, and for the money you will pay, we have not found it to be much better than others that are more expensive. Drawbacks: None Rating: Good Water...Great Tester: Pat and Chris Stinson Suggested Retail: $50.00
White Sierra’s Yellowstone Convertible Pants
Recommend Yes...Buy Highlights: The Yellowstone convertible pant from White Sierra, is multitalented. You can wear them as a trail and/or fishing pant. This 100% cotton pant converts to an 11 inch short. All pockets are Velcro closure and the two cargo pockets are in a good spot for a fly box. The pant converts to shorts on hot summer days and all dry quickly. The Yellowstone pant fits great and looks just as good. Many fly anglers like a poly nylon mix when they leave waders in the rig. These are cotton and absorb water quickly, but also dry quickly. I like cotton especially on hot water days. The wet shorts or pant are a nice feeling against the skin in 90-degree heat. All the White Sierra we have tested and reviewed has met the challenge and we are impressed each season with their outdoor clothing. Drawbacks: None Rating: Good Water...Great Tester: Pat Stinson Suggested Retail: $50.00
18 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE
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PHOTO CHUCK ROBBINS
Sagebrush News: Solving The Hatch Riddle BY CHUCK ROBBINS
ugs thick—in the air, on the water, in the bushes, everywhere—surrounded by rising trout you cast and cast, frantically switch patterns but despite tossing everything but the proverbial kitchen sink the trout just aren’t buying. The easy way out in this situation is to simply toss in the towel admit defeat after all any fly caster worth his/her salt knows trout are sometimes too selective, too smart—just, you know, for...get...it and move on. But after more decades of learned study than I care to admit I’ve come to a few conclusions that would seem to point more toward angler error than anything like smart trout. To wit, a trout feeding selectively usually means a veritable groaning board of edible goodies passing by of which more often than not one is easier to eat and thus most effective in satisfying the mantra by which all trout either live or die, i.e. obtain the greatest good for the least effort. The first step in solving the riddle is to study and learn enough bugology to at least recognize the difference between, say, caddis and mayfly, nymph and spinner. All aquatic insects come in several stages—nymph, sub-adult (dun) adult (spinner) in the case of mayflies; caddis and midges cycle through larva, pupa and adult stages; while stones are either nymphs or adults—trout of course relish them all. It is useful to bear in mind: Trout adhere to a strict pecking order whereby the best trout occupies the best niche and so on down the line. Thus a large trout, while it might be older, is not smarter but simply enjoys the better (more efficient) seat at the groaning board, i.e., smaller trout are not dumber just hungrier, thus less fussy. Trout feeding “selectively” soon lapse into a sort of thoughtless feeding rhythm triggered by certain recognizable signals. Thus should the fly fail to send the right signals or appear out of rhythm the deal goes bust. It follows then, the more bugs the more “selective” the trout. This explains why fat trout swimming in fertile bug factories are harder to catch than their skinny cousins of the sterile headwaters. Which brings us sort of full circle back to the bugs thick, trout rising everywhere scenario—so what next?
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® TM Trademark of Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. or its affiliates. Study the rise forms. The rise form is your best clue to deciphering what the trout are dining. Be prepared. The easiest way to insure having what you might need for a given situation is to start with a visit to the local fly shop, i.e. the pros know. So you’ve done your homework, checked in at the local fly shop and still the trout won’t cooperate. What to do? Fiddle with the leader and tippet, adjust the cast and eliminate drag. Try a smaller fly, different version, thinner, more scantily dressed version, different stage; heck, toss ‘em a curve, such as a terrestrial or attractor pattern. Fiddle with the leader and tippet, adjust the cast and eliminate drag...Whoops! OK, I know, already said that but...Assuming the fly pattern is close, more often than not it really does all boil down to adjusting the leader and tippet to compliment a proper cast which by definition eliminates the greatest bugaboo in fly fishing... DRAG.
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Walleye Tournaments For The ‘09 Season From Walleyes Unlimited Y
ou must be a member of Walleyes Unlimited to enter these tournaments. To join visit Walleyes Unlimited of Montana at www.montanawalleyesunlimited.net.
Montana Governor’s Cup Fort Peck Reservoir July 9-11, 2009 Entry Fee - $400 Per Team (includes $10 Conservation Team Fee) Maximum 200 2-Person Teams Rock Creek Walleye Tournament Payable to: Montana Governor’s Cup June 6-7, 2009 Attn: Tournament Mgr. Entry Fee - $200 Per Team PO Box 832, (includes $10 Conservation Team Fee) Glasgow, MT 59230 Maximum 100 2-Person Teams For more information Payable to: Rock Creek Tournament Call 405-288-2222 or Attn: Tournament Mgr. visit www.mtgovcup.com Kris Keller, Steve Harada, Bill Dasinger Hell Creek Tournament 116 Indian Street July 25-26 2009 Wolf Point, MT 59201 Entry Fee - $200 Per Team Kris @ 653-3320, Steve @ 653-1463 (includes $10 Conservation Team Fee) Maximum 120 2-Person Teams Tiber Walleye Challenge Payable to: Hell Creek Tournament Lake Elwell Attn: Tournament Mgr. June 13-14, 2009 Calvin Thomas Entry Fee - $200 Per Team PO Box 22, Sand Springs, MT 59077 (includes $10 Conservation Team Fee) For more information call: 557-2311 Maximum 125 2-Person Teams Payable to: Tiber Tournament 1024 35th ave. N.E. Fall Classic Great Falls, MT 59404 Fort Peck Reservoir For more information August 8-9 2009 Call Doug Rohlf 452-8003 Entry Fee - $250 Per Team (includes $10 Conservation Team Fee) Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival Maximum 100 2-Person Teams Canyon Ferry Reservoir Payable to: Fall Classic June 27-28 2009 Attn: Tournament Mgr. Entry Fee - $250 Per Team - 6am Start Craig Larson (includes $10 Conservation Team Fee) 116 Indian Street, Maximum 150 2-Person Teams Wolf Point, MT 59201 Payable to: Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival Attn: Doug Breker or Dennis Hovden Fall Finale Tournament Managers Yellowtail Reservoir PO Box 513, Townsend, MT 59644 August 28-29 2009 For more information call: For information call: Work 266-5279 or Home 266-3102 Rod Putnam 591-1141
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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE • 21
Fishing With The Captain
y travels last month with the Montana Outdoor Radio Show landed me in Glasgow, in far northeastern Montana. I was honored to be the master of ceremonies for the Montana Walleyes Unlimited state banquet. The 700 folks who attended this year’s banquet were treated to a meal of roast beef and, of course, walleye. It was a great event. But more importantly, I found that the outlook for walleye fishing seems to be very good throughout the state. I also had a chance while I was over in the area to drop in and chat with some of the folks with the US Army Corps of Engineers to talk about lake levels were forecast for Fort Peck Reservoir this summer. “If the moisture remains normal for the next few months, I think that we can expect the lake to rise again,” said John Daggett, the Corps’ Project Manager for Fort Peck Dam. “Last year, the level of the lake came up 12-feet and this year we are looking for it to rise at another 8 to 10 feet.” There are, of course, a number of factors that go into determining if the 134 mile lake level is going to rise or fall during any given year. This year, the amount of snow that North Dakota has received is one of the reasons. Garrison Dam, downriver from Fort Peck, was actually shut down for two days with no discharge because of North Dakota runoff that was causing flooding. “That move with Garrison Dam was unprecedented. The discharge has never been shut off completely before,” said Daggett. With more water downriver Fort Peck has less of a need to discharge water. During April, for example, the discharge average is projected to be 4000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Last year in April, the average discharge for the month was 6020 cfs. Next month, the projected discharge rate is again 4000 cfs compared to 7574 cfs in May 2008.
As a result of the decrease in average monthly discharge and the near 100 percent of snowpack currently held in the mountain bases that drain into Fort Peck Reservoirs, the lake elevation will rise to 2215.9 feet compared to 2200.33 last May. “We are also expecting the lake to rise another three feet by July and August,”, said Daggett. Fort Peck will start to gain water after Canyon Ferry Reservoir, which is the first reservoir on the Missouri, reaches full pull. That normally happens around late June. After that, the water is let out of Canyon Ferry and flows down river through Hauser and Holter Reservoirs and eventually ends up in Fort Peck Fort Peck’s lake elevation usually peaks in late July after runoff from mountain snowmelt and early summer rains. However, Fort Peck should continue to rise through next fall and winter because releases will be held as low as possible. The reason for this is because the other two big storage reservoirs downstream, Oahe and Garrison have higher lake levels than Fort Peck. “We like to have the storage levels balanced in the three big reservoirs and Fort peck is behind right now,” Daggett said. Maintaining lake levels on the Missouri river reservoirs is a complicated process to say the least. But the one thing that makes everybody’s job easier is to have the water in the first place. This year, we have the water. And the fishing in Fort Peck is expected to be very good. With the gas prices predicted to remain close to what they are right now this should be the year that you plan a trip and experience the fun of fishing the 134 mile long Fort Peck Reservoir.
