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June 2016



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WWW.LARSENBAYLODGE.COM Author Mark Kayser packing out a trophy Montana bull ©Mark Kayser


FRESHWATER & SALTWATER Kings, Halibut, Sea Bass, Sockeye & Silver Salmon, Ling Cod, Steelhead, Crabs


You’ve Just Won The License Lottery … Now What? I

By Mark Kayser

couldn’t believe it. There on my computer screen was the coveted message that I had drawn a permit-only elk license for Montana. The adrenaline rush was immediate and intense, but soon reality hit and my adrenaline rush crashed like a drone running out of battery power. I had just won the license lottery, but how do I transform this piece of information into a trophy bull? I had my work cut out for me and focused to transform my thoughts from anxiety to concentration. First, contact Fish, Wildlife and Parks or state, and local game and fish personnel for the location you are hunting. Never underestimate the helpful willingness of these public employees. Biologists, game wardens, regional directors and others serve the public, most with enthusiasm. Calling them at convenient hours can lead you in the right direction. If you want to corroborate or gain even more detail, talk to more than one official. Game wardens may have a different daily perspective over a biologist that doesn’t get the luxury of daily trips afield. Combined, the two could put you right on top of a herd of elk, sheep or on a big bull moose. Be sincere, polite and speedy. They lead busy careers like you. And don’t ask for specific locations. They may give you an exact trail to begin, but they may also just offer tips. Take the information and expand on it. Looking for clues is half the fun of scouting. Next, scout online resources in addition to the obvious herd management information available on state wildlife pages. Social networks, do-it-yourself websites and hunting forums have taken on a life of their own. Sure, some include bragging posts, but most host numerous, honest queries for hunting information. Add your question into a forum and you never know what information will be reciprocated. You can also research past posts for information on the success others have had in a location you are considering. Don’t expect someone to give you the GPS coordinates to their honey hole, but it will surprise you on how much information can flow down the information super highway. More than once I’ve dropped questions on forums or looked at other questions regarding places I considered hunting. The honest answers will amaze you. Moving on, purchase maps. It’s a good idea to download your GPS ( or smartphone with digital maps, but don’t overlook the ease of a good topographical map, especially when matched with a public-land map like those sold by the National Forest Service. For GPS maps nothing beats OnXMaps ( with land ownership included right along with the topographical aspects. I also use ScoutLook Weather ( when scouting.

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It gives me a satellite overview, weather, wind forecasts and the ability to make notes right within the program. As you accumulate information mark the locations on your map and begin whittling down your target area. First, look for access. You’ll need to get within a few miles with camp equipment via a backpack or help from a horse, or ATV. Now look beyond that for roadless regions. Elk, sheep, moose, deer and pronghorn will quickly exit hunter-heavy areas for sites two to three miles from roads, or trails. With a block of country in mind study it for three elements: food, water and travel routes. Look for meadows, parks and open slopes. You need to find the habitat your target species prefers for nutrition. Satellite images can be a huge help in this department. Next, note all springs and creeks for possible animal rehydration centers. Lastly, study topographical maps to pinpoint saddles and mountain grades animals will likely use to get from point A to point B. With all of this at-home scouting completed it’s time to make a trip to your hunting location. Plan the first trip as soon as possible and then schedule additional trips that coincide closer with your hunting dates. Confirm firsthand where you will camp, access country and even bivy if required. Of course you’ll also want to scout for trophies so pack along your Nikons ( and spotting scope. Your first trip could be the basis for a family vacation, but if you’ve drawn a premium license you may have to forsake family for scouting on later jaunts. Even if you discover a nirvana, be sure to have a backup plan. Weather, hunting pressure and other unforeseen factors have an ability to make animals move miles on a whim. Put all of this information together and you should have a solid start to your dream hunt. My last Montana elk hunt was just that. It all started with a message of “successful” on my computer screen and ended with the bull of a lifetime. Contact information: Get more hunting strategies from Mark at June 2016


Fly Fishing For Large Trout By Brian McGeehan - Montana Angler To book a trip with Montana Angler call 406-522-9854 or visit their website at

M ontana fly fishing has become synonymous with big rivers and large wild trout. With hundreds of thousands of miles of quality trout streams, Like us on

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ADVERTISING Rick Haggerty (406) 370-1368 The entire contents is © 2016, 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, Inc. Nor does the printed material necessarily express the views of Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure, Inc. All photo & editorial submissions become the property of Big Sky Outdoor News & Adventure, Inc. to use or not use at their discretion. Volume 13 Issue 3 cover photo: ©Kenneth Rush|

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spectacular scenery and an unspoiled landscape it is easy to see why the state holds a special place in the hearts of fly fisherman from around the globe. Montana is also one of the few places in the lower 48 where an angler can consistently catch wild trout over 20”. As a longtime guide and Montana fishing outfitter, I have learned that nothing tops off a Montana fishing trip better than catching a giant trout. 20 grip and grin photos of 14” fish can’t add up to a single great photo of a truly big fish! Although anyone fishing the waters of some of Montana’s legendary lakes and rivers can stumble on to a trophy fish at any time, there are several ways to maximize your chances of hooking and landing big fish.

Focus on waters that regularly hold large trout

Just because you are fishing in Montana doesn’t mean that you have a shot at large trout. There is wonderful action packed fishing to be had on smaller rivers and mountain lakes throughout the state, but most of the smaller streams or high elevation lakes do not produce trophy trout (with some exceptions). On the other hand, most of the larger rivers like the Madison, Yellowstone, Missouri, Big Hole, and Bighorn frequently produce trout over 20” on a regular basis with a few monsters running over 35” and 15 lbs. There are also a few high mountain lakes that hold populations of freshwater shrimp that fuel trout growth. Large trout in high mountain lakes is the exception rather than the rule, however, and they often are cyclical based on winter-kill. Finally, some lower elevation lakes and ranch ponds have a prolific supply of shrimp, mayflies and damselflies allowing for some gargantuan trout. In order to catch large trout you must target a fishery that holds large fish. The magic of fly fishing in Montana is that there are multiple fisheries that produce wild trout of trophy proportions. Many streams and rivers in other parts of the world simply do not offer the water temperatures, habitat and food supplies necessary to grow large trout.

Use flies and techniques that target trophy fish

Trophy trout have a different energy budget than smaller trout. The size of large fish requires that they spend significantly more calories to move the same distance as a smaller trout. A small mayfly contains more calories than the amount of energy that a small trout uses to capture it. Large fish, however, need to spend much more energy to intercept a small insect and actually spend more calories in fueling that motion than they take in from the insect. Large fish, therefore, need to eat large items. Small trout typically have a diet that is composed primarily of small aquatic insects. In Montana, large trout key in on crayfish, sculpins, small trout and extra large insects such as large stonefly species. (continued on page 14)



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After 20 years of elk hunting, I can honestly say that I am still learning. Every year, these animals continually teach and remind me of that fact. I hope that by sharing all of my experiences and what has worked for me, others can also experience the overwhelming sense of accomplishment that comes after harvesting one of these amazing and very intelligent animals. Here’s a series of tactics that have helped me be successful each year in the pursuit of elk.

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Just in case you weren’t sure, let me be the first to say, hunting rutting elk in September with a bow while having your camp and gear strapped to your back is not an easy task. While more often than not, it is a back breaking endeavor, it can also be one of the most rewarding styles of hunting you can partake in. This style of elk hunting has always been my favorite way to hunt elk because it leaves me mobile and able to cover a lot of backcountry without the anchor of having to hike back to camp every night. I’ve always dreaded the feeling of not being able to keep hiking after a herd because I was getting too far from camp. With camp on my back, I can put a bull to bed and sleep close enough to effectively hunt him again in the morning without a monumental hike in hopes of getting there in time — not to mention gaining extra hours of sleep because of not having to get up at a ridiculous time in the morning to make the trek back into elk country. I have tried many different elk hunting methods and this way has consistently helped me harvest bull elk in multiple western states. In general, you are hunting elk that have heard multiple calls and seen various setups. It is important to get in shape and plan your hunt with the goal that you will separate yourself from the rest of the hunting herd. Nowadays, there aren’t many places that you’ll go where another archer hasn’t been or plans to be. There are tons of articles on hunting fitness and other forms of being in elk shape that I won’t spend much time on here. But if you think you’re elk tough and in shape, these four-legged mountain machines may leave you thinking the exact opposite after a five plus day stint chasing them up and down in some of the nastiest terrain the west has to offer. Elk generally feed at night and transition to their bedding area in the early morning. This is another key reason that living out of your pack and sleeping where you left off hunting that evening can pay off in a big way. You already know where the elk might head to feed in the morning so you can position your camp in order to gain an advantage of getting in front of them during this transition. You could have the entire herd walk right in front of you with minimum effort. This can sometimes be so easy it almost doesn’t seem fair. But, then again, if the wind isn’t right, you’ll never even see an elk. If this is the case, I will generally move to get the wind right and then try to get as close to the herd as I can. As the herd moves through the timber to a more secluded bedding area, the cows will wander and the herd bull will scramble to keep them all moving in the right direction. This will leave him open to making mistakes. If you can keep up, sometimes you can capitalize on one of the these mistakes as he keeps his harem together. (continued next page)

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Another bonus, and something to be aware of, is there is almost always satellite bulls doing the same thing you are, which can make for easy shots on satellite bulls if you stay alert and move through the shadows. Hunt them almost the way a wolf would.


Calling elk has been very productive for me over the years. Yet, more often than not, I am left scratching my head, wondering what happened to the 600 lb. animal that was just destroying the trees in front of me and has suddenly vanished into thin air. I’m sure more than a few can relate to this and have second guessed using calls. Additionally, when hunting solo or with a buddy that cannot call, if you’re the only guy that can call, you’re not going to get much time behind the bow.


When calling situations wouldn’t work or if I was the only one who could call in my group of friends, I started trying new techniques that might get a bull coming in on a string and still get him into effective bow range. I’ve tried all kinds of crazy ideas but what really has worked well is what I call the “100 yard dash.” This method may seem a little crazy, but hear me out for a few minutes. The “100 yard dash” method means that as soon as the bull gives me reason to believe he is coming in, I run straight at him and close the distance by 100 yards in hopes he will walk by me. This can be very effective if you’re in the right setting like heavy timber or thick oak brush. This can turn into some pretty awesome results if you’re hunting alone or just want to harvest a good bull and are not concerned whether he’s the biggest bull on the mountain or not.


Decoying in bulls is the way that I have harvested one of my biggest bulls, yet it is still a tactic that I don’t have much experience using. In 2009, an old friend and I planned an extended backpack hunt into an over-the-counter (OTC) Colorado unit and, at the last minute, decided to haul a lightweight elk decoy with us. I was hesitant to add the extra weight, but was continually being told on the 10 hour drive to the trailhead of how “awesome” these decoys were and that we needed it no matter the weight. Literally, almost against my will, the decoy was added to our already heavy packs for the six mile hike. The morning of day three, we had figured out where a bull and his cows were feeding/bedding and knew that when they topped the mountain the wind would be in our favor. This is where we would wait. As the day began to unfold and we could hear the bull bugling below us, I watched in disbelief as my old friend made a mad dash to get the decoy set up behind us. I thought to myself, “Thank goodness there isn’t a camera filming this hunt because we would look like idiots sitting in front of this elk that was made of cotton material.” As he slid back into position, I rolled my eyes in disbelief and re-focused on the openings in the timber. I prayed that this bull would walk through. At the pace of a quarter horse full tilt, the herd came boiling through. There were so many elk moving by us that I couldn’t keep track of what elk was what and they could care less that I was laying down an array of cow calls to get them to stop. As the herd boiled through the last elk and biggest bull slid to a stop with laser like focus on the decoy, I drew my bow, aimed and made my shot that hit the bull perfectly. The bull stood there absolutely in love with the decoy and fell over in front of us. I looked back at that giant silly grin and, as you can imagine, have still never heard the end of how “awesome” decoys are and are a must for every elk hunter. If this is your cup of tea, then by all means, carry one.