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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Harlowton Angler Lands New State Record Tiger Muskie MFWP
STEVEN SALAZAR OF HARLOWTON DISPLAYS A NEW STATE RECORD TIGER MUSKIE HE CAUGHT APRIL 10, 2009, AT DEADMANS BASIN RESERVOIR
Montana has a new state record for a tiger muskie – and not by just a few ounces or millimeters. Steven Salazar, 19, of Harlowton landed the 49.1-inch, 32.4-pound tiger muskie at about 6:30 p.m. Friday at Deadmans Basin Reservoir northwest of Ryegate. The fish had a girth of 22.75 inches. The previous record, held by Marty Storfa of Billings since July 2006, also was caught at Deadmans Basin Reservoir. It was 46 inches long and 28.87 pounds with a 21.5-inch girth. Salazar’s fish weight was confirmed Friday evening on a certified digital scale at Painter’s Ace Hardware in Harlowton. Salazar said Monday that he was fishing from the east shore of the lake with a stiff trolling rod and 20-pound test line on a spinning reel. His brown rubber shad, with a long twisty tail, was backed by a steel leader. He said he was casting the lure into the water and retrieving it for several hours before the big fish struck. He brought the tiger muskie close to shore four or five times, he said. But each time it ran back into deep water, dragging his line with it. Another fisherman, who he did not know, tried to help with a big net, but the fish would not fit and Salazar was afraid of knocking the hook out of the tiger muskie’s mouth.
While he was casting for tiger muskies, Salazar said, he also had a second line in the water for trout. At Deadmans Basin Reservoir, anglers legally may keep two lines in the water. In the middle of his battle with the big fish, Salazar said, his trout rod also started bending. But he ignored his second bout of good luck and continued to work only with the tiger muskie. After 45 minutes, he was able to drag the big fish ashore. But, as he brought his tiger muskie onto the rocks, the other fisherman unexpectedly produced a largecaliber semi-automatic pistol and shot it. While it is not technically illegal to shoot a fish that already is in full possession, it never is a good idea, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional Warden Captain Harold Guse. Bullets fired around large rocks, gravel or at water can ricochet, splinter or spray debris, causing unintended injury or damage. And shooting at fish while they still are in the water is strictly illegal, he said. Salazar, who gathers large landscaping rocks for a living, said he has been fishing at Deadmans Basin Reservoir, and specifically for tiger muskies, for a number of years. Normally he and his father troll from a boat, but have had no success in landing a big fish. He plans to have the state record tiger muskie mounted by All Mount Taxidermy in Billings.
Fishing License Question May Nullify State Record MFWP
big tiger muskie caught late last week at Deadmans Basin Reservoir may not be a state record after all. Steven Salazar, 19, of Harlowton said Monday that he caught the 49.1-inch, 32.4-pound fish Friday evening. It was more than three inches longer and three pounds heavier than the previous record, taken in 2006 from Deadmans Basin Reservoir. But Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wardens, performing due diligence for paperwork needed to declare the fish a state record, questioned whether Salazar had the proper licenses to fish for or possess a tiger muskie from Deadmans Basin Reservoir.
State law requires anglers who fish for warm-water species – such as tiger muskies, pike, walleyes, sauger, bass, perch, sturgeon or crappies – to purchase a $5 warm-water stamp in addition to a fishing license. Fishing without a warm-water stamp can result in a fine and other penalties. To be considered a state record, a fish or animal has to be harvested under fully legal circumstances. Other tiger muskies, bigger than the current state record, have been taken from Deadmans Basin Reservoir in biologists’ nets. One such fish hangs in the Wheatland County Courthouse at Harlowton. But it is not considered a state record because it was not taken legally with a hook and line.
About Tiger Muskies Tiger muskies are a hybrid cross between a northern pike and a muskellunge, neither of which are native to Montana. Tiger muskies were brought to Deadmans Basin Reservoir starting in 1998 from Wisconsin specifically to prey on white suckers, which were competing for food with more desirable trout and kokanee salmon, according to FWP’s regional fisheries manager, Ken Frazer. Tiger muskies prefer white suckers over the game fish, he said. Biological studies of fish populations in the lake indicate that they have an effect the sucker populations, but not trout or salmon. Because tiger muskies are a sterile hybrid, they will not reproduce and overrun the other game fish species. About 2,500 tiger muskies ranging from 2.5 to 6.6 inches long were planted in Deadmans Basin Reservoir in 1998.
An additional 2,710 fish ranging from one to six inches long were transplanted in 1999. And 2,500 more small fish were added in 2000. The last stocking included 550 four-inch tiger muskie fingerlings in 2007. Small tiger muskies also were transplanted during the same time period to Lake Josephine south of Billings and Lake Elmo in Billings Heights. Tiger muskies in the sucker-rich environment of Deadmans Basin Reservoir can grow as fast as a tenth of an inch per day during the summer season, Frazer said. For the past two years, the hatchery where Montana gets its tiger muskies has been infected with a fish virus, Frazer said. Montana biologists do not want to risk introducing the virus to the state so they have temporarily discontinued transplanting tiger muskies in Montana.
About Deadmans Basin Reservoir Deadmans Basin Reservoir covers about 1,900 acres northwest of Ryegate. It is managed primarily for irrigation storage.
Each year, FWP transplants about 200,000 small rainbow trout and 100,000 small kokanee in the lake specifically for anglers.
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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE • 23
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Hunting And Conservation News Hunting & Conservation News Proudly Sponsored By
Florence Bowhunter Education Class Rescheduled For June. Other Ravalli County Classes Offered MFWP
Montana Youth Bowhunter Camp Offered A
n Archery & Bowhunting Camp Experience like no other. This camp is designed to develop and strengthen archery, bowhunting, and outdoor skills, and to see each participant draw closer to God through their camp experience. 3-D Archery, Shooting Form & Technique, Bowhunting Skills & Tactics, Hunting Safety, Treestand Placement, Novelty Shoots, Game Calling Clinics led by Champion Callers, Canoeing, Fishing, Daily Spiritual Challenge, and much more. Dates: June 28 – July 1, 2009 Location: Thompson Lake Baptist Camp – Libby, MT *The camp is available to boys ages 10 – 14 The cost is $150.00 per camper. Space is limited. Call Brodie Swisher for more details at 406-214-9535, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.BroOutdoors.com.
YWCA Plans Summer Outdoor Trips For Girls Ages 11 - 18 GUTS (Girls Using Their Strengths) will offer five weeklong summer outdoor wilderness adventures for girls ages 11 to 18. Registration is first come, first served, and applications are online at www.ywcaofmissoula.org. Applications will be accepted until May 15 or the until the trips are full. The suggested donation is $325 for early registration, and $350 for late registration, but scholarships are available if needed. Each trip can accommodate 11 girls. The girls’ leadership project of YWCA Missoula, GUTS! works to grow the next generation of women leaders by helping girls develop self-confidence and leadership skills in a friendly, affirming environment. All summer trips incorporate multiple outdoor activities such as backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, rock-climbing, and mountain biking. Adventurers are also introduced to “leave no trace” backcountry ethics and teamwork, as well as place-based learning about the area. The trips also include one day of service, usually working on an organic farm or helping with trails. All activities are subject to change, depending upon weather conditions, forest service closures, and other unforeseen challenges. For the most current information on GUTS! summer adventures, or to register for a trip, call the YWCA Missoula at 543.6691 or e-mail director Jen Euell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bowhunter Education class, originally scheduled for April 8-11 in Florence, has been postponed until June. The Florence Bowhunter Education class will now be held beginning June 10. Register on the first night of class, Wednesday, June 10 at 6:30p.m. Classes are at the Florence School Administration Building, 6:30-9p.m., on June 10, 11 & 12. A field course is planned for Saturday, June 13 from 9a.m. until mid-afternoon. A parent or legal guardian must accompany students under 18 to register. Other Bowhunter Education classes planned for Ravalli County this spring are as follows: Hamilton/Victor: May Class: Register on the first night of class, Tuesday, May 12 at 6 p.m. Classes are May 12 and 13 from 6-9p.m. with a field course on Saturday, May 16 from 8a.m. until mid-afternoon. June Class: Register on the first night of class, Tuesday, June 16 at 6 p.m. Classes are June 16 and 17 from 6-9p.m. with a field course on Saturday, June 20 from 8a.m. until mid-afternoon. Both classes are held at the Elusive Moose Archery Center on the west side of Hwy. 93 between Victor and Hamilton. Stevensville: Register on the first night of class, Wednesday, May 27 at 6p.m. Classes are at Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge from 6-9:30p.m., on May 27 and 28. A field course is planned for Saturday, May 30 from 9a.m.-4:30p.m. For a complete listing of Montana bowhunter education classes, visit the FWP Web site, fwp.mt.gov and follow links to “Education” and “Hunter Education” or call the FWP office at 406-444-2535. By state law, all first time bowhunters must complete a bowhunter education course in order to purchase a bow and arrow license. Bowhunters born after January 1, 1985 must also show proof of completing a hunter education program.