This is hands down my favorite method and the way that I’ve harvested the majority of my biggest bulls to date is by locating and chasing bugles. I am an okay caller and can carry a decoy with the best of them, but, at the same point, I am not the best caller out there and still haven’t been able to wrap my mind over the weight and bulk of carrying a decoy. This is why chasing bugles is my go to strategy for getting an arrow in a bull. The key is to be up and moving as the sun rises, listening for bugles in an area that I know holds elk. I won’t touch a call until the morning winds down as bulls are usually very vocal on their own in the early morning. If I can catch a bull that is fired up and calling frequently enough on his own, I will slip in tight and wait for my opportunity — almost like stalking a mule deer. If the bulls aren’t bugling much I will “run and gun” by staying high on ridges and bugling into drainages and canyons, looking for a bull that will go back and forth with me. Once I get him talking on his own, the calls go back into my pocket and I will hunt his bugle. In some cases, like a hunt I was on recently, they just wouldn’t talk much due to warm weather. We knew there was a bull in the bottom of a certain drainage, but he would only bugle about four to five times throughout the whole day. On the second day, he was back, but only bugled once on his own. Sometimes he would give a us a weak bugle or just a low growl when I would call to him, but not enough noise to pinpoint him. We gambled on one thing. Most of the time, bulls act the same... even during the rut when the bulls are not totally fired up. The one thing that we gambled on was that they will bed with their cows throughout the middle of the day. When the cows begin to move, the bull will get up, bugle, and almost always pick out an innocent tree and destroy it. I rolled the dice and we sat on this bull for the entire day waiting for this scenario. Sure enough between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., I bugled one time and he fired back. I closed the distance about 200 yards, believing that he was about 600 yards toward the bottom of the drainage and called one more time. This time, I used a cow call and he replied again. This is when the calls went into our pockets and we slipped in like mice. I arrowed the herd bull at 12 yards while raking a tree and standing in a wallow. I truly believe that if I would have kept calling he would have gathered his cows and moved out of the drainage. Sometimes silence can be golden and putting the calls away at the right time can pay huge dividends.

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Regardless of your favorite elk hunting tactic, we all can learn more by hunting elk every year. With the interactive tools found on goHUNT’s INSIDER, you are loaded with information for the OTC elk hunter or the guy who just drew a limited entry tag after applying for 20 years. These tactics will hopefully help you punch your tag and leave you with fewer seasons of tag soup. Hunt hard this year and I hope to see you on the mountain.

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10 Tips on Asking For Permission to Hunt By Kip Adams ...T

he reality for many hunters today is they must seek land to hunt on. Some own land, some lease land, and most seek the opportunity to hunt on someone else’s land by receiving permission from the landowner. A few are good with “the ask” but most are not, so here are 10 tips to help you secure a spot to hunt. 1. Ask permission well in advance of the season. Don’t show up the week before opening day and expect a positive response. It may happen, but increase your odds by asking weeks or months in advance. 2. Make a good first impression. Don’t show up dirty from work or in hunting attire. A shower and clean (non-camo) clothes can go a long way toward receiving permission. 3. Be polite and respectable. Your language and behavior can be the deciding factor, so don’t blow it before you even make the ask. Continue being polite and respectable even if the answer is no. Thank the landowner for his/her time and leave on good terms. Doing so can turn a “no” today into a “yes” in the future. Being impolite or disrespectful is a guaranteed continual “no.” 4. Take a child with you. It’s amazing how a well-behaved child can help create a great first impression or enhance an existing relationship with the landowner. Some landowners are also far more likely to allow you to hunt if they feel they’re helping a child. 5. Offer to help the landowner. Let them know you’re willing to help them for the opportunity to hunt. You can offer to help cut wood, fix fences, pick up trash, or anything else they may need help with. I have personally secured permission to hunt by offering each of these tasks as well as helping ranchers work their cows and even just keeping an eye on their land for them. You can also offer to help plant trees, pick rocks, and mark or paint boundary lines. If you’re not willing to help the landowner, don’t expect them to be willing to help you. 6. Start small. Small game, that is. Many landowners who wouldn’t let you hunt deer on their land may let you hunt squirrels and rabbits. Use this opportunity to mentor a child and develop a positive relationship with the landowner. Doing so could be your ticket to a future deer stand on his/her property. 7. Give them your information. Hand them a business card or note card with your name and contact information. Landowners like to know who is on their property and how to contact them if necessary. This is also important if the landowner initially declines your request but reconsiders at a later time or knows another landowner that he/she can pass your information to. 8. Offer to provide and pay for insurance. For as little as a few cents per acre you can get hunting land liability insurance through QDMA that covers you, any guests, and the landowner. Many landowners deny permission to hunt for fear of liability. Offering to provide this insurance policy can make all the difference with your request. These last two items pertain to situations where you receive permission to hunt. 9. Get details on where, when and how. Be sure to ask the landowner where you can and cannot park, when you can and cannot hunt, and how you may hunt. Some landowners don’t like rifles. Some may not want you there on a special weekend their son and daughter-in-law visit to hunt. Oblige them and just hunt with your bow or hunt elsewhere when their family is in town. Follow their wishes. Be sure to close each gate you go through and pick up any litter you find on their property. 10. Give back. Hunting on someone’s land is a big privilege, so give something back to the landowner to show your appreciation. I’ve shared turkey and venison with generous landowners. Thank-you cards, Christmas cards, and other tokens of appreciation go a long way toward receiving permission again in the future... This article is reprinted with permission from the website of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), a non-profit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to ensuring the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage. To learn more about deer hunting and managing deer habitat, visit 10 - Hunting & Fishing News

June 2016 11



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Crappie Fishing On The Tongue River Reservoir By Eddie White H ere we are now into June. Oh how the mighty Yellowstone has filled to the rim and debris of all sorts pile down in a frenzy. When I say debris, it is typically not just a couple of branches, but whole trees. This time of the year it is not safe for a boater, nor a swimmer to get in and sort it out later. My suggestion, it is time to hit Tongue River Reservoir.

Tongue River Reservoir is a very exceptional fishery, especially when it comes to crappie. For us slab seekers June is a fantastic month to head down and start seeking the hot action that generally purses just as the sun rises and sets. For the shore or boat angler it can be fast and ferocious. It is not uncommon to tie into a walleye, pike, or bass while you’re tossing a jig, or using a bobber with a minnow. I really like using a Blakemore Road Runner jig, which come in a rainbow of combinations. Tied with marabou, curly tails, or other assortments of plastics, this has become a go to. I generally tip with a piece of nightcrawler when pitching from shore. Just enough to give the jig a little scent. A jig head tipped with a minnow can be a sure fire way under a bobber. Slip bobbers top the list, as you can always adjust your depths if you can not seem to find active fish.

Tongue River Reservoir is a very exceptional fishery, especially when it comes to crappie. 12 - Hunting & Fishing News

While fishing from shore, I always count my jig down. This can be the factor of keeping on active fish, and going just above or below them. Pitch that jig as far as you can then the counting process starts. I like to count all the way to the bottom with my first cast. That way I know what depth I am working with. By no means will I count to the bottom twice, we all know what’s at the bottom, SNAGS! As the excitement of catching fish hits me I notice that the counting can become a little faster, as my patience does not seem to keep up with my fishing. Which in turn takes me out of the feeding zone, I have to calm my nerves and keep my head on. Now, to some, Crappie can yield a small amount of meat for what can be a lot of work. For others, the taste of this mild fish is worth all the effort, to deep fry and eat like chips. Good fishing. Eddie White owns and operates The Minnow Bucket in Huntley Montana, also a writer, seminar speaker and tournament angler. Contact Eddie at: on Facebook at or by phone at 406-696-1281


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FLY FISHING FOR LARGE TROUT continued from page 6 If you spend most of your time casting small attractor dry flies, you will have a great time catching lots of small and medium size trout on the surface, but you won’t hook many really large trout. On the other hand, anglers that willingly huck monster streamers and crayfish imitations will rack up their fair share of huge trout. Occasionally large trout will key in on small insects. These exceptions occur on lakes and still waters where trout do not need to fight current to eat the smaller insects and during very intense hatches where trout do not need to move far to take in a large number of the critter of the day. There are three primary techniques that Montana fishing guides use to produce big trout hook-ups. The first is to dead drift large nymphs, imitation crayfish, sculpins, baitfish or large stonefly nymphs. Many anglers choose to drop a smaller nymph off of the back of the large fly in order to still catch smaller trout while still hoping for a monster. The second is to strip large streamers. Streamer fishing produces aggressive strikes but it is a low number game. Although streamer fishing usually produces a small number of fish, it is the best way to catch really large trout. Finally, massive dry flies can sometimes bring up the largest fish in the river during the salmon fly hatch. Salmon flies are enormous aquatic insects that can be over 3” long. This annual occurrence rarely produces fast action, but it does give lucky anglers an opportunity to hook trout over 25” on a dry fly. Fish during the times of the day when large fish eat Although it is possible to catch a large fish at any point in the day, there are definitely prime times and prime days that produce big fish. Large fish do not eat consistently throughout the day like smaller trout often do. A large trout may eat a 9 inch trout in the morning and spend the next 24-48 hours digesting it. If your streamer swims by the fish later that day he won’t be interested. In general, large trout prefer to feed during low light levels making early morning and evening prime time for landing big fish. On rivers that warm significantly during the day, large trout often feed in the middle of the night and some brave fly fishermen target these trout using large streamers after midnight.

Fish on the right days Some days are “big fish days”. Although I have had a few days that seemed to produce multiple trout over 20” when the sun was shining, the vast majority of monster trout days that I have encountered have occurred when clouds were thick. Large browns are notorious for being wary on sunny days. If you have flexibility on the days that you fish, make sure you are on the water when the fronts come in and low lying clouds spit rain all day. These are also the days to consider shifting to techniques that specifically target huge fish. On more than one occasion, we have switched from dries to streamers when a large thunderstorm rolled in and experienced a 45 minute feeding frenzy of big fish. Sometimes these midsummer storms can produce five or six strikes from fish over 20” in less than an hour. By the end of the frenzy the fish are regurgitating sculpins. These same trout probably do not feed for at least two days after such binges so it is wise to swing for the fences when the weather is right. Fish during big trout months I have seen big Montana trout caught during every month and week of the year. There are two times of the year,

however, that I believe you can maximize your chances of hooking big fish. The first is to target post runoff compression. When rivers first drop and are clear from runoff, big fish are hungry and have not seen many flies for several weeks. To top things off, the fish are often pressed against the banks to avoid the brisk mid river currents. The second time of the year that constantly produces huge fish is in October and early November when brown trout are moving through the rivers in preparation to spawn. Browns get much more aggressive in the fall, making this a great time to hunt for big fish. - See more at: 14 - Hunting & Fishing News

Last Chance For Spring Black Bears By H&F News Pro Staff

Photo: © Vanessa Gifford

The spring black bear hunt continues

through June 15 in some hunting districts in Montana. It’s your last chance to hunt for a bear until the fall season hits. These are the units that will be open until the 15th of June. BMU - 200 - Middle Clark Fork BMU - 216 - Sapphire - Flint Creek BMU - 240 - W. Bitterroot BMU - 280 - Upper Blackfoot BMU - 290 - Lower Blackfoot - Garnet BMU - 316 - Big Hole BMU - 317 - Ruby - Centennial BMU - 341 - Madison - Yellowstone Gallatin

Spring Black Bear Hunters Reminded of Key Regulations

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks... --Hunters should take some time reviewing the identifying characteristics of black and grizzly bears; all black bear hunters must have passed the “Black Bear Identification Test” found on the FWP website in order to purchase a black bear license. -It is illegal to harvest/take black bear cubs. Cubs are defined as bears less than one year old. -It is illegal to harvest/take a female black bear with cubs. -It is illegal to bait bears or hunt bears with dogs. No scents may be used to attract black bears. Mandatory reporting requirements: Within ten (10) days of harvesting a black bear the successful hunter must present to Montana FWP official the complete bear hide (with proof of sex remaining naturally attached) and skull for the purpose of inspection, tagging and possible removal of a tooth (for aging). The hide and skull must be presented in a condition that allows full inspection and tooth collection (i.e. unfrozen). On the reporting date, successful hunters are required to provide FWP personnel with hunter’s name, telephone number, ALS number, Bear Management Unit (BMU) and County. The FWP hide tag affixed during inspection must thereafter remain attached to the hide until tanned. Hunters should pick up a copy of the 2016 black bear hunting regulations and review them carefully before heading out to the field. June 2016 15


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The “Johnson Jig” S

By Trevor Johnson, Kit’s Tackle

ince the month of June is one of our favorite months for jig fishing in Montana we thought we would do a mini seminar on the famous “Johnson Jig” technique. We are so passionate about jig fishing because YOU are imparting the action on the jigs that gets the fish to strike…REWARDING! It is a magical time to keep the jigs flying because it is a multi-species bonanza on the water from Noxon Rapids Reservoir in western Montana all the way to eastern Montana’s massive Fort Peck Lake. Most of our Montana fish species are in the “post spawn” period meaning they have recovered from the rigors of spawning and are ready to devour your Glass Minnows!! Fish head to the shallows and they are ready to attack forage of all kinds. We will focus this clinic on SHALLOW WATER jigging and how to do the “Trevor Stroke”!

Our unorthodox jigging style has landed us thousands of fish including some absolute once in a lifetime specimens. As the saying goes, “Anybody can catch a big fish, but only the elite continually put big fish in the boat.” This is where the phrase, “location plus presentation” comes into play. And along with it comes equipment, jig size, line diameter, boat control and the list goes on and on. I have to say, from the time I’ve spent on the water this spring I have seen a lot of folks adapting to our style of jigging. And their testimonials have been AMAZING! But remember, even the Kit’s Tackle boat has tough days. Just like Tom Petty said, “Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks.” The absolute best thing about fishing is that we all dream of big fish, but if you pay attention, Mother Nature will hand you a gift every day you spend on the water. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the “Johnson Jig” we want to mention that this is just a style of jigging that works for us. This doesn’t mean this is the only way for jigs to work; it is just a rhythm that my father Kit pioneered back in the 1970’s. The absolute biggest secret to the “Johnson Jig” is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, LET YOUR JIG FALL ON A SLACK LINE!! I can see you scratching your head right now saying, “What”?? The first thing we do when we cast a jig out is throw the rod tip towards the water and let the line fall through the air. Then, before the next jig up, we reel in the slack line until it is almost tight, but not quite…so the fish doesn’t feel you.

So our rod angle between jig ups is low to the water whereas the traditional jig fisherman holds the rod at a 45 degree angle towards the sky letting the jig fall on a tight line. By letting your jig fall on a slack line you are doing two very important things:


•The jig falls naturally through the water column and looks much more realistic. •When the fish sucks your jig in, it has no idea the Glass Minnow is attached to a rod. You always hear walleye fishermen talk about that “thunk” when they get a bite. I have no idea what that “thunk” even feels like. Here’s where it gets crazy, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve felt a big walleye or trout bite. And that’s exactly the goal I’m trying to achieve because fish have such fast reflexes that if the line is tight and they feel resistance, they can spit a jig way faster than you can jerk the rod. And even if you do hook the fish, chances are it will be a poor hookset. When they suck your jig in on slack line the hook will be inside their mouth when you jerk the rod guaranteeing good hook ups! The trick here is, never let your jig sit around long enough a fish could pick it up and spit it out. You will learn to become critical line watchers, meaning the slightest “twitch” in your line before it hits the bottom means FISH ON! I fully understand this is a hard concept to grasp especially in writing so here is a link to a YouTube video of us explaining and demonstrating the “Johnson Jig” with the Glass Minnows at the Gates of the Rocky Mountains: or Go to YouTube and search “Learn how to jig fish with the Kit’s Tackle “Glass Minnows” Now back to the shallow water concept and why it has been so successful for us over the years. Fish go shallow for one reason and one reason only..TO EAT!! There might be hundreds more fish in deeper water but they are generally inactive fish that either will not bite or will take a lot of convincing. Here is a good example, if I was to take an aerial view of Helena, MT at lunch time during the week there would be people all over the place. There would be way less people at McDonald’s than spread out over the city, but the people at the Mickey D’s are there for one reason..BIG MAC, BABY!! It is no different in the water world, the shallow fish are active and hungry and if you get your jig in front of them they will crush it! The deep water fish already ate and are relaxing and digesting food…if you just ate half a pizza and were relaxing on the couch and somebody offered you another slice… NO WAY, right! In the post spawn period (May-Mid July) the deepest we have ever caught a 30’’ walleye is probably eight or nine feet. This is a very hard concept for some people to grasp, but trust me on this one folks! Here is some solid advice to go along with the “Johnson Jig” method to kick some major fish butt! -Boat control catches fish! People don’t realize how much work is involved to keep your boat in the proper position most of the day. And how many times have you seen a boat nosed into shore where the front angler can cast perfect and the back angler is up a creek!! We run the boat out of the back with the bow mount motor because if the guy in the back of the boat can fish…everybody can fish! To target the shallow water fish we create what we call a buffer zone. Every angler’s buffer zone will be different but here is how to find yours: **A buffer zone is the distance between your boat and the shoreline. You want to be as far away as possible so you don’t spook the fish, but also close enough that you can confidently and accurately cast your jig and hit within a few inches of shore. You wouldn’t believe the big fish we have caught in sub 3’! And on windy days you will have to shorten your buffer zone up to keep the rhythm going smooth. -EXTRA FAST ACTION RODS!! For trout we use ultralight power in a 5-6’ rod. For walleye we prefer a medium-light action in a 6-6’3” rod. -Use light reels! We use the Shimano Ci4 Stratic which is super light. Remember, everything in the world of jig fishing is finesse.

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-We use monofilament line (Stren Magnathin) because of its clear and forgiving properties. There is no need for a leader with mono and you also have some stretch which is your friend when fish are lightly hooked. If you have a light hooked fish with braid it is so direct that even if your drag is set perfect you will lose the fish. We use light line, for trout we use 4-6lb test and for walleye, bass, pike we use 6-8lb test. -Always use the lightest jig possible for the application. Lighter jigs are easier for fish to suck in. Lighter jigs also sink slower giving you more time in the strike zone. My dad, Kit, generally always uses 1/8 ounce and I am mostly a 1/4 ounce guy. Even in windy or tough conditions we stick to our guns on the small jigs. Our biggest recommendation is to use the lightest jig size that you feel confident with. -Fish are aggressive in the post spawn periods and we generally use plastics with the Glass Minnows like a Berkley Gulp 3” Minnow or a Power Bait 3” Ripple Shad. -Always fish with the wind! Fish orient into the wind because it brings the food. They will see your jig coming from further away and have a better chance of getting a smack at it. By sharing this information all we ask is that you be mindful and respectful on the water. I am so lucky and have been so blessed by fish of all kinds and sizes that I want the next generations of kiddos to have the same experiences. We are very passionate about advocating for the future of fishing and practicing selective harvest. And remember folks: “Always keep your gratitude higher than your expectations, and you will have great days” - Ray Wylie Hubbard Trevor Johnson is the co-founder of Kit’s Tackle “Jiggin’ the Dream” along with his father, Kit. “I am a true made in Montana fishing guide, an insane outdoor enthusiast, a wild man in the woods and on the water and they even say I’m a quarter mountain goat. I am a happy husband,a proud daddy to a beautiful little girl and two sweet dogs. When I’m not shoveling coal into the jig engine, you can find me on the water or leaving boot tracks in the wilds of Montana. June 2016 17

The Meanest Walleye By Jason Mitchell


make no secret for my love for shallow weed pattern walleyes. These fish are aggressive and will hit baits with force. Spend any time chasing muskies and sooner or later, don’t be surprised to find your retrieve interrupted by a big old “Walter” smashing down on a bucktail or spinnerbait. These weed fish don’t even act like the walleyes many of us were groomed to catch in our youth when we thought we had to use six pound test and fish as slowly as possible as close to the bottom as possible. These fish play by a different set of rules and more anglers have discovered that weed walleye patterns happen throughout the entirety of each summer. As a general rule of thumb, most walleye do seem to follow the old play book that is move out over deep structure and basins as summer progresses but there always seems to be a percentage of fish that stay in shallow weeds throughout the season. These patterns can be as fickle and fleeting as any other pattern but what makes weed patterns appealing to this angler is that they are often overlooked because many walleye anglers hate fishing weeds. We are essentially zigging when everybody else seems to be zagging. On so many fisheries from Saginaw Bay to the Missouri River reservoirs and many natural lakes in between, these populations of fish don’t get touched and that is what makes these patterns so good. Both flats and contours can hold fish and there are many ways to fish weed walleyes but there are a couple of presentations that really shine depending on the profile of the weed bed. Day in and day out, a swim bait with a large plastic paddle tail is tough to beat. The reason swim baits are so deadly around weeds is because of the large gap single hook that can be snapped and shredded through weed stalks and because the larger hook allows you to put more pressure on the fish and keep them hooked up. Now fluke style and curl tail baits can all work well but I have always been a fan of a large paddle tail because of the vibration and thump that comes off these baits. I believe this thumping tail does the best job of pulling fish up out of weeds because fish can feel the vibration. Fishing these baits is merely swimming and sliding along the edges and open pockets or swimming over the tops of emerging weeds while snapping or popping the lure when you make contact. This snap or pop not only cleans off hooks but also triggers fish. If anglers make a common mistake with swim baits and weeds, I would dare say that many anglers use too small of a swim bait. Four to five inch or sometimes larger swim bait bodies present an easy target, move water and slide and glide more slowly towards the bottom so that the bait can be swam just over the tops or through the edges of the weeds. Soft plastic swim bait options that have large paddles and offer that exaggerated vibration like Kalin’s Sizmic Shad are the meal ticket. The biggest challenge I find when targeting weed walleye through the summer is that weeds can grow amazingly fast through the summer and you often have to relearn even familiar locations. There are times when the weeds can literally grow six more inches in a matter of a few days. 18 - Hunting & Fishing News