Pheasant Release Program Applications Due May 15 MFWP Landowners interested in raising and releasing ring-necked pheasants this year through the state Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program have until May 15 to submit an application. Under Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Upland Game Bird Release Program, landowners who attempt to establish pheasant populations in suitable habitat can be reimbursed for raising and releasing pheasants. Landowners can apply if the land in the project area remains open to reasonable public hunting. Projects must comprise at least 100 contiguous acres of land and contain a combination of habitat components-including cover and food-that upland game birds need to survive. Projects on private and public lands submitted in partnership with youth organizations, 4-H clubs, sports groups-or other associations that can guarantee the completion of all project requirementsalso are eligible. Application for releases must be submitted to FWP by May 15. Pheasant releases take place between Aug. 1 and Sept. 15. Hunting preserves, lands that host a commercial hunting enterprise, and lands where hunting rights are leased or paid for are not eligible. For more information, and an on-line application form, visit FWP’s Web site at fwp.mt.gov—search “Upland Game Bird Program,” or contact your nearest FWP office.
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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE • 25
Hunting And Conservation News 2009 SuperTags On Sale Now! MFWP
ontana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds hunters that an unlimited number of five dollar SuperTag chances are available for fall 2009 hunts. Eight lucky 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.
SuperTag lottery proceeds go to enhance hunting access and boost FWP enforcement efforts. To purchase a SuperTag, a 2009 conservation licenses is needed. SuperTags are available at all FWP offices, license provider’s, or online at fwp.mt.gov using FWP’s online licensing service.
FWP Seeking Future Fisheries Citizen Review Panel Members MFWP Montana Fish, Wildlife & Montana anglers; members of the Montana House of Representatives Parks is seeking new members for a two-year term on the Future Fisheries Citizen Review Panel. FWP’s Future Fisheries Improvement Program offers about $750,000 annually for projects to improve and restore Montana’s wild fish habitats. The 14-member panel meets twice a year to review proposals and recommend projects to the FWP Commission for funding. Five new panel members are being sought: one representative of conservation districts; one fisheries restoration professional; two licensed Montana anglers; and one with expertise in forest management. The review panel members are appointed by the Governor or his representative, and must represent a variety of interests including: conservation districts; commercial agriculture; irrigated agriculture; silviculture; fisheries restoration;
and Senate; high school students; mining reclamation; fisheries; and one ex-officio member from the Montana Department of Transportation. The Future Fisheries Improvement Program seeks projects that aid wild fisheries and that have local support and participation. To apply for a position on the Future Fisheries Citizen Review Panel, send a letter to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Attn: Mark Lere, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Mt 59620. The letter should include your name, mailing address, telephone number educational background, work background and a brief paragraph describing why you would be interested in the appointment. Application letters must be received by 5 p.m. on May 22. For more information, call 406-444-2432, or e-mail: email@example.com .
Hunting District Boundaries Change MFWP Hunting - Region 6
unters making plans for the 2009 season should be aware that the boundary between Hunting District 640 and 641 in the northeastern corner of the state has again been changed. Unlike other districts in the area, where deer of either sex can be harvested all five weeks of the general season, HD 640 has a shortened buck season for both white-tailed and mule deer. A public hearing about a proposal to alter the boundary of the districts was held March 3 in Plentywood. The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission later voted in favor of the temporary
change, which will be in effect during the 2009 big game season. Boundary adjustments approved in 2008 reduced the size of HD 640 and enlarged neighboring HDs 641 and 670, where the five-week, either-sex season remains. These changes went into effect during the 2008 hunting season, but not everyone was happy. Specifically, that portion of HD 641 north of Route 258 is now incorporated into HD 640 for deer and elk hunting. The boundaries and the shortened season issue will likely be revisited again this fall during rulemaking for the next two years of hunting seasons.
26 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE
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GUTS!! Summer Outdoor GUTS Wilderness Adventures (Guts - Girls Using Their Strengths)
Encouraging girls ages 11 – 18 to become leaders while enjoying the Montana backcountry. For dates and registration, call 543.6691 or go to www.ywcaofmissoula.org.
Five Men Sentenced In Antelope Poaching Case F
our Minnesota men and a Stanford man had to pay $8,540 in fines, restitution and court costs and each man forfeited his privileges to hunt and trap in Montana for two years for illegally killing antelope. “This is an important case because this was premeditated, organized and an abuse of our natural resources,” said Tom Flowers, Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional investigator. From 2005 to 2007, the group would receive antelope licenses good in one district, then hunt illegally in another district, Flowers said. The men were originally charged with poaching 17 antelope. They pleaded guilty to killing seven animals illegally. An investigation led to the Stanford area where FWP Game Warden Bob Hammer, with the assistance of the Judith Basin county attorney’s office, was able to get the men to plead guilty. Justice of the Peace Larry Carver sentenced the men in March. “The non-residents would typically apply for and receive the majority of their antelope permits in FWP’s Region 5 (south central Montana) where their chance of a successful drawing was high,” Flowers said. “Then they hunted in Region 4 (north central Montana) with the benefit and knowledge of a local resident.” The illegal activity was discovered when the Minnesota men were stopped at the Canada-North
Spring Time Is Bear Time (continued from page 11)
no more difficult than telling boys from girls in humans.” After watching the video I would have to agree. It identifies key traits to look for in bears to determine if the bear you are looking at is a shooter or not. Here’s a sample. Young adolescent bears These bears are more difficult to tell the sex of, just like in humans. This is typically not the kind of trophy a hunter is looking to take. Characteristics of a young bear are: o Upright narrow ears o Teddy bear look o Fluffy fur o Long legs
Dakota border, returning from a separate waterfowl hunting trip. A search of the vehicle revealed a camera with pictures of harvested antelope that didn’t appear to be properly tagged. When questioned the men said the antelope were killed in Montana. Michael L. Bossen, age unknown, Stanford pleaded guilty to taking an antelope in the wrong district and unlawful possession of an antelope. Adrian Marsden Jr., 62, Bayport, Minn., pleaded guilty to taking an antelope in the wrong district and unlawful possession of an antelope. Thomas M. Sanders, 51, St. Paul, Minn., pleaded guilty to taking an antelope in the wrong district and unlawful possession of an antelope. Edward J. Dobbs, 44, St. Paul, Minn, pleaded guilty to taking an antelope in the wrong district by accountability and unlawful possession of an antelope by accountability. John E. Lockner, 44, Woodbury, Minn., pleaded guilty to taking an antelope in the wrong district, two counts of unlawful possession of an antelope, two counts of taking an antelope in the wrong district by accountability and unlawful possession of an antelope by accountability. The accountability charges are from Dobbs and Lockner taking responsibility for their teenage sons’ actions.
Mature Sows These bears are the ones we definitely do not want to shoot as they are great cub producers. Taking them out of the population means reducing huntable numbers of black bears. They are characterized by: o Prominent rear end o Short neck o Pointed snout o Short front legs o Back line is sloped forward Trophy Boars These are the kind of bears we are looking to harvest. The characteristics we are looking for are: o High front end o Back is straight or higher
in the front than it is in the rear o Big square snouts o Square faces o Wide front shoulders compared to the head o Wide ear spacing, if you can put four ears between the ears you are looking at a trophy bear You can order, Spot, Study, Shoot, at Outdoor Books and Videos, 405 Dutch Hill Road, Hamilton, MT 59840 or call 406-961-4314. Or by going to Ebay and search for Spot, Study, Shoot: Bear Hunting by Duncan Gilchrist. At $14.95 it is an investment worth making. Now that you know, the areas that have good bear density, the habitat to focus on, and some key characteristics in identifying a boar vs. a sow, the only missing ingredient is you out in the field! . Joe is the owner of SportsmensAccess.com, a membership website that provides members with the most comprehensive database and mapping service in the state of Montana for hunting and fishing on public and private land
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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE • 27
Improve your odds with TROPHY SEARCH® Trophy Search® is available as a yearly subscription. For just $50 a year (or $40 a year for current B&C Associates) you can have unlimited access to the Club’s trophy database... The possibilities are endless. www.booneandcrockettclub.com or 406.542.1888
Mike Schallock Of The Flathead Valley “Shot this Great Big Bull in the Swan Valley last fall.” He sent us this note, “It was one of the greatest days of my life.”