Early in the season when the weeds are just starting to grow, fishing is relatively easy. As the weeds begin to reach for the surface, the windows of clean water become more precise and narrow. A particular size of swim bait or jig hook that was perfect a week ago can become obsolete when the profile of the weed bed changes. Finding the right lure and fishing the right angle so that the lure can be worked clean through the correct zone takes a somewhat methodical approach. When the fish are aggressive and cruising higher in the water column or roaming the open pockets or open water above the weeds, these fish are easy. When fish are tighter to the bottom or along the bottom edge of the weeds where they become deeper and sparser, the window is much more limited because you are going to need a presentation that lands in front of the fish. This is exactly why swim baits shine day in and day out because the depth can be manipulated and controlled so that the bait fishes down to the fish... In my opinion, swim baits are the perfect one-two punch when you combine hard baits into the repertoire. For covering water or picking off the aggressive fish that are riding high in the weed bed, you can use crankbaits or stick baits with a tremendous amount of success. Last summer, we filmed an episode in northeastern South Dakota’s Glacial Lakes Region near Webster where we caught some really big fish rolling Salmo Stings over seven to nine foot weed flats. The weeds nearly reached the surface and this particular shallow running suspending twitch bait proved deadly. You can cover more water with a faster trolling motor speed when using hard baits and most definitely wear out the aggressive easy to reach fish in a particular weed bed. What always shocks me however is the number of fish that can be tallied by going through the same weed bed at a slower more methodical speed with swim baits. Swim baits catch the fish that the crank baits miss. Why these two lure categories compliment each other so well stems from the dive curve each bait possesses. Imagine a standard crank bait or stick bait going through the water column during a retrieve. The dive curve is going to be half circle shaped. Snap the lure to get it down and the lure is going to be at the deepest about half way through a retrieve before it begins to rise towards the boat. With hard lures, you can clip the tops or sides of the weeds at a faster rate. Hard lures typically have more noise; more flash and can probably pull fish in from greater distances. These characteristics make them shine for finding fish, eliminating water and catching fish that are on. The swim bait takes a different route back to the boat that can be manipulated much more so than hard baits. The swim bait can be retrieved to take a similar half circle shaped route back to the boat in a much more subtler fashion but it can also be lifted or dropped to cover a portion of the water column that hard baits will miss and do so at a slower speed. When fish are tucked in tight to the bottom of the weed bed or holding tight along an inside or outside edge, you can reach these fish with a swim bait. The single hook is also easier to clean and free when you make contact versus the multiple hooks on a crank bait or stick bait. What is really neat about weed walleye is that they are typically homebodies in that they don’t move like fish on other patterns. When conditions change, these fish simply lay in the bottom of the weeds and don’t as often show the vertical or horizontal movement of moving up and down like structure fish that might move from twenty feet of water up into ten feet of water. Weed fish seem to hold in the same depth of water but merely move up or down in that specific depth. In other words, these fish don’t always seem to slide out over deep water or slide down the break, they merely quit swimming and drop to the bottom when they are off. Weed fish are often dark and brilliant in color, which points to a resident lifestyle where as washed out appearing fish are fish on the move. When these fish are on, they are extremely under rated predators that can out compete both bass and pike on many bodies of water. These fish won’t need finesse and that is what makes this style of fishing so much fun. Combine the aggressive nature of these shallow fish with warm water temperatures and you have a hard hitting, hard fighting fish that surprises you no matter how many you catch. Every year, I catch a few of these fish where the hit is so abrupt and sudden… the fight is so determined that I say to myself, “this can’t be a walleye.” Weed walleye are not your ordinary walleye.




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Say Hello To Success: Where to chase the Fish this Month Brought to you by


f there was ever a time to be fishing on Montana’s lakes and reservoirs, now is probably it. Rainbows and brown trout are plentiful and big, bass are right on the verge of exploding, kokanee are thick, big macks are everywhere, and the walleye and pike are ready to strike! Like clockwork every year, warm temperatures create a buzz in the air, and with all of this fishing opportunity, it’s hard to pick just one species to target. The good news is you can’t miss on finding fish this time of the year, and what a magnificent time to set up a camp near a lake or stream and spend some quality time in the outdoors. It’s time to go fishing before the weather gets too hot.

Hungry Horse Reservoir Westslope cutthroat trout are doing pretty well in Hungry Horse, with trollers finding cutts at the mouths of creeks. Graves Creek and Lost Johnny Creek are good bets for these trout. Terrestrials, mostly ants form the major part of these trouts late-spring diet, so you really don’t have to troll very deep. As the water warms up, trout will move into deeper and cooler water. Small Kamlooper spoons - 1/4 ounce or Thomas Cyclones - 1/4 ounce gold and red or Panther Martin spinners will catch the trout here. Try fishing the upper end of the reservoir as fish use the upper end as a staging area prior to running up the Flathead’s South Fork.


Here are a few choice waters for you to consider.


Lake Mary Ronan - This is a great area close to Missoula and Kalispell with excellent camping available nearby. Bass, kokanee, rainbows and perch can be caught now trolling along the western shorelines. Jigging tactics that worked while the lake was frozen are still working. A red/glow jig head or forage minnow tipped with corn or worm will excel, as will a small fly or jig below an attractor. There are plenty of sizable perch in the lake and they are scrappy and delicious. For the kokanee you will need your electronics to pinpoint the schools, trolling Wedding Ring spinner set-ups as well as Zimmer’s Tackle, which has earned it’s reputation and name here.

aggressive now, and in a pre-spawn mode. Most fish at this time are staging in the 10 to 15 foot water range and concentrated near structure - rocks, points, brush and deep water drop-offs adjacent to shallow water. They’re positioned to build nests and lay eggs, and with water temperature close to 58 degrees, you can expect to see the spawn soon and large females on beds. Plastic baits like Gulp or Powerbait worms and leeches are good choices for bass, as is a rattling crankbait in either silver, gold, blue or bronze colors. Spinnerbaits and anything that imitates a sucker or a kokanee is going to get eaten! Big bass reside here and those “regulars” fish here for a reason.

Drew Baker

Blanchard Lake - Near Whitefish, record-sized large and smallmouth bass inhabit these waters as fish in the 8 pound category can be caught here. Several lakes in the area are becoming “destination” lakes for big bass. Nearby Echo Lake, Smith Lake, or the Thompson Lake chains all produce bucket-mouths eager and willing to give you a good fight. In an area mainly known for its trout angling, bass fishing is slowly taking hold. Make your trip worthwhile by pitching jigs and worm rigs around the many docks and hidden structures that big bass love to hide near. The bass are super

West Yellowstone Montana The Madison will be running wild, especially as we get into the later part of June and water flows really increase. All rivers and creeks in this part of the state will be running up and some over their banks. The Slough, Soda Butte, Lamar, Pebble Creek and Gibbon areas will be raging as well, but primed for some great streamer fishing for rainbows, cutthroats and browns. Wading in marshy vegetation will be what it takes to make a good cast out. A black sparkle Wooly Bugger on a sink tip may get the job done. The Gibbon River in Yellowstone National Park should be fishable in the meadows and above Norris Geyser Basin. Fish attractor dry flies trailing a Beadhead Prince in the canyons, with Wooly Buggers and PMD’s as the top draws in the meadows until late June, when brown drakes start to appear. Yellowstone National Park also holds the Firehole River arguably the river in the Park that fishes the best in June.

Look for the caddis hatches in the afternoon and evening. In Grebe Lake, the shallow water along the shorelines produces a lot of grayling in early to mid-June, with a few chunky rainbow trout for good measure. Fish small Panther Martins and soft hackle Hare’s Ears for grayling; a damselfly nymph or small Wooly Bugger can interest larger ‘bows. This is a good place to learn how to fly fish. As always, check regulations as some rivers in the Park are limited to fly fishing only. Clark Canyon Reservoir - If it’s lake fishing that suits you, you’ll be able to camp and fish around the 5,000 acre Clark Canyon Reservoir, located near Dillon. Trollers can locate plenty of trout, (rainbows and browns), using rainbow patterned lures or brown trout colors that will be magical on this lake right now. Spin-fishers can also find success dropping jigs below until the weeds take over the shoreline. Large streamers will work with a fly rig.


Marias River - June is the time to fish this warm water destination, which can produce a varied bag of either walleye, catfish, sturgeon, smallmouth bass, sauger, or even a northern pike. Start your fishing near Loma, located along Hwy. 87 between Havre and Great Falls. Typically, nightcrawlers fished with enough weight to keep them on the bottom work best on these warm water fish. Check the latest fishing regs, as some of these fish mentioned are catch and release only. Channel catfish are found in the lower Missouri and lower Yellowstone Rivers and their tributaries, as well as Nelson, Tongue River and Ford Peck. They thrive in warmer waters and tolerate turbid conditions. They are also excellent table fare.


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Big Spring Creek - Along the mountain foothills outside of Lewistown lies the twisting bends and sparkling riffles of Big Spring Creek, one of Montana’s finest trout streams in Central Montana. An angler with waders and a fly box, loaded with flies that match an emerging hatch will find plenty of action now and catch fat brown and rainbow trout, and the crystal clear water, lush with aquatic vegetation is a perfect recipe to grow big fish in this system. Elk Hair caddis, size 16 to 18, Yellow Sallies or Copper Johns will catch a fair share of trout early in the summer. Big Spring Creek has become a natural emblem of Lewistown’s high quality of life and it’s residents pride and joy.


Panfish galore! Folks who live in Eastern Montana like to fish just as much as folks who live near Bozeman, Dillon or Hamilton, sometimes, they just have to travel a bit further to fish. There are many small ponds or reservoirs located throughout this region of the state that hold blue gills, crappie, bass, northern pike, perch, and in larger waters, catfish. Home Run Pond in Glasgow or Bailey Reservoir, 25 miles southwest of Havre can be fished from shore or by float tube. If you’re looking for big water, it’s Fort Peck, Fresno, Nelson, or Deadman’s Basin Reservoirs to target in June. Have fun and good fishing.

2016 Noxon Reservoir Walleye Study Plan Montana Walleyes Unlimited For the full report visit the Montana Walleyes Unlimited website

In 2015, a large amount of work was conducted regarding the Noxon Reservoir Walleye population. Approximately 50 genetic samples were submitted for laboratory analysis from two separate cohorts (2010 and 2012) of Walleye in Noxon in order to produce estimates of effective population size (Ne). It is hoped that these estimates will provide insight into the actual number of female Walleye which are successfully reproducing on an annual basis. A creel survey was also conducted on Noxon and Cabinet Gorge Reservoirs which, among other objectives, will calculate catch and harvest rates of sport fishermen in both reservoirs.