Chad Krahel “Shot this magnificent bull with his bow.” Michael Churchill “Shot this 7x7 Bull in the 380 Unit.”
Cole “Cole with his awesome antelope from the 2007 season.”
Jeff from Missoula (L) “1st Antelope.” Father sent in this great photo with a note that it was warm and Orange was removed for photo.
Trent Thomas “Trent with his great Opening Day Bull.”
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Rocky Mountain States Colorado Coyotes Have Litters During April and May
t is becoming more common to hear about coyote sightings in residential areas in Colorado, including neighborhoods in Colorado Springs, Monument, and other communities in the Pikes Peak region. People call the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) with questions about their safety, their children’s safety, and the safety of their pets. “Most conflicts between people and coyotes occur when coyotes are able to find food near human residences,” explained Sabrina Schnelker, a district wildlife manager with the DOW. Coyotes have litters during April and May, delivering an average of five or six pups. During this time of year, adult coyotes need to travel farther and forage more to feed their young. This can lead to increased aggressiveness, especially near a den site, said Schnelker, who has seen an upswing in sightings. Food left out for other animals often gets eaten by opportunistic coyotes. These adaptable predators have learned
that in addition to rodents and other small mammals, they can hunt domestic pets inresidential neighborhoods. In either case, the result is that when coyotes lose their natural wariness of the human environment, they can become aggressive towards people. The DOW strongly discourages feeding wild animals, including coyotes. In fact, feeding coyotes and foxes is illegal in urban areas. Schnelker reminds people to maintain awareness around their yard when letting pets out, or when children are playing. When walking pets, residents should keep dogs on a short leash. Use of longer, retractable leashes is discouraged in areas frequented by coyotes. If dogs are left outside during the day, it is recommended a fully enclosed kennel (sides and a top) be used to exclude wild animals. Installing motion detector lights or floodlights is encouraged in areas where pets frequently go in the low light hours. Children should be taught that coyotes and foxes are wild animals and they should never attempt to approach them. What to do if a coyote approaches you: -Be as Big, Mean, and Loud as possible -Wave your arms and throw objects at the coyote -Shout in a deep, loud and authoritative voice -DO NOT RUN or turn your back on the coyote -Face the coyote and back away slowly -If attacked, fight back with your fists and
DOW Video: ‘Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep’ The Next Best Thing To Being There Mountain Bighorn Sheep” takes viewerson an intimate journey into the world of F ew animals epitomize Colorado’s state mammal. It’s now Colorado’s rugged and unforgiving mountains like the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Yet the vertical terrain that keeps sheep safe from predators also limits opportunities for Coloradans to view and appreciate this majestic animal. That’s why the CDW dispatched its video production team to scale the steep ledges and rock cliffs along I-70 near Georgetown and capture the drama of bighorn sheep during the “rut” or mating season. Filmed in high-definition video and recorded in digital audio, “Rocky
available online as part of the Division’s “a.m. Colorado” video library. Bighorn rams are famous for their aggressive mating jousts; violent collisions that reverberate across the mountains and determine dominance within the herd. The high-definition videos are linked to the Division’s Web site from an outside provider, resulting in faster loading times and outstanding picture quality.
Spring Chinook Fishing Season Opens S
pring Chinook salmon fishing seasons opened April 25 on the Clearwater, the lower Salmon, Little Salmon and the Snake Rivers. The season opens May 23 on the Lochsa River, and a season opens June 20 on the Salmon River from Shorts’ Creek upstream about 25 miles to the boat ramp at Vinegar Creek. The forecast is for about 105,600 hatchery fish and almost 23,000 wild Chinook returning to Idaho. That translates into estimates of 13,341 fish available for nontribal anglers in the Clearwater River, 9,700 in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon, and 1,365 in the Snake River. But the fish may be a little late with the cool spring. So far about 1,000 adult Chinook have crossed Bonneville Dam. The daily limit is four Chinook salmon, no more than two may be 24 inches or more in total length. Anglers must stop fishing for salmon - including catch-and-release - when four salmon or two adult salmon of 24 inches or more have been caught, whichever comes first. The possession limit is 12 fish, and not more than six may be 24 inches or more. The statewide limit is 40 adult Chinook during 2009. Only Chinook with a clipped adipose fin - the small fin between the dorsal fin and tail - as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. Anglers may use only barbless hooks no more than five-eighths of inch from point to shank. In the Lochsa, only artificial flies and lures - no bait - with one barbless hook per fly or lure may be used. A single hook may have up to three points. Fishing hours will be presented in the rule brochure in a table, based on a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset for a series of locations. A new rule prohibits fishing from any watercraft within 30 yards of the west shoreline of the Salmon River from the Riggins City Park boat ramp upstream to a posted boundary about 200 yards upstream of the mouth of the Little Salmon River, and the lower 200 yards of the Little Salmon.
The change is aimed at reducing conflicts between boat and bank anglers. Though fishing from a boat has been restricted near Riggins, additional fishing will open June 20 on 25 miles of the Salmon River just upstream from Riggins this year. Please refer to the 2009 Idaho Fish and Game spring Chinook season and rule brochure for details. The brochure will be available to the public before the season opens. Waters that opened April 25 are: -Clearwater River, mainstem:\ -Lower - from the Camas Prairie Railroad Bridge at Lewiston upstream to the Cherrylane Bridge. -Middle - from the Cherrylane Bridge upstream to the Orofino Bridge. -Upper - from the Orofino Bridge upstream to the South Fork Clearwater River. -North Fork Clearwater: From the mouth to the Dworshak Dam. -South Fork Clearwater: From its mouth to the confluence of the American and Red rivers. -Middle Fork Clearwater: From its confluence with the South Fork upstream to the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers. -Lower Salmon River: -Hammer Creek - From a posted boundary about 200 years downstream from the Hammer Creek boat ramp upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Time Zone Bridge. -Park Hole - From the Time Zone Bridge upstream to a posted boundary at the mouth of Short’s Creek, about 1.4 miles upstream of the mouth of the Little Salmon River. Little Salmon: -Lower - from the mouth to a posted boundary about 200 yards upstream of the mouth of the Rapid River. -Upper - from the posted boundary about 200 yards upstream of the Rapid River upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smoky Boulder Road. -Snake River: From the Dug Bar boat ramp upstream to Hells Canyon Dam. All these waters will remain open until further notice.
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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE • 29
Rocky Mountain States Fort Sumner Man Pleads Guilty To Poaching Near-record White-tail A
Fort Sumner man was sentenced to 57 days in jail and ordered to pay $2,225 in fines and court costs after he pleaded guilty to five wildlife-related charges, including the poaching of a near state-record white-tailed deer. Loy Minton, 25, originally was charged with 16 wildlife-related crimes stemming from an investigation into deer poaching in the Fort Sumner Valley. Minton has been in jail since Jan. 27, when a search warrant was served at his house. DeBaca County Magistrate Buddy Hall accepted an agreement in which Minton pleaded guilty to three counts of unlawful possession of deer and two counts of unlawful killing of deer. Minton forfeited the rifle used in the crimes and faces another 350 days in jail for probation violations. Minton also faces civil penalties to reimburse the state of New Mexico for the loss of the deer. Three of the bucks, one white-tailed and two mule deer, exceed the minimum requirements for increased civil penalties. Those penalties could be as high as $16,000 due
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These antlers from a white-tailed deer seized in a January 2009 poaching case scored 165-6/8” by SCI standards, with two broken tines. the current New Mexico record white-tail scored 167-3/8” to the trophy quality of the three bucks. The white-tail would have been a new state record except for two broken antler tines.
determine if it is legal to shoot. -Eliminate the colors red, white and blue from your turkey hunting clothing. Red is the color hunters count on to differentiate a gobbler’s head from the hen’s blue colored head. -Be particularly careful when using a gobbler call. The sound may attract other hunters. If a hunter approaches, yell to alert him to your presence. -Select a calling position that enables you to see 50 yards around you. If possible, your calling position should have a background at least as wide as your shoulders.
-Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction. Other reminders include unloading guns before getting in vehicles, respecting property rights, asking permission before crossing private land and being aware of what is beyond your target before you shoot. Although turkey hunters commonly dress in full camouflage, turkey hunters may consider wearing a blaze orange garment when walking to or from their calling spot. Some hunters also attach orange flagging on the bird when carrying it back to their vehicle.