Estimates of Ne and effective numbers of breeding females will be compared to overall capture rates during spring and fall sampling, as well as catch and harvest rates collected during the 2015 creel survey. Additionally, mercury (Hg) concentration testing of Walleye and other sport fish was conducted on both reservoirs in 2015. It is hoped that the higher sample sizes obtained in 2015 will increase the precision of Hg concentration estimates and lead to more standardized consumption guidelines between the reservoirs. Finally, three contracted studies specific to Walleye in Noxon were conducted by outside researchers. Results from all of this work will be finalized and applied in 2016. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) will continue a spring sampling schedule for Walleye in upper Noxon Reservoir in 2016. During April and early May, FWP will conduct nighttime electrofishing surveys approximately two times per week in order to achieve certain objectives related to the Noxon Walleye population. The majority of fish sampled will be PIT-tagged (left cheek) and released alive. Routine gillnet monitoring will be conducted during October in Noxon and Cabinet Gorge Reservoir in order to continue to monitor trends of all fish species. Specific 2016 objectives for Noxon Walleye are outlined below: Objective 1- Continue to build on genetics based estimate of effective population size (Ne)... We hope to collect an additional 37 samples from the 2013 cohort, which will begin to show up in 2016 spring sampling as age-3 males. These fish will be approximately 410 mm (16”) in length or less, and will not need age verification. It is also likely that some age-3 fish will be captured during routine fall gillnetting and those samples will also be used and combined with otolith verified ages. Additionally, it would be useful to verify last year’s 2012 Ne estimate with additional samples... Objective 2- Continue to evaluate capture techniques... Since 2012, MFWP has conducted some form of spring sampling for Walleye in which catch per unit effort has been collected. Certain trends indicate that catch rates are highest during low-flow spring seasons, and in year’s with stronger classes of age-3 fish. 2016 may have both. By releasing most fish with PIT tags we will be able to compare captures of unique fish to re-captures and better gauge the amount of spawning fish in Upper Noxon... Contact: Ryan Kreiner, FWP Fisheries Biologist, Thompson Falls Area Office, 406-827-9320,





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June 2016 21 Nutrition for Hunters By Stefan Wilson Originally published at D ieting and nutrition fads are all the rage right now. Whether it is gluten-free, paleo, or any other of the multitude of dieting trends right now, many seem to understand the direct correlation between diet and health. While some people

Photo credit Brady Miller

need a special diet because of health issues or specific intolerances, everyone needs to be mindful of what they are eating. How should hunters approach nutrition? Is there a certain diet that is best for those who hunt in the backcountry? No, not necessarily. There is not a single diet that will meet everyone’s needs; however, there are some general principles that will allow hunters to reach their full potential. Additionally, there are some specifics when it comes to nutrition for training. When hiking the terrain of the backcountry, understanding what these are will really help you as a hunter reach your full potential and recover quickly.

NUTRITION BASICS There was a time when I thought I understood nutrition pretty well. I was wrong. Nutrition is a complex science that people dedicate their lives to researching and understanding. Yet, there are some fundamental basics that everyone — especially hunters — should understand when it comes to nutrition. Everyone needs to understand what a calorie is and know the difference between fats, carbohydrates and proteins. You should also be aware of the different ways in which your body requires all three (that’s right… your body requires all of these). CALORIES Calories are essentially a measure of the fuel that you receive from food and burn during activity. Without getting too technical, you

burn a certain amount of calories in a typical day (anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 depending on activity). When you are very active, this number goes up; when you are inactive, the number goes down. When you take in more calories than you burn, you gain weight; when you take in less calories than you burn, you lose weight. If you take in too few calories, your body goes into starvation mode: brain function reduces, energy levels go down, and lots of bad things start happening. The goal is to take in enough calories to properly fuel your body without overloading it.

FATS Repeat after me: “Good fats are good; bad fats are bad.” Fat is not a bad thing. It is not fat that makes you fat; poor eating and lack of discipline does that. Yes, trans fats, saturated fats and copious amounts of cholesterol are not good for you, but poly- and mono-unsaturated fats are very good for you. Additionally, fatty acids such as Omega-3 are crucial. Fats and fatty acids are necessary for proper organ function and joint health. Fats are required for assimilation of nutrients (getting nutrients where they need to go so that they are used properly). If you were to completely eliminate all fats from your diet, you could not properly absorb vitamins, proteins or amino acids. You need fat. Just make sure it is good fat. Good sources of fats are: nuts: peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc., seeds, fish, avocados, dark chocolate, eggs, olive oil, coconuts/coconut oil, yogurt

CARBOHYDRATES Carbohydrates essentially come in two forms (simple and complex) and are responsible for nutrient absorption (getting

nutrients from your stomach into your bloodstream). Simple carbs are those that absorb quickly like sugars and flour. Complex carbs digest slower and usually contain fiber. Simple carbs cause insulin levels to spike and cause your body to go into storage mode: holding onto fats and converting them to fat stores for use later. Complex carbs help insulin levels remain steady and help you go longer without feeling hungry.

22 - Hunting & Fishing News

You should always try to minimize simple carb intake with two exceptions: (1) immediately after a workout or other physical activity. The spike in insulin allows you to absorb and use protein and other nutrients so simple carbs immediately after physical exertion, when coupled with vitamins and protein, are a good thing; and (2) fruit. Fruit is loaded with simple carbs because of the natural sugars, but it is also loaded with vitamins and nutrients that sugars help you to absorb. You should get plenty of complex carbs as these are good for digestive health and efficient absorption of nutrients. Good sources for carbohydrates include: oatmeal, multi-grain bread, granola, vegetables, brown rice, quinoa

PROTEINS Protein is the building block of muscle fiber. Without protein,

your muscles cannot rebuild. Hunters are engaging in activity that requires muscle strength and endurance (carrying a pack, climbing steep hills and mountains, etc.), which means that hunters need more protein than those who participate in other outdoor activities. However, you cannot only eat protein and nothing else. Without carbs, you cannot absorb protein. Without fat, the protein will not get to your muscles. Protein must be consumed in conjunction with fats and carbs in order to maximize recovery and muscle rebuilding. Protein digests quickly so if you have a protein rich meal that does not also consist of fats and carbs, you will be hungry relatively soon. Foods that are rich in protein include: meats, nuts: peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc., mushrooms, greek yogurt, milk, beans

A NOTE ABOUT VITAMINS Vitamins are crucial for every aspect of your health and it is difficult to get the full array of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients in just your food alone. A multivitamin is a great addition to your diet to make sure that you are filling in all the nutritional gaps. You must understand, however, that you cannot eat like garbage, take a multivitamin and think that is all you need to be nutritionally balanced. Multivitamins are supplemental to a proper diet, not a replacement for it. NUTRITIONAL FORMULAS Now that we have a basic understanding of some of the fundamental elements of nutrition, here is some more technical information. First, it is important to understand how many calories are in each gram of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Here is how each one breaks down: Nutrient Protein Carbohydrates Fats

Calories 4 calories per gram 4 calories per gram 9 calories per gram

For someone who is active, the proper ratio of proteins, carbs and fats that are consumed on a daily basis should be determined based on the following formula: 1 gm protein/lb of body weight; 2 gms carbs/lb of body weight; and 0.2 gms fat/lb of body weight. Here is a real life example: I weigh 170 lbs. Based on the above formula, I should be consuming 170g of protein, 340g of carbs and 34g of fat daily. That means that I should be taking in roughly 2,346 calories per day. Yet, when activity increases or decreases, my caloric intake should also increase or decrease accordingly.

CALORIES PER GRAM For hunters, calorie per gram is an essential formula that you must know. This formula tells you how many calories (fuel) are in each gram (weight) that you are consuming. Why is this so important? If you are packing your food in your hunting pack, weight is one of the most important factors you can consider. If your food has a low calorie to gram ratio (low fuel, high weight), your pack will be needlessly heavy because you will have to bring more food to get the right amount of calories. CALORIC INTAKE WHILE HUNTING When you are hunting, you are also burning a ton of calories. Sheep hunters can expect to burn anywhere from 8,000 to 11,000 calories per day! Western elk and deer hunters can expect to burn between 6,000 to 9,000 calories (or more) per day. To be blunt, there is no way you can keep up with your eating. You need to eat foods that are high in carbs and fats while also having some protein so

that your caloric intake is high, your food sticks with you longer and your body is getting the nutrients it needs. A great rule of thumb is to bring food that provides at least 100 calories per ounce of weight. Some great snacks to have handy while hunting are those that are both high fat and high carb like: trail mix, jerky - either venison or beef (not a lot of carbs, but good fats and some protein), Pro Bars, Builder Protein bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Snickers, Granola

HYDRATION No discussion of nutrition would be complete without

talking about hydration. Water is the absolute most important thing you can put into your body. Without being properly hydrated, your other nutrition efforts are in vain. Also, without proper hydration, mental clarity, focus, proper organ function and memory all start to deteriorate. Many people get themselves into trouble in the backcountry because they let their hydration slip and then they get disoriented, confused and lost. You should be drinking 64 oz of water at a minimum every day and that number should go up at least another 50% while you are in the backcountry due to the increased exertion and time outside. Water may be heavy, but it will also save your life. When it comes to hydration, water is essential, but some other nutrients can aid in hydrating and recovering faster. Amino acids, sodium and potassium are all lost during perspiration. Replenishing these along with water will improve recovery (I like to use Wilderness Athlete’s Hydrate and Recovery formula as it was formulated specifically for those in the outdoors who need to replenish hydration levels quickly). Try to avoid the excess amounts of sugar found in many commercial sports drinks as they improve taste but serve no functional benefit beyond what is needed to absorb nutrients.

FOCUS ON THE BASICS It is hard to cover everything you should know about nutrition in one article. If you follow the information in this article, you will be well on your way to performing better, recovering faster and succeeding more. While nutrition and hydration are not as flashy as other forms of training and preparation, they make up the cornerstone on which everything else that we do is built. Eat right, train hard, drink water and hunt hard. June 2016 23

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Summer Time Angling By Drew Baker @montanatroutbum


hhh…Summer time in Montana. Days continually grow in length, and the heavy coat becomes less of an essential. The temperatures warm up from cold to comfortable to plum hot in the later months of the season. Tourists flood sidewalks in many of Montana’s historic towns, as do wade and float fisherman with many of Montana’s famed rivers. The rivers become a hub of activity in the summer months. Water levels drop and the water temps warm up as spring run-off wraps up. This not only benefits the angler who has spent the last 5+ months dealing with snowy, icy, rainy, and muddy conditions on the water, but it benefits the fish. Fish activity peaks once water temps are around the mid 50”s. They also don’t have to fight the swift run-off currents. But most importantly, they’re hungry. This is an excellent time of the year to be on the water trying to trick big trout into eating your bugs. Summer time in Montana is an outstanding time to fish dry flies due to the abundance of insect hatches that come off between late May-August. Rarely will you find yourself on water when fish aren’t looking up, sipping on fallen bugs, as clouds of insects hover just out of their reach. The famous Salmon fly hatch kicks off the summer feeding frenzy. Try fishing adult patterns during emergence, nymphs ahead of the hatch, and drowned salmon flies behind the hatch. Be ready for a giant trout to smash your dry fly. Big fish appreciate these giant bugs! So hold on! Although Salmon Flies make for a tough hatch to follow up, Caddis patterns are productive in the mornings and following evenings and PMD patterns work well in the afternoons. Golden Stones will prove to be productive on sunny days as well. Some other key hatches to keep an eye out for throughout the summertime are: Blue Winged Olive, Green Drake, Little Yellow May, Yellow Sally, Spruce Moth, Grasshopper (later in summer) and Terrestrials such as ant and beetle patterns. Although this time of year is dominated by flying insect hatch-cycles, don’t rule out sub-surface fishing. Streamer fishing and nymphing can both prove to be very effective if you’re caught on the water when the fish aren’t looking up. Try dead drifting nymphs and streamers. I personally have had the most success by casting streamers across a current and letting it drift downstream and back towards the bank I am standing on and stripping it alongside the undercut bank back towards me. When stripping streamers try different speeds of retrieval. Try these tips, and make sure to pick up these flies below at your local fly shop and you’ll be sure to have loads of successful Montana summer days! Dries to carry Golden Stones (8-12) Green Drakes (10-12) Caddis (14-18) PMD’s (14-18) Salmon Fly (2-6) Yellow Sally (14-18) Spruce Moth (10-12) Purple Haze Adams Grasshoppers (8-10) Chubby Chernobyl (8-10)

Streamers to carry Muddler Minnow (4-10) Wooly Bugger (4-12) Double Bunny (6-10) Leech patterns (4-10) Sculpzilla Sparkle Minnow