Issue-after Limited Quota Big Game Licenses To Go On Sale In July The Wyoming Game and Fish tion changes authorizing this new process Department has announced tentative dates have been signed by the governor and Be Safe While Turkey Hunting T
urkey hunting is becoming increasingly popular in Wyoming and the spring season offers hunters the first opportunity of the year to join the growing ranks of turkey hunters. In recent years, more than 5,000 hunters have taken advantage of spring hunting opportunities and success usually tops 55 percent. That popularity means there are more hunters in the hills, and with that increase, Game and Fish hunter safety coordinator Jim Dawson urges hunters to take extra precautions to be safe. Dawson says that even though Wyoming turkey hunters have a very good
safety record, hunters still need to take the normal common sense measures inherent with safe gun handling and hunting. “The spring hunt is different than most other hunts in that hunters are wearing full camouflage,” Dawson said. “This means extra care needs to be exercised by hunters to be sure of their target and background.” The National Wild Turkey Federation has a listing of reminders for turkey hunters: -Never shoot at a sound or movement. -Never shoot at a piece of a turkey. Make sure you can see the whole bird to
for the sale of issue-after limited quota big game licenses for the 2009 hunting season. Issue-after licenses are licenses that were not sold during the initial limited quota license draws earlier in the year. The tentative date for the sale of full-price issue-after licenses will be 8:00 am Mountain Time on July 7. The tentative date for the sale of reduced-price issue-after licenses will be 8:00 am Mountain Time on July 21. This year the WGFD is instituting a major change in the way these issue-after licenses are distributed. In recent years, hunters were required to apply for these licenses through a drawing. Beginning this year, hunters will no longer need to draw these licenses. All issue-after licenses will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at automated license selling agents throughout Wyoming, at WGFD offices, and through the WGFD website. The tentative dates for issue-after license sales will be finalized after regula-
filed with the secretary of state’s office. Check the WGFD website for updates. “In the past, any licenses left over after the initial big game draw were made available through a second drawing,” said Rich Reynders, Fiscal Division Chief for the WGFD. “This process required interested hunters to complete an application and required the department to conduct a second random drawing.” “Because of the time required to conduct the application process and drawing, hunters often didn’t find out the status of their license application until the first part of August,” said Reynders. “Many hunt areas open in mid-August or early September, so this didn’t leave much time for hunters to plan and organize their early season hunts. Last month, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission gave us the approval we needed to make the issue-after licenses available in a more efficient and customer-friendly manner. I think hunters will be happy with the convenience of this change.”
30 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE
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une 1 is like a birthday, anniversary and Christmas rolled into a single day for many Montana big-game hunters. It’s the day that big-game permit applications are due in Helena. For many of us it’s the culmination of months of hand wringing and devils advocacy as we pick the specific districts where we hope to be hunting come fall. It’s always a gamble, trying to pick hunting districts with the right combination of decent drawing odds and respectable hunting opportunities, and this year it’s going to be even harder. That’s because a significant crash in deer populations in northwest Montana and a steep decline in pronghorn antelope herds in the central part of the state combined with new regulations that impose a numeric cap on most archery elk permits puts a premium on studying Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ regulations book. Among the most significant changes this year are the elimination of the single-region whitetail antlerless tag for Region 2, severe cuts in the numbers of antlerless deer tags in Region 1, reductions in either-sex antelope permits in Region 5 and a cap on the number of archery elk tags available in specific units around the state. Here’s a glimpse at some of the biggest changes, and some of the best opportunities for hunters who want to play special-permit roulette. · Region 1 Deer: Over 4,000 antlerless deer permits have been pulled from the table in northwest Montana, where a combination of hard winter and predation has tamped down herds. · Increased bull and cow permits are available in the Butte area of Region 3. · Additional antlerless elk hunting will be available through permit in the Big Belts Mountains east of Canyon Ferry Lake.
· In the Missouri River Breaks, where elk management is as changeable as the seasons, expect either-sex archery opportunities to be diminished but bowhunters get additional opportunities at cow elk. · Archery elk and antelope hunters will have to face numeric caps on either-sex permits. No longer are these bowhunting opportunities unlimited. The good news is that quotas are very liberal so drawing is a near certainty. · A combination of hard winter conditions and last years outbreak of blue-tongue has taken its toll on antelope in both regions 4 and 5. Either-sex permit numbers have been cut by more than 2,000 in Region 4 and Region 5 game managers cut another 2,000 pronghorn tags. · Antelope hunters still have plenty of opportunity in southeast Montana’s Region 7, where 13,000 either-sex licenses will be distributed in the drawing. Another 10,000 doe/fawn antelope licenses will be distributed in the lottery. · Mule deer hunters looking for trophy bucks have the same opportunities in special management units 261, 270 and 291 in the upper Bitterroot and Avon areas. These remain low-odds places to pull a tag, but buck deer permits in those units are unchanged from last year. And remember, all isn’t lost if you don’t draw a special deer, elk or antelope permit. Montana has plenty of general-tag hunting opportunities available. Plus, for $5 a throw you can always buy a SuperTag for another shot at your dream hunt. Buy as many of these tags as you want. They’re available for bighorn sheep, bison, deer, elk, moose, mountain goat, mountain lion and antelope and allow the lucky hunter the chance to hunt those species in any open district in the state. The deadline to buy these SuperTags is July 2 for moose, sheep and goats, July 30 for the other species.
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earning to watch for wildlife while driving Montana’s highways, secondary roads, and even city streets is almost as good as a secondary health or even life insurance “policy.” Wildlife are plentiful in Montana and so are automobile collisions with wildlife. Most wildlife collisions occur at dawn and dusk. Deer are most often involved, though collisions with moose, elk, bighorn sheep, bears, coyotes and wolves also occur. What can a driver do to be safe, while also sparing the state’s wildlife? Some experts suggest making a conscious effort to scan for wildlife on the road, in the ditch, and on the shoulder of the road. A flicker in the headlamps of oncoming cars may indicate a wild animal is crossing the road in front of that oncoming vehicle. Other wildlife-oriented driving tips include: - Be especially watchful from dusk to dawn when animals are most active. Avoid driving on cruise control during these hours. - Use extra caution near posted deer crossings. These areas are traditional crossings that wildlife use to reach food, water and shelter. - Be aware that deer and elk rarely travel alone. When one deer crosses the road, prepare to avoid those that follow. Especially in spring, watch for trailing fawns. - Be especially watchful along rural roads where roadside brush may obstruct your view. If you do hit a deer, elk or other big game animal, remember that it is against the law to possess or transport the animal, or any portion of the animal, including the antlers. For help, and to report the collision, call the city police, county sheriff, or the Montana Highway Patrol. If the animal is seriously injured but still alive, ask that an FWP game warden or other law enforcement officer be sent to dispatch the animal and safely remove it from the road. Do not attempt to tend to an injured wild animal as they can be very dangerous and unpredictable.
BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE • 31
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Men Of Vision
Men of vision and conscience are changing the fate of Central Montana.BY
TRACY WATT COURTESY OF THE MULE DEER FOUNDATION
“ o often times, people just come here to buy a chunk of habitat,” said Tom Stivers, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) Wildlife Biologist, Lewistown Area Resource Office. That is exactly what happened a few years ago with 1,000 acres smack dab in the middle of the state – a piece of land that is surrounded by publiclyowned and publicly-accessible prime wildlife habitat. Known as the “Moylan Property,” it was to become a privately-owned shooting preserve catering to sportsmen who would pay to stay and hunt the birds and beasts supported by the Central Montana ecosystem. But fate intervened. The out-of-state couple who had purchased the property found it ... too wild, too vast, too remote ... they wanted out. When Tom Stivers got wind of the opportunity from Clive Rooney at the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation things fell quickly
into place. Stivers believes it was “meant to be.” More precisely, men of vision and a sense of responsibility to future generations became involved. Stivers contacted Craig Roberts and Wayne Frederickson, who are associated with Pheasants Forever (PF) chapters in Lewistown and Bozeman, respectively. Stivers said, “We had a very small window of opportunity, and PF stepped up and made things happen.” The Moylan Property, located in Fergus County, approximately eight miles east of Denton, Mont., consists of 100 acres of Wolf Creek bottom and 900 acres of uplands, with five coulees that cross the uplands and drain west into Wolf Creek. There is also a 640-acre DNRC lease that transfers with it. The property connects over 6,500 acres of Beckman Wildlife Management Area (WMA), almost 2,500 acres of Montana DNRC lands and roughly 5,700 acres of private lands that are open to public access through Block Management or grazing agreements with MFWP. PF’s Craig Roberts noted, “This particular piece of property may not have wide appeal as it stands today, but it is important that we look at both its
intrinsic and potential enhanced value. As conservationists and groups dedicated to habitat preservation and improvement, we must keep a broad perspective. We need to form partnerships and not be so narrow-minded that an opportunity like this is overlooked. “Working together, we can take advantage of what’s available while keeping in mind the big picture at a landscape level. What’s important is that we have a vision of what we’re going to have – that we have an end product in mind.” The end product, in this case, is a total of 14,743 contiguous acres open to public access and unlimited walk-in hunting. The quality and quantity of recreational opportunities will greatly improve on all of the public lands in the area. In excess of 600 recreation days are expected to occur on the Moylan Property alone each year. The acquisition also prevents subdivision and privatization of this area, insuring that the conifer timbered ridges on the Beckman WMA and the adjacent Block Management ranches will remain (continued on page 33)
32 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE
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uring its heyday in the 1880s, the mining town of Elkhorn swelled to a population of 2,500. The boom ended in 1890 with the drop in silver prices and residents moved to other areas. They left behind two impressive structures, Fraternity Hall and Gillian Hall, which have been preserved as outstanding examples of frontier architecture. Each has been recorded in the Historic American Buildings Survey. Bring your camera to record these two picturesque structures.