Nymphs to carry Prince Nymph (6-14) San Juan worms Pheasant Tail (14-16) Twenty Incher Stonefly Nymphs Pat’s Rubber Legs

June 2016 27


National Access Funding Cements Montana Elk Habitat, Public Access Project RMEF


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improving access to approximately 5,500 acres of surrounding public land in southwest Montana. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been instrumental in our ability to secure recreational access to Montana’s public lands,” said Leanne Marten, Regional Forester of the Forest Service’s Northern Region. “Recreation is a major component of Montana’s economy and access to our forests is so important. We are proud that Zekes Meadow was the first use of the 2016 LWCF’s Priority Recreation Access appropriations in the National Forest System.” “We are grateful to our partners for recognizing the conservation values of this particular project and its benefits for wildlife and public access,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “We also thank our congressional lawmakers for supporting LWCF funding and urge them to fully reauthorize this vital program currently set to expire in 2018.” Located in Granite County west of Georgetown Lake within the Rock Creek watershed, including its headwaters, the property consists of two inholdings on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. The southernmost portion features aspen-lined meadows and riparian habitat including Moose Meadow Creek which provides spawning grounds for westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout. The northern section includes a ponderosa pine-dominated forest, springs, wetlands and streams that are home to nearly 500 elk as well as moose, deer, grizzly bear, mountain lion and wolverine. As part of the transaction, RMEF conveyed the land to the USFS for management purposes. The project connected more than 15 miles of public trails on land that was previously difficult to reach. Hunters, hikers, anglers and others now have access to the trailhead and can park on the USFS property. “The landowners were willing to sell the entire property in order for the Forest Service to be able to extend public access across the land,” said Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Pintler District Ranger Charlene Bucha. “This access connects to an extensive system of trails within the Sapphire Wilderness Study Area and secures backcountry recreation for horseback riding, hiking, fishing, camping, and hunting.” LWCF Recreational Access Funding is used by federal agencies to secure access for the American public to its federal lands. Agencies work with willing landowners to secure rights-of-ways, easements or fee simple lands that provide public access, or consolidate federal ownership so that the public has intact places to hike, hunt and fish. In addition to LWCF Recreational Access Funding via the USFS, other funding partners include RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) and the Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust. RMEF uses TFE funding solely to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

HUNTING & CONSERVATION NEWS Record Landowner Demand For CRP Met With Extraordinarily Low Acceptance Rate

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Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that 800,000 acres will be enrolled through three different components of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Of particular note, USDA’s CRP general sign-up completed at the

Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS

end of February generated more than 1.8 million acres in offers, but was only able to accept 23 percent of the 26,000 landowner applications because of the program’s 24 million acre cap. As a result, Secretary Vilsack commented on the need for a larger CRP cap to meet landowner demand and natural resource benefits. In addition to the general CRP sign-up, Secretary Vilsack also reported 4,600 additional offers were made for 1 million acres in the new CRP Grasslands program. Only 100,000 acres were accepted for a meager 10 percent acceptance rate. Finally, an additional 330,000 acres were enrolled through continuous CRP sign-ups, which is in addition to last year’s record-setting 860,000 continuous acres enrolled. Vilsack later commented to AgriPulse on Thursday, “When Congress begins to deliberate the 2018 farm bill, they’re going to be faced I think with a demand to rethink the cap on CRP,” Vilsack said. “The deliberation should not begin with ‘You have to save an artificial dollar amount,’ but it should really look at what the demand and need is.” “While we have 800,000 acres of good news today, the larger message is one of missed opportunity,” stated Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever’s vice president of governmental affairs. “We had landowners come out in droves to voluntarily make a commitment to wildlife, water, and soil. Instead, America’s most successful conservation program – one with a 30-year track record of wildlife and natural resource benefits – was neutered by a 24 million acre cap.” “As we look toward the 2018 Farm Bill, we will be delivering Secretary Vilsack’s message of a strengthened CRP to Congress. America’s farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and hunters not only need a stronger Conservation Reserve Program, they want a stronger CRP, and the latest sign-up results demonstrate that fact,” added Jim Inglis, Pheasants Forever’s director of governmental affairs. CRP is a voluntary program designed to help farmers, ranchers and landowners protect their environmentally sensitive land. Eligible landowners receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland throughout the duration of 10 to 15 year contracts. Under CRP, landowners plant grasses and trees, and restore wetlands in watersheds across the country. The plantings prevent soil and nutrients from washing into waterways, reduce soil erosion that may otherwise contribute to poor air and water quality, and provide valuable habitat for wildlife. Vegetative cover established on the acreage accepted into the CRP will reduce nutrient and sediment runoff in our nation’s rivers and streams. About Pheasants Forever Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 149,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent; the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $634 million on 502,000 habitat projects benefiting 14.1 million acres nationwide.

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REGIONAL NEWS Hayden Lake Kokanee 101 By Rob Ryan Regional Fishery Biologist


okanee, a landlocked sockeye salmon, are relatively new to Hayden Lake. Since Hayden Lake kokanee stocking began in 2011, many anglers have caught on to this popular new fishing opportunity. As anglers discover this new fishery, many are asking questions to better understand how the fishery works. Common questions include: how many kokanee are stocked, why do I catch different size fish, and what’s the deal with these big red fish in the late summer? Here’s some information about Hayden Lake kokanee to help answer some of these questions. Hayden Lake is stocked with kokanee each year in May or early June. Originally 100,000 three to six inch kokanee were stocked. The number of kokanee stocked was since increased to 150,000 per year in an effort to provide more fish for anglers. The number of kokanee stocked has been balanced with a desire to provide large kokanee for anglers to catch. Kokanee tend to grow faster and reach larger sizes when there are fewer fish to compete with for food. Stocking rates in Hayden Lake are low with this in mind.

Rare Fish Spawns In The Wild Photo by Matt Breen

Biologists have some exciting news about the rarest of the endangered

fish that live in the upper Colorado River system. For the first time since work to recover bonytail started in the 1980s, they’re raising their own young in the wild. “This finding represents a major step forward in recovering the species and ultimately getting it removed from the federal Endangered Species list,” says Krissy Wilson, native aquatic species coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR). In spring 2015, Matthew Breen, Dr. Robert Schelly and Randy Staffeldt, researchers with the UDWR, found adult bonytail in Stewart Lake near Jensen, Utah. The lake is a managed floodplain that’s connected to the Green River. When the floodplain was later drained in the fall, the researchers found 19 young-of-the-year native chub. The tiny chub ranged from 1 to 2 inches in length. As the researchers analyzed their data last winter, they expected the young-of-the-year chubs they found in Stewart Lake to be roundtail chubs. As the researchers reviewed the data, though, they realized the size of the chubs did not fit with the timing of when the roundtail chubs would have spawned. (Young-of-the-year roundtail chubs would have been larger.)... The researchers sent the preserved specimens to Dr. Kevin Bestgen and Darrel Snyder at the Larval Fish Laboratory at Colorado State University...and to Dr. Wade Wilson at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources and Recovery Center in Dexter, New Mexico...Both analyses confirmed what the UDWR researchers were hoping: the specimens were bonytail. 30 - Hunting & Fishing News

The age when kokanee mature and spawn varies from lake to lake. In Hayden Lake, most kokanee become mature adults in two years. Anglers frequently catch both smaller one year old fish and larger two year old fish. Mature adult kokanee will spawn and die in the late summer and fall. When kokanee prepare for spawning they turn red and begin looking for somewhere to spawn. In Hayden Lake, red kokanee have been seen cruising shorelines and pioneering streams around the lake in August and early September. The number of kokanee that successfully spawn in Hayden Lake is unclear. Understanding kokanee spawning success will be a management focus in the coming year. Limiting the amount of successful spawning may be necessary to prevent kokanee from becoming too abundant and suffering from reduced size. Spawning timing and location varies in kokanee populations. The fish stocked in Hayden Lake are what biologists refer to as “early spawners.” This means they spawn in August and September and require streams for spawning. Hayden Lake has limited stream habitat for spawning, meaning that we can more easily control reproduction and limit population density. Hayden Lake kokanee continue to be larger than most other north Idaho fisheries. However, the length of the average kokanee caught from Hayden Lake has declined since the first big catches in 2013. Unfortunately, managing for consistent fish growth in kokanee fisheries isn’t simple. Growth is influenced by the number of kokanee in the lake, but also by weather, food production, the number and types of other fish in the lake, and anglers. Balancing all these factors with big kokanee in mind will continue to be a goal for the Hayden Lake fishery. Hayden lake kokanee fishing is at its best during the spring months. The timing of this fishery make it a great opportunity to dust off those winterized boats, gather your favorite fishing gear, and enjoy some nice spring weather.

REGIONAL NEWS Illegal Hunting Activity Nets Big Fine

Summer Seasons Set For South Fork Salmon And Upper Salmon Rivers On Tuesday, May 17, Fish and Game commission set the summer chinook season for the upper Salmon River and South Fork of the Salmon River to open June 18, 2016.

Chinook bound for those rivers are entering the Columbia River and aren’t expected to reach Idaho until June. It’s too early to get a good indicator of how many will be returning, according to F&G’s anadromous fish manager Pete Hassemer.

This equipment was confiscated recently from a poacher by Colorado Parks and Wildlife

T hanks to a tip to Colorado Parks and Wildlife from a concerned hunter, a Fruita man is guilty of numerous charges of illegal big game hunting on the Uncompahgre Plateau.

Melvin Weaver, 59, whose last known address was in Fruita, pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal hunting, take and possession of big game; two counts of illegal big game hunting without a license; and one count of illegally taking a trophy elk, also known as the Samson Law. He was originally charged with 13 violations. The plea was accepted by the Mesa County court on March 15. Weaver was ordered by the court to pay $14,832.50 in fines and to forfeit evidence seized by wildlife officers he used while committing the violations. These items included a Weatherby rifle, Polaris Ranger UTV and other hunting equipment. Weaver was also assessed 60 penalty points against his hunting and fishing privileges. Accumulation of 20 points or more can lead to a suspension of an individual’s hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 44 other states.

Hassemer said Wednesday that in a typical year only 15 to 20 percent of the fish have been counted at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River by mid May. However, he’s confident there will be enough summer-run chinook for a sport harvest, but it will likely be smaller than last year’s.

Anglers interested in the South Fork of the Salmon River season will want to stay alert because the season may not last long after the fish arrive. “When fish are there and conditions are good people catch a lot of fish,” he said. People can call Fish and Game hotline at (855) 287-2702 for updates on Chinook fishing seasons. Areas to open for summer Chinook fishing include: Upper Salmon River: from the Copper Mine boat ramp approximately 2.5 miles upstream from the mouth of the Middle Fork Salmon River upstream to the posted boundary approximately 100 yards downstream of the weir and trap at Sawtooth Hatchery south of Stanley.

Weaver, who did not have a hunting license, was living in a camper on the Uncompahgre Plateau west of Delta last October when he killed at least two bull elk. During the course of the investigation it was found that Weaver then called some friends to go up on the Uncompahgre Plateau and put their hunting licenses on the bull elk to claim them as their own. In Colorado, hunters can only tag animals that they have legally harvested themselves.

South Fork Salmon River: from the bridge on Forest Service Road 48 (Lick Creek/ East Fork South Fork Road) where it crosses the mainstem South Fork Salmon River just upstream of the confluence with the East Fork South Fork Salmon River, upstream approximately 32 river miles to a posted boundary approximately 100 yards downstream from the Idaho Fish and Game South Fork Salmon River weir and trap.