Location/directions: Elkhorn can be found by following Interstate 15 to the Boulder exit. Travel seven miles south on Highway 69 towards Whitehall. Turn left at the Elkhorn sign, and travel eleven miles north on the gravel road. Contact information: Elkhorn, 930 Custer Ave. West Helena, MT 59601 (406) 495-3270 Open: All year
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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE • 33
Men Of Vision (continued from page 31) no children of his own, Rhode often introduced friends’ and neighbors’ children to hunting and fishing. He was interested in teaching young adults an appreciation of the outdoors. In his will, Rhode left his estate to nephew Kevin Whelan. Besides making sure his two sisters were cared for, Rhode told his nephew he wished to help preserve the public lands and access which had made his retirement PHOTO COURTESY so wonderful. MULE DEER FOUNDATION When Whelan, who is a heart surgeon in Dallas, Tex., got the call in June 2008 from PF’s Frederickson natural corridors to the riparian about some prime habitat to be had in vegetation in the bottom of Wolf his uncle’s old stomping grounds, he Creek, and the uplands in between. threw $25,000into the kitty from the There will be additional opportunities Frank Rhode Estate, with the to enhance wildlife habitat in order to intention of making a similar donation better support mule deer, sharp-tailed in 2009. Whelan said he was happy to grouse, pheasants, Hungarian be able to make this contribution topartridge, Merriam’s turkeys and ward preserving our “American herimore. tage.” He went on to say, “We don’t Craig Roberts offered an protect these very valued and precious off-hand explanation as to why he’s areas as much as we should.” Men of vision don’t always working so diligently to acquire and improve the land, saying, “We want to head up a conservation group nor have a pocket full of money. They are leave something for the next characterized, instead, by a selfless, generation.” humble, hard-working spirit. Les In an effort to raise funds for Carpenter of Plains, Mont., is another the down payment on the donor to the Moylan acquisition. “I property, MDF President and CEO Miles Moretti was contacted. Because am a school teacher so am not a rich man, but I have come to the of previous MDF involvement with conclusion that all of us sportsmen the Beckman WMA adjacent to the must pitch in monetarily or our Moylan Property, Moretti was familiar hunting will all go over to the ‘pay to with the area and had a clear vision hunt’ philosophy.” of the big picture. “Pheasants Forever A current list of partners is taking the lead on this project that includes: Pheasants Forever chapters will help block up several thousand in Billings, Bozeman, Calgary, AB, acres for access and habitat protection. Great Falls, Havre and Lewistown; MDF has been asked to contribute Mule Deer Foundation; Montana $50,000 toward the project. We have Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks already funded the first $25,000 out Foundation; The Cinnabar of National Funds, and I would like our Montana chapters to help raise the Foundation; Safari Club International, Bozeman; and several anonymous other $25,000.” Moretti continued, “The folks donors. Many other conservation groups, as well as Sportsman’s in Montana are making new rules. Warehouse, are also being approached. They’re getting the land protected In all, a down payment of and implementing new management $300,000 was raised in a matter of techniques. All of us working together weeks, and the deal was solidified – MDF, PF, MFWP and all the other in just 70 days! Wayne Frederickson partners – can put these pieces believes the whole transaction was together and create a lasting legacy for divinely guided. He said, “So many generations to come.” things were lined up and just fell into There are other men of place. I believe this was meant to be vision who feel the same way. Frank for the people of Montana.” Rhode retired to Montana and hunted The Moylan Property is now in the Lewistown vicinity prior to his defacto public land. It is the vision and passing in 2003. He was a gun-dog sole intent of all the partners that this property becomes a preeminent public man who owned and trained Britney wildlife area for perpetuity. Spaniels. Although he had
DAN BOWMAN OF MISSOULA WITH TURKEY TAKEN 4/12/09 NOTELLEM CREEK - BITTERROOT MOUNTAINS - 9” BEARD
34 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE
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RMEF Celebrates 25th Anniversary & You Are Invited To Celebrate With Them The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation invites you to join them as they celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Open House: Saturday, May 16, 2009 from 12 pm - 4 pm at the Elk Country Visitor Center. There will be hands-on activities for children and tours of our International Headquarters. Directions: Take I-90 to Exit 101 (Reserve St. exit) in Missoula. Drive 1/4 mile north to 5705 Grant Creek Rd. For information, call 406-523-4545.
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ack in 1984, a logger, a realtor, a pastor and a drive-in owner – all from Montana – were worrying about habitat loss and how it might affect their elk hunting. They decided that elk needed a dedicated conservation outfit, like ducks had. In May of that year, they launched the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The four founders set up an office in the back of a trailer in Troy, Mont. One of these founders, Bob Munson (the realtor), explains, “In 1984 I was one of the four most naïve sportsmen on earth. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the other three were my partners. Could this quartet of decidedly unworldly parishioners from the Troy Christian Fellowship Church actually start and build an international conservation organization?” Maybe, but it wouldn’t be easy. For startup money, they borrowed from their mothers, borrowed from their kids’ college funds, took out second mortgages and loans against businesses, and made deep dips into personal checking accounts. It was enough to print and mail 43,000 brochures soliciting members and promising a magazine and annual convention. Only 233 people responded. Ouch. But the founders were determined to honor their commitment to those first joiners. Not long afterward, the first issue of Bugle magazine was produced. The founders planned to distribute copies to gas stations, bait shops and sporting goods stores, which would sell the magazines on consignment. By this time, the founders also had recruited a financier to help pay for printing. Munson describes the day when two full pallets of Bugles arrived: “It was time to break open our first case of Bugle magazines—for which we’d never thought to ask for a proof. We passed out copies and sat on boxes as we perused our premier issue. No one said a word for countless minutes until our financier broke the ice by loudly proclaiming, ‘Holy *#$%—it’ll never sell...’” But it did. And the rest is history. Today the nonprofit Elk Foundation has a modern headquarters in Missoula, Mont. The organization has grown to 150,000 members worldwide. Some 10,000 volunteers provide even more financial fuel, holding over 550 fundraisers annually. Together with corporate partners, individual donors and other revenue streams, the organization has managed to fund more than 6,100 different conservation projects. The real pride is the cumulative impact on the ground. Habitat enhancement projects include prescribed burns, weed treatments, forest thinning, water developments and more. Land protection work, such as brokering a 2008 land swap that added 61,578 acres of elk habitat to the state forest system in Washington’s central Cascades, preclude development and subdivision. Combined, these efforts now top 5.5 million acres. Another major feather is the Elk Foundation’s help restoring elk to long-vacant parts of their former range. Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin all boast wild elk today, thanks to RMEF funding, expertise or facilitation. In fact, U.S. elk populations have risen over 40 percent since 1984. Many factors have played a role but certainly the Elk Foundation deserves some credit, too. Still, the future of elk habitat seems fragile. Across the U.S., about 2,500 acres per day are lost to development, subdivision and urban sprawl. And the West, where most elk live, is growing faster than the national average. Elk are constantly pushed into ever-smaller scraps of wild country. Munson says, “I see a narrowing window of opportunity for us to make a difference. Our work is actually more urgent now than it was in 1984. We have a lot to worry about. But, on the other hand, we also have a lot of success to be proud of, a unique history to drive us and a legion of passionate volunteers who can accomplish just about anything they decide to take on.”
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Montana Fishing Report
which creates swells that not just any boat can traverse. Check local weather reports and be aware of in coming fronts because in this lake you don’t want to be stuck with out a paddle!
(continued from page 14)
Yellowstone River: Again be looking for the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch as well as good Baetis activity. If runoff begins in earnest though this river could be unfishable into July. Upper Madison River: The Upper Madison usually resists runoff the longest of our area rivers. Very good streamer and nymphing will be available from McAtee to Ennis. Stonefly nymphs, baetis nymphs, and other small mayfly imitations are great in tandem on two fly rigs. The river above McAtee and below the town bridge reopen with the general opener and if the water still has clarity look for some fine fishing in these areas. Especially up high with good baetis activity.
BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE • 35
North Central Montana Fishing Report Brought To You By The Helena UFASportsman’s Warehouse BY JESSE FLYNN
CANYON FERRY: Full ice out is in effect and so is the wind. Canyon Ferry this time of year can prove to be one of the best fisheries in the state. But only if one can learn to understand the size and brute force of the lake. Particularly the wind,
HAUSER: York Bridge has and will continue to fish well throughout May. Marabou jigs, wooly buggers continually produce trout. The people at the Causeway are already stacking up like a bunch of spawners getting herded into Lake Helena… I’m totally kidding; the Causeway is my favorite fishery. If you are not out there every day the walleye and perch can prove to be difficult to stay on top of unless you are at the Causeway…I’m kidding! Helpful techniques that may prove to be effective in May: start out your day by trolling cranks, bottom bouncers, or whatever you like to troll. Trolling is a great way to cover a large body of water and not to mention a way to locate fish. Once located anchor off and try pitching jigs at them.
HOLTER: Holter has excellent fishing this time of year and everyone knows it. You can guarantee company so be respectful of others and they will do the same for you. Be respectful of the fish too, high amounts of fishing pressure has to stress these fish out, especially when they are trying to spawn. Handle with care, get your picture and get them back in the water as quickly as you can. A net is a great tool to have down on the river; a net immobilizes a trout, ultimately keeping that fish from exerting more energy than it needs to. As more and more people get into fishing the more and more fisheries don’t get respected. Become educated and do your part to help keep things the way they are intended to be.
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36 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE
ANACONDA Blast from the Past: May 29 - 30 Blast from the Past! A Celebration of the West’s largest historical landmark district. Friday May 29 - (800 West Commercial Ave) Reception (public welcome) 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Social reception featuring interesting speakers, conversations, socialization, and a menu of coffee, wine, desserts, chocolates, cheese, and soft drinks. It will take place in the gift shop with the museum open and the model railroad available for a “sneak preview”. \Saturday May 30 - (Kick off of summer season for Copper King Express) 10:30 am: Train departs from the Butte Depot traveling to Anaconda Saturday: May 30 - (800 West Commercial Ave) 10:00am - 5:00pm: Season opening of Anaconda Railroad & Mining Museum. No admission fee. Saturday May 30 10:00am - 4:00pm: Exhibit at the Copper Village Arts Center at 401 Commercial. No admission fee. Red Bus tours of historic Anaconda depart from the Visitor Center at 306 East Park. Visit www.copperkingexpress.com or e-mail: email@example.com
BIGFORK Bigfork Whitewater Festival: May 23 - 24 The Bigfork Whitewater Festival involves international kayak racing on the ‘Wild Mile’ of the Swan River that runs through Bigfork. At the height of spring runoff, the ‘Wild Mile’ is considered a Class V whitewater. The event draws over 200 competitors along with several thousand spectators. There are festivities running throughout the weekend. Phone: 406-837-5888 or visit www.bigfork.org
BILLINGS Big Sky Challenge Hill Climb: May 16 - 17
ON-LINE AT WWW.OUTDOORSMONTANA.COM
Calendar Of Events
FORT BENTON Fort Benton Spring Classic Fishing Derby: May 16 - 17
The Montana Outdoor Science School will be hosting the 11th Annual Watershed Festival at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center. Offered free to the public. Topics include bird and mammal identification, wetland wonders and function, stream ecology, nature walks, fly casting, birds of prey, noxious weed identification, steam monitoring, a hatchery and facility research tour, aquatic macro invertebrates, natural science interpretation and activities and well water information. There is also music and performance entertainment and many educational displays for all ages. All activities are outdoors, rain or shine. Call 582-0526 for additional information.
LIBBY Koocanusa Resort Salmon & Trout Derby: May 16 - 17
VIRGINIA CITY Spring Horseback Poker Ride: May 23
Saddle up the horses and put on your poker face! The 23 miles form Libby on Lake Koocanusa is Koocanusa Annual Spring Horseback Poker Ride is Saturday, Resort & Marina. There are camping facilities, cabins, May 23rd in Virginia City. This year’s poker ride boat rentals, a restaurant & lounge, gift shop and much is sponsored by the Virginia City Area Chamber of more. Fishermen and women come from all over to Commerce. Registration is at the Bale of Hay Saloon partake in this event of catching the big one. Register from 8:30am to 10am. Admission fee is $15.00 per early, grab your fishing pole and gear and enjoy rider. First and last card will be given at the Bale. Montana’s finest fishing and hospitality. Drawings will begin when all riders have collected their Phone: 406-293-7474 or visit final card. For you non-riders out there, they will also www.koocanusaresort.com. offer a Poker Walk for $10 a hand. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 406-843-5555 toll free: 800-829-2969 or HAVRE visit www.virginiacitychamber.com. Black Powder Shoot: May 22 - 25 E-mail: email@example.com MISSOULA This is the annual spring Black Powder Shoot, with shooters Bike For Shelter: May 9 of all ages competing in numerous match events. Tomahawk and knife throwing competitions and a pancake There are several rides to choose from: a Bike Rodeo, where kids can learn bike and road safety; 2-mile, race are part of the fun. Primitive dress is encouraged, but 10-mile, 20-mile, or 50-mile rides. All participants not required and camping is available. A long range black will receive a Bike for Shelter T-shirt, barbecue, powder cartridge event is included, along with 35 other refreshments, entry into a drawing to win a new shooting events. Muzzleloaders and black powder cartridge mountain bike and every child will receive a medal. guns are encouraged (cartridge rifle only). Handguns, cap Other activities include miniature horses, inflatable and ball or muzzleloaders. Vendors welcome. Black Powder jumping gyms, sack races, face painting, live music, Shoot is located at the historical Fort Assiniboine 7 miles a ride on the Montana Rail Link locomotive, and our south west of Havre on Highway 87. Watch for signs. friend Marty Moose will be handing out balloons. Phone: 406-265-2483 Held at Community Center Parking lot. Phone 406-549-0058. HUNTLEY Second annual Fort Benton Spring Classic Fishing Derby with categories for both adults and children. This event is fun and exciting for all ages, filled with prizes and cash. Come to historic Fort Benton and enjoy some of the best fishing on the Missouri River and the Marias River. Phone: 406-621-5592 or visit www.fortbenton.com/derby. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
EVENTS TO SUPPORT WILDLIFE
Roaddogs Annual Spring Field Meet: May 23
Enjoy a memorial day weekend at historical Homestead Park. Montana’s mini Sturgis motorcycle event. Tattooist, food vendors, leather vendors, and a full service beverage concession. Live music with dancing. Come and enjoy history biker style. One price of $20.00 includes your camping and all concert events. Located in Homesteader Park, adjacent to the State Experiment Station, 15 miles east of Billings on old Highway 10 (now US Highway 312). Phone: 406-896-1578 or visit www.roaddogs.org. E-mail: email@example.com
The Big Sky Challenge Hill Climb is the first of a three-part Western States Hill Climb series, which includes the Great American Championship Motorcycle Hill Climb and Widowmaker. These three hills make HELENA up some of the toughest hill climb courses found in Don’t Fence Me In Run Trail Run: the world. Close to five hundred riders will convene in May 9 Billings to take on the ‘little brother’ to the world-famous This event consists of a 30k, 12k, 5k, and a 5k dog Great American in mid-May. A grassy fenced area allows walk. The runs take you on a tour of Helena’s beloved visitors to get up close to the hill and the action. From South Hills trail system and boast great views of the I-90, take Exit 447 and go south on S Billings Blvd over Helena Valley. Air Jam Inflatables will be there with the Yellowstone River, turn left at Blue Basket (approx. a jumping room, there will be live music and lots of 2 miles from Interstate). Go 1.5 miles to club grounds. things to see and do. Race activities will begin and end Phone: 406-656-9960 or at Pioneer Heritage Park in Downtown Helena. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
BOZEMAN Watershed Festival: May 16
HELENA Komen Montana Race for the Cure: May 16
Friday, June 19, 2009 MOIESE Gallatin/Madison Retriever Training Seminar International Migratory Bird Day: May 9 with Mike Stewart A variety of events, from beginning to advanced bird Contact Jason Baker: (760) 567-0620
watching, bird identification and photography are held to encourage the public to get involved with and enjoy birds. As part of the celebration, the 19-mile Red Sleep Mountain Drive is opened for the summer season (weather permitting). Takes place at the National Bison Range. The entrance is located at Moiese on Hwy. 212. Phone: 406-644-2211 ext 207 or visit E-mail: email@example.com
STEVENSVILLE Bitterroot Beast Feast 6:00pm - Friday, May 8th @ The Stevensville School Multi-Purpose Room Bring your favorite wild game dish or dessert for an evening of sportsmen’s fellowship. Featuring World Predator Calling Champion – Jon Paul Moody This is a free event with lots of great prizes and giveaways!!! Brought to you by Lifeway Church & BRO OUTDOORS For information call Brodie Swisher at 406-214-9535 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.BroOutdoors.com
This benefit foot race for the Komen Foundation raises TOWNSEND funds to provide positive awareness, education and Shoot For The Cure: May 17 early detection of breast cancer for women throughout Montana, as well as helping to fund the National Grants Proceeds go to the Montana Chapter of the Susan G. program for the Komen Foundation. The 5K and one Komen Foundation. Registration starts @ 8:00 a.m. mile race begin at/near the Scott Hart Building in the The shoot will consist of 40 3-D animal targets. Cost is $20.00 Adults, $5.00 for each additional family Capitol Complex on the corner of 6th and Roberts, rain member. Cubs/chicks shoot free. Awards to top 3 or shine. Phone: 406-495-9337 or visit shooters in each class. Awards for all cubs/chicks. www.komenmontana.org There will be a raffle and silent auction. For more E-mail: email@example.com information contact Dave or Ann White at (406 )388-4823
Friday, June 19 Check in at 8 a.m. Meet & greet with Mike. Classes/training until 5 p.m. Sporting clays at 5:30. BBQ/DU event to follow. Saturday, June 20 Training 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. for beginner & advanced dogs. Lunch at noon. Family Q&A to follow. Sunday, June 21 Training 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Awards ceremony until 5.