After receiving the tip about the case on Oct. 29, CPW wildlife officers tracked down Weaver and four others involved. Weaver was arrested on Nov. 3. The four other suspects involved have been cooperative in the investigation and charges are pending.

Areas will be closed by closure order signed by the Director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Garett Watson, the district wildlife manager who led the investigation, explained that the consequences for poaching wildlife can be severe. “During the course of a poaching investigation, wildlife officers can confiscate any personal property used in the unlawful hunting or taking of wildlife,” Watson said. “Not only rifles, but personal property such as vehicles, four wheelers and other hunting equipment can be confiscated and later ordered by the court to be forfeited by a defendant.” Watson also said that the tip about the incident was very helpful. Without the tip CPW might never have found out about the illegal activity. Anyone with information about wildlife crimes can call a local CPW office or Operation Game Thief at 1-877-265-6648. Tips can be made anonymously.

Fishing hours for Chinook salmon in the Upper Mainstem Salmon River is permitted from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mountain Daylight time. Fishing for Chinook salmon in the Mainstem South Fork Salmon River is permitted from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mountain Daylight time. Bag and Possession limits for the South Fork Salmon River and upper Salmon River are: Daily: Four Chinook salmon, only two of which may be adult Chinook Salmon. Possession: 12 Chinook salmon, only six of which may be adult Chinook Salmon. Season, statewide: No person may take more than 20 adult Chinook salmon statewide during 2016 salmon seasons occurring prior to Sept. 1. June 2016 31


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a b CHOOSING A DEER BOW c d By Mike Hanback

Matt “Flatlander” Cheever of the BIG DEER Hunt Team is an expert 3-D archer and bowhunter from Illinois. Matt’s tips for selecting the best bow for you will have you shooting pretty:

Draw weight: Used to be you wouldn’t hear guys confess to shooting less than a 70-pound bow. Today, there are lots of women shooting 50-pound bows and killing deer out past 40 yards. If we put our macho pride aside we’ll realize that today’s bows at 60 pounds have more energy and speed than the 70- to 80-pounders of years ago. Rule of thumb #1: is to be able to pull a bow back from the seated position while its poundage is maxed out, and then let it back down without causing a premature arrow release or going into convulsions.

A 60-pound bow maxed out is way more efficient than a 70-pound bow backed off to 62. Rule #2: You should be able to draw your bow while it’s pointed at the deer, without having to lift it or gyrate about.

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If you can’t pull a bow and then let down if needed without being detected by a big whitetail buck, then you have too much bow for your upper-body strength. The smoothness of a bow has a lot to do with the valley, or point, where the let-off (usually 65%) comes into play; the sharper the angle on the cam, the harder it rolls over, and thus the more speed generated. You need to find that sweet spot between smooth draw for your strength, but also to keep adequate speed and energy for a nice flat arrow trajectory.

There is currently a speed craze in the bow market, which is fine and dandy, but speed ratings from the factory don’t translate into a hunting package. Not long ago at a 3D shoot we pulled out a chronograph to measure arrow speed. A few shooters boasted about buying bows that supposedly shot 330 feet per second, but after a half dozen of us shot and tested, we concluded that the slowest bow there shot 265 f.p.s. and the fastest one shot 290.

The moral of the story is that by the time you get your sight, rest, quiver, stabilizer, etc. on the bow, you will not shoot the advertised speed rating. Get over it, it’s not that critical. My first deer with a recurve bow shot 160 f.p.s. and that deer is still just as dead. For deer hunting, quietness of a bow is second only to draw weight. If a bow is loud and puts off bad vibrations it can and will spook game and cause deer to jump the string. All bows make some noise--some a slap, others more of a prolonged twang. These things can be quieted the aid of silencers and stabilizers, but it doesn’t hurt to start with an inherently quiet bow. Draw length: For some reason, many people try to shoot a bow with a draw length that is too long for them. To get an idea of your draw length, stretch out your bow arm, make a fist, rest the fist against a wall and use a tape to measure from the wall to the corner of your mouth--28, 29 inches, etc. The best way to get your exact draw length is to go to a bow shop and have a pro measure you. Bow length: The measurements of a bow are critical, and largely affected by personal preference. Any bow longer than 38 inches axle to axle gets cumbersome in a tree stand; any bow shorter than 32 inches allows for little error in shooting technique and follow through. I tend to shoot a longer bow, and if you’ll notice target shooters do the same. A longer bow is more forgiving; it helps to compensate for less-than-perfect shooting form, and when you shake a little when you aim at a buck. A shorter bow may be faster and have more stored energy, but having great shooting form and making precise moves when drawing, aiming and following through are more critical. Brace height: The same can be said for brace height, or the measurement between the string and the back of the bow’s grip (when the bow is not drawn). Too short a brace height and a bow can be finicky and less forgiving to shoot; too long a brace height and you could give up too much speed and performance. I, and most of the hunters at BIG DEER, like to stay in the 6- to 7-inch range. Price: You can get a great bow at the top of the money spectrum, and you can get a cheap one at the bottom. We at BIG DEER don’t recommend either. Get the best quality bow you can afford, and the one that fits you and feels right in your hands. Stick with a company that stands behind their product and is readily available for parts and service. In this ever growing and saturated market, there isn’t room for poor quality, so most brands make a nice line of bows. There is nothing wrong with a base model, or last year’s hold-over models either.

The best way to shop for a new bow is to shoot a half-dozen prospects. Forget about the brand names, the fancy camouflage finish, cost… If possible stand 10 yards from a wall target, close your eyes and just release an arrow; the shock in your hand, the strain in your back and the noise in your ear (or better, the lack of any noise) will tell you which bow is the winner, and which one will help you kill more deer.

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British Columbia: Harold Smith By Mike Hanback Buck Mystery S ay “Canadian whitetails” and we immediately think of Saskatchewan or Alberta, but southeastern British Columbia has a

good population too, and some good bucks. BC is on my bucket list of places to hunt whitetails, and maybe combo for a mule deer, and our TV producers are researching potential opportunities.

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During our research I ran across an interesting old story about this BC buck. Is the gigantic non-typical shot more than 60 years ago a whitetail or a muley? Or maybe a hybrid? According to research and a blog by Dan Cole: “The Harold Smith buck from British Columbia has a long history of controversy…. Many antler experts and collectors…have long believed it to be a mule deer. For many years the Boone & Crockett club…would not allow the buck to be entered in either…(category because) there was no proof of the deer being of either species. The buck was harvested in 1951 near Invermere, BC. Whether it was a whitetail or a mule deer, if it had been entered into the record books, it would have taken the top spot for either species for a non-typical in British Columbia. The giant has 32 measurable

points with 71 3/8 inches of abnormal points, and it also carries a tremendous outside spread of a 33 1/8 inches!

Those are world class numbers whether for mule deer or whitetail. Latest word is the deer will be declared a whitetail by B&C and accepted with an entry score of 279 3/8 inches.” Just looking at the picture, the buck’s face and profile say, with little doubt, whitetail to me, and probably you too. But Cole says that is misleading because the rack is mounted on a whitetail cape. The antlers also look whitetail to me. It’s interesting that no people were ever found that may have seen the buck on the ground after the kill, and no, apparently no hero photos of the buck and hunter have ever been discovered. Says Cole, “Both could have been deciding factors in what has become one of the whitetail world’s greatest debates.” June 2016 35

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Written by Anthony Hauck Pheasants Forever’s Director Of Public Relations


first look at some of the shotguns, apparel and gear that debuted at SHOT Show and National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen Undoubtedly the biggest splash in the upland world is the return – or revision – of a classic, the Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen. Sixteen gauge shotguns are revered by some for possessing weight that’s closer to a 20 gauge while delivering a shot payload closer to a 12 gauge. The Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen checks in at 5 lbs. 13 oz. with an MSRP of $1,699.99.

Irish Setter Wingshooter Model #839 Speaking of upland classics, Irish Setter introduces a stylish addition to its venerable Wingshooter line. The #839 model carries a handsome side zip & buckle option. Non-insulated and waterproof, the #839 is sharp enough to double as dress boot, but don’t be fooled, its Irish Setter Prairie Sole will cut through the nastiest brush. Look for the #839 and its suggested retail of $194.99 on store shelves in July.

SportDOG Brand TEK 2.0 Bluetooth Capability

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Who says upland hunting isn’t high tech? This new feature will allow dog handlers to receive real-time audible voice updates on their dogs’ locations through any Bluetooth-compatible earpiece – up to 21 dogs, in fact. The crystal-clear, in-the-ear sound capability will be available in early 2016 to owners by downloading the software updated directly from SportDOG Brand. All TEK 2.0 products are Bluetooth-capable.

Franchi Catalyst Shotguns for Women The universe of shotguns designed specifically for women continues to expand with a pair of 12 gauge offerings from Franchi. The Franchi Instinct Catalyst over/under and Franchi Affinity Catalyst semiauto both feature A-grade satin walnut stock and are chambered for 2-3/4” and 3” shells. While custom created to fit women wingshooters, the Catalyst series brings a sense of familiarity as both bring elements from existing platforms. The Affinity Catalyst carries a suggested retail of $999 while the o/u is, naturally, a bit pricier with an MSRP of $1,599.

Hoppe’s Gun Medic Line Is your shotgun in a state of emergency? It might be time to call on Hoppe’s Gun Medic. The Gun Medic line features three musts for your field bag: a Cleaner & Lube Quick Fix (in 4-oz. and 10-oz. sizes) all-in-one to get your shotgun back in action fast, as well Gun Medic Cleaner and Gun Medic Lube as standalones.

Stevens S1200 Semiauto Shotgun The S1200, the first semiautomatic from Stevens (a subsidiary of Savage Arms), features an inertia-driven action and checks in at 6.6 lbs. Just as lightweight is the repeater’s $573 price tag. The Stevens S1200 will debut in five different variations that include black synthetic (26” and 28” barrel options) and walnut stocks as well as two camo patterns (Mossy Oak camo patterns—Shadow Grass Blades and Bottomland).

FABARM USA L4S – Left Hand To the “10 Percenter,” a new left hand offering is a big deal. New to FABARM USA’s L4S line this year are a pair of left hand models under the Initial Hunter banner.

Merkel 40E Field-Grade Side-by-Side Shotgun The 40E represents Merkel’s first new shotgun offering in nearly a decade. Weighing in at approximately 6.2 pounds, the new 40E is available in 12- and 20-gauge with either double triggers or a single-selective trigger and the choice of a straight, English-style stock or a pistol-grip stock (a 28-ga. version with a single-nonselective trigger and built on the 20-gauge frame is also available in limited quantities). There is a special introductory price of $3,999 before it settles closer to its MSRP of $4,595.

CZ Upland Ultralight Green CZ’s workhorse model gets a makeover with an anodized green receiver. But the changes are beyond aesthetic – the green variant’s 20 gauge (it also comes in 12 gauge) will tip the scales at a mere 5.8 lbs.

ALPS OutdoorZ Upland Game Vest X The ALPS OutdoorZ Upland Game Vest X is the latest in the evolution of bird hunting vests, continuing a trend of “vest meets pack.” This feature-loaded, 2 lb. 9 oz. option should satisfy flatlanders and chukar chasers alike, and will be available in early July 2016 for $139.99.