Mule Deer Foundation 6/6/2009 Butte, MT Contact Brittany Powers: (406) 490-3322 RD: Ron Knapp, firstname.lastname@example.org 7/18/2008 Missoula, MT Western Montana Chapter Contact Ray Rugg: (406) 822-4240 RD: Ron Knapp, email@example.com
05/16/09 Bozeman Gallatin Big Game Banquet Contact: Trevor Dorner (406) 587-4142
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38 • BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE
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Spring Mack Days CYNTHIA BRAS
BRETT THOMPSON CAUGHT THIS NICE LAKE TROUT DURING 2009 SPRING MACK DAYS. IT WASN’T QUITE LARGE ENOUGH FOR THE 24# REQUIRED LARGE FISH CATEGORY. PHOTO COURTESY CYNTHIA BRAS
The May issue of Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure went to press
Nicole Peters-lady angler is in 1st place-215, 2nd Susanne Albrecht-Polson101, 3rd-Cindy Howe-Kalispell-92, 4thbefore the final results of Spring Mack Debbie O’Hara-St. Ignatius-50, 5th-Deana Days were released. These are the results Knipe-Polson-40,6th- Janet Smith-Bigforkfrom the 5th weekend. 36, 7th-Amy Cool-Missoula-33, 8th-Gina It was another great weekend Biere-Butte-24, 9th-Charlotte Benson-24, of lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake and 10th-Michelle Slyder-Roundup-23. during 2009 Spring Mack Days. Stephen Lake trout entries for the fifth Naethe, sixteen year old Pablo angler, is weekend were 2,375. Total of the five holding on to the lead in after 5 weeks weekends is now at 9,300. Total at the of the Fishing Event sponsored by end of the 2008 Spring Event was 9,910. the Confederated Salish and Kootenai There are two weekends to go in the Tribes and sanctioned by Montana FWP. 21 day event with the last day being a Stephen dropped to second on Friday separate day for prizes but it does count night after turning in 21 entries compared for the bonus totals for the anglers. to Ronan’s Paul Haines with 39 lake trout Four $100 tagged fish were entries. Saturday’s perfect 50 put him turned in over the weekend by Nicole back in the lead and a total of 31 entries Peters, Don Peters, Mike Upwellon Sunday topped off his weekend of lake Kalispell, & Roger Dilts-Polson. Turning trout fishing putting his total at 536 with in a $200 tagged fish was Bill Sullivan of Paul currently in second with 506. The Missoula. Those along with Paul Soukup’s lead has changed several times during $100 fish we missed last weekend put the this event and with a daily limit of 50 total of tagged fish turned in at 26-$3,900. fish can continue to change between the There are still two $5,000 lake trout and top experienced anglers. The top ten over 1000 with values up to the $5,000 angler’s placing is determined by the out there. best 12 day average at the conclusion of All it takes is one fish to be the event. Mike Benson of Hot Springs eligible for the lottery prizes that begin moved into third with 316, Dan Smith-Hot at $1,000 and go to $200. Over $45,000 Springs-4th-312, Dean Vaughan-Charloin cash and prizes sponsored by CSKT 5th-310, Greg Karlson-Missoula-6th-264, will go to the participating anglers. Roger Smart-Ronan-7th-240, Don PetersMack Days Events are used as a tool Florence/Polson-8th-232, Nicole Peters-9th- to slowly reduce the numbers of non215, and Bernd Albrecht-Polson-10th-206. native lake trout in Flathead Lake and Youth anglers continue to be increase the numbers of native westslope lead by Stephen with 536 and 2nd-Terry cutthroat trout and bull trout. “Like a Biere-Butte-61. Charlo’s very avid youth family heirloom passed from generation angler Garett Vaughan fished three days to generation, Montana’s native fish are increasing his total to 45, Tanner Murryamong the treasures that make Montana Columbia Falls-another youth angler that such a special place. Montana’s native is serious about this sport has a total of fish are Nature’s Keepers, and it’s up to all 34, Alexander Brown-Lakeside-3days of us to keep it that way”-Montana FWP. for the weekend -26, and Keegan NoydMissoula-24.
Paddlefish Regulations For 2009 MFWP
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is taking a conservative approach to managing the state’s paddlefish season. Paddlefish reproduction is down after an extended drought with low water flows over the past several years. This, combined with increased fishing pressure for adult paddlefish, makes more conservative management of these long-lived fish essential. Paddlefishing on the Yellowstone River begins May 15. Catch and release paddlefishing is only allowed in the Yellowstone River at Intake Fishing Access Site. Specific fishing times and days apply too, so be sure to check the Montana fishing regulations for details at Intake Fishing Access Site. “This year’s regulations are geared to what is thought to be a sustainable harvest and should help to reduce catch and release mortalities,” said Brad Schmitz, FWP Region 7, regional manager in Miles City. Paddlefish regulations for the 2009 season include hook size restrictions for all river stretches that are open to spring paddlefishing, a size 8/0 hook limitation or smaller is in effect. On the upper Missouri River (upstream from Fort Peck Dam to Fort Benton) there is a 500 fish harvest target, and the season may be closed on 24-hour notice. The paddlefish harvest season opens on May 1 st . Once the target is reached, catch and release continues until June 15. Anglers will need to call the FWP Glasgow office at 406-228-3700 to check the harvest status. Daytime fishing hours, 6 AM to 9 PM remain in place and there is no night snagging for paddlefish. One harvest paddlefish per season per angler.
On the Missouri River downstream from Fort Peck Dam and the Yellowstone River catch and release fishing will be allowed only at Intake Fishing Access Site . At Intake FAS, catch and release will be limited to Sunday, Monday and Thursday. Harvest days are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until the harvest quota is reached. Catch and release paddlefishing will remain in effect 10 days immediately following the harvest closure or the end of the regular season (June 30), whichever comes first. On the Yellowstone River at Intake Fishing Access site, FWP may close the harvest season immediately if it appears the harvest target may be exceeded (the harvest target is 800 paddlefish). An 8/0 or smaller hook is required for all paddlefish snagging. The color coding on paddlefish tags is: yellow for the Yellowstone River and lower Missouri River; white for the upper Missouri River above Fort Peck Dam; and blue for the dredge cuts below Fort Peck Dam for archery paddlefishing. The appropriate tag is required to fish for paddlefish in each of these river sections and anglers must choose only one stretch of river to fish. “FWP has made quite a few changes the past few years in the paddlefish regulations and will continue to refine them as we learn more about this long-lived fish and the best ways to conserve it to ensure continued harvest,” Schmitz said. For more on paddlefishing, see the FWP web site at fwp.mt.gov under Fishing and Regulations; pick up a copy of the 2009 Fishing Regulations at FWP regional offices or license providers; or request a copy of the special paddlefish pamphlet available at FWP offices.
Paddlefish Photo Opportunities Are Regulated MFWP On all paddlefish waters,
For a photo of an angler paddlefish caught during the catch with his or her fish, the angler and release portions of the season should kneel down and lift the fish must remain partially submerged in horizontally just to the surface of the water at all times. Removing a the water for the picture and then large fish, such as paddlefish, and gently lower the fish back into the holding it vertically puts significant water. strain on the internal organs of the fish and increases mortality losses.
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BIG SKY OUTDOOR NEWS & ADVENTURE • 39
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