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Striking VS. Biting By Babe Winkelman

Iway magine coming home late and tired one night. You stumble your towards the bedroom, and not realizing your old faithful dog


Venison Southwest Salad By Kris Winkelman

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Ingredients: 1 lb venison ( ground) 2 tsp chili powder 1 tsp garlic powder 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained) 1 small onion (chopped) Lettuce and toppings - cherry tomatoes, peppers, etc. Dressing: 1/4 cup Chipotle mayo 1/4 cup milk 2 Tbsp lime juice 1 tsp sugar 1 cup tortilla chips (crushed) shredded cheese 1 lime for garnish (sliced) Fry venison with onion, chili powder, and garlic until done. Stir in black beans and heat through. In a large bowl tear leaf lettuce into pieces and add your favorite toppings like cherry tomatoes, red and green peppers. Pour dressing on salad and top with the venison and bean mixture. Garnish with lime slices 38 - Hunting & Fishing News

was waiting for you in the hallway, you accidentally step on his tail. He leaps up and snaps at you! He didn’t bite you and never will, but you caused a reaction. He snapped at you! Do you know you can catch fish by causing this same reaction? There are a whole lot of anglers that don’t know that you can often make fish strike that are not hungry and have no intention of feeding! Biting fish are those that suck in your struggling minnow, wiggling nightcrawler, or slow-worked plastic worm. But think about the time your slip-sinker live bait rig felt like it was hung a bit and you snapped it loose; then were surprised when a walleye or smallmouth blasted it. Or when you’re plastic worm got hung up in the cabbage weeds, and after you ripped it free a hefty largemouth inhaled it. I hope these or other incidents clued you in on the fact that sometimes “speed kills”. If I’m fishing for walleyes fairly slow with live bait or jigs, and I catch a few fish off a certain area then the action quits, I try to re-fish the spot with a faster strike-triggering presentation. If it’s not too deep, a crankbait bumped across the rocks or ripped through the weed edges will be tried. If the water is deeper, say 12 to 15-feet or more, my choice of lures to trigger strikes would be a blade bait such as a half-ounce Heddon Sonar or size 5 or 7 Jigging Rapala. Often several more fish can be caught after the slower presentations peter out. When fishing around almost any type of cover it’s usually wise to try to bump or tic it whenever possible. A spinning blade changing its cadence after it bumps a weed, or a crankbait glanced off a rock can also be great triggering actions. I’ve seen times when more aggressive pops when fishing a float and jig for crappies pays off. Or when slow hops of a plastic frog over surface-blanketing cover that turn into fast rips with pauses over pockets, turn out to be the key for summer “slop bass”. Even when using high speed retrieves for musky or pike, I often troll my way out of the area to give them a faster look at a lure; and this has paid off many times. Don’t be locked into certain speeds you think are best. Experiment! Often that little extra speed or change of direction is just what the “Doctor ordered”...for any species. Good Fishing!

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Spinner Rig Secrets By Dan Johnson

Lindy Fishing Tackle

S pinner rigging is sometimes pigeonholed as a warm-water technique best suited for summertime scenarios, but the tactic catches walleyes all season, especially if you tweak your tackle to match the situation.

For example, Lindy’s Jon Thelen tailors blade size and style to the conditions at hand. “Early in the season when walleyes are feeding on smaller prey, I start with a size 3 or 4 blade,” he says. “As juvenile baitfish mature later on, upgrading to a size 5 can mean more strikes. “Willowleaf styles mimic much larger food items than Colorado and Indiana blades, which makes them perfect whenever walleyes are feeding on bigger baitfish, such as on the Great Lakes.” Snell length—the distance between sinker and spinner blade—is another important but consideration that’s often overlooked. Fellow spin doctor and walleye guide Mike Christensen changes the length of his snell depending on the fish and conditions. “Long fluorocarbon snells stretching 72 inches, like those on the Lindy Spinner Rig and Crawler Harness, are ideal for clear water and spooky fish,” he says. “Shorter snells, like the 36-inch mono leads on Little Joe’s Red Devil lineup of single- and double-hook harnesses, work well in stained conditions, as well as for casting or trolling through weeds.” By paying attention to such picky details and stocking your tackle arsenal with a variety of rigs and components, you can match your tactics to virtually any situation—and spin up more walleyes all season long. - See more at: June 2016 39


D o you sight in rifles? Do you shoot at long range? Do you spot for and call other peoples shots? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you might benefit from the convenience

and functionality of a reticle eyepiece. Prior to using one, I questioned its significance and passed it off as a luxury accessory. I was wrong. In fact, I was so wrong, now, I actually find it annoying to not have one when at the range. Used in conjunction with the Razor HD 85mm spotter, range work, calling shots and spotter/shooter communication become seamless. It’s essentially like having a ruler in your spotting scope — which comes in quite handy. Just like many of our riflescopes, At the range, with a Razor HD spotting scope and 30X WA ranging reticle eyepiece. the 30X Wide Angle Reticle Eyepieces are available in MOA or mrad configurations to match the reticle subtension markings and turret graduations in your riflescope. Here are three scenarios where a reticle eyepiece has a significant, positive impact on your shooting.

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1. Sighting in: “Hey man, where did that last one hit?” Instead of guessing, “Well, you’re about 6 inches high and 8 inches right.” You can say “You’re exactly 5 MOA high and 9 MOA right. Why – because you measured it. Since the shooter in this scenario has MOA-based turrets, they can dial the exact correction you measured with the spotter and get zeroed faster and more efficiently. You just saved time and ammo. 2. Validating load data: When trying to get the most accurate drop chart possible or compiling data for a custom turret, one of the most important steps is validating your data. You may find your initial set of numbers consistently generates hits that are low or high (at the furthest distance you can consistently group shots). For this scenario, we’ll say that’s 600 yards. With the reticle eyepiece, simply measure the average distance between your impacts and point of aim. You can then go back into your ballistics program, make the adjustment, and bam! — You’ve got accurate dope. 3. Measuring wind drift: Whether punching paper, shooting steel gongs, or hunting, the wind is a variable that can affect the path of your bullet. Being able to accurately measure wind drift of impacts with your spotting scope’s reticle and relaying that information to the shooter, makes follow up shots to a first-round miss much more timely and effective. Through experience and practice with concrete measurements, you’ll become better at reading the wind — hopefully resulting in more first-round hits. If you haven’t before, consider integrating a reticle eyepiece into your optics arsenal. You may find it as useful as I did. 40 - Hunting & Fishing News

June 2016 41

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Measuring Group Size – Brownell’s Shooting Tips By Barry B. Snell


ow that spring is upon us... shooters in the less temperate regions of the U.S. are dusting off their range bags, digging out the shootin’ irons, and heading out to the nearest range to brush up their skills. When you go, one thing you need to be armed with is the knowledge of how to measure shot groups. Group size is the main measurement of our shooting abilities because it allows us to judge our personal performance or our gun’s capabilities. The easiest and most commonly used method of measuring shot groups is the “center-to-center” method. This is simply finding the distance between the centers of the bullet holes farthest apart on the target. Finding the center-to-center measurement is done best with a caliper. Since we don’t usually require an ultra-precise, ten-thousandths-of-an-inch measurement for group size, an inexpensive caliper like the Lyman dial caliper (#539-832-212) is more than adequate for the job. If you don’t have a caliper though, a ruler that measures down to at least 1/16th of an inch will work just fine. To begin finding group sizes, you must first know the diameter of the bullet you’re shooting. If you’re shooting a bullet designated in inches, like the .308 Winchester or .45 ACP, you’re already in business since the caliber is the diameter. If you’re shooting a metric bullet, like a 6mm or 9mm, you’ll need to do a little converting: 1 mm equals approximately 0.039″. So, for example, a 9mm bullet is about 0.35″ in diameter. Once you know that, measure your group from the edges of the bullet holes farthest apart on your target, as shown: The calipers read 1.818″. This four shot group was made by a .308, so the next step is to subtract the bullet diameter from the group diameter. In this case we have 1.818 minus 0.308, which equals a group size of 1.51″, from the center of each of the farthest holes. Here’s another example: In this instance, the calipers measure 0.834″, and the bullet was a .308 again. So we have 0.834 minus 0.308, for a group size of 0.53 inches, center-to-center. It’s as simple as that! Measuring your groups will help you evaluate your own shooting for the day, but to take the most advantage of group sizes, you should keep track of them over time to see if you’re getting better or if you need to change something – or to track a gun’s accuracy. To do that, you can use a log book, like one of the Brownells Modular Data Books. During each range session, simply write down the group sizes you shoot, along with the firearm and cartridge information, and your distance from the target. The Brownells data book even has a place to draw a sketch of the group as it appears on your target so you can track points of impact versus points of aim in various conditions. Collected over time, this data can help you measure your performance, the accuracy of your firearms and cartridges, the life of your barrels, and it can even help you diagnose problems – a topic for a future article. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. When you start measuring your groups and keeping track of them, you’re collecting the data you need to start squeezing every ounce of performance from yourself and your firearms.

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5 Trolling Tips For More Walleye I

By Dan Johnson Lindy Fishing Tackle

t’s hard to beat trolling for putting walleyes in the boat when the fish are scattered along structure or spread out in open water. Yet there’s more to this simple and deadly approach than throwing a lure behind the boat and hitting the throttle. To help you take your game to new heights—and catch more fish on every trip—we offer the following five top tips from some of the masters of the trolling trade. 1. Hybrid Power Crankbaits and spinner rigs are top trolling presentations, but longtime guide Jon Thelen often spices things up by pulling a Lindy Lil’ Guy hybrid rig that blends the benefits of both. The 36-inch, pre-tied rig is comprised of small, hard body, five flashy beads and a two-hook crawler harness strung on 14-lb fluorocarbon. Collectively, the combination yields hard-wobbling, side-to-side movements plus the tantalizing attraction of live bait. “It’s the best of both worlds,” he says. The rig has many applications. “Because it gives the fish something they’re not used to seeing, it’s great when everyone else is pulling spinner rigs on a popular lake,” he offers. “When the crowd is trolling blades and you come along with a hybrid putting off different flash and vibrations, the fish have to check it out.” Thelen notes that the Lil’ Guy performs well at speeds from .3 up to 2.5 mph. “You can fish it any way the walleyes want it,” he says. 2. Inside ’Eyes When presented with some type of fish-holding cover such as a lush weedbed or grove of submerged trees, most walleye fans are prone to plying the deep perimeter. And while the outside edge can certainly hold plenty of fish, the inside edge typically sees far less pressure and produces its fair share of walleyes as well, including super-size behemoths. On mighty Lake Oahe, for example, veteran walleye guide Brent Kemnitz often tackles the interior treeline, boldly towing a variety of presentations where other trollers fear to tread. “Inside edges hold walleyes throughout the summer,” he says. “Never overlook them, especially when the walleyes outside edge is getting pounded by an armada of other anglers.” While slip-float rigs and casting programs are worthy options on the edge, Kemnitz favors trolling when covering water is key. “Walleyes holding just inside the timber aren’t shy about rushing out to crush lures trolled tight to the edge,” he says. “And when the fish are scattered along the treeline, you can put your bait in front of way more fish by trolling than you can casting or bobbering.” Kemnitz’ go-to inside trolling tactics include pulling Original Lindy Rigs and Lindy Crawler Harnesses behind bottom bouncers, though Lindy No-Snagg sinkers are another weighting option for skirting snag-ridden timberlines. Crankbaits like the Lindy River Rocker are killers, too. The banana-shaped baits yield a wide, rocking wobble that calls out tree-hugging walleyes. “The bait’s curved shape and relatively small, protected trebles let you tick the edges of timber with fewer snags than other cranks,” Kemnitz adds. Depending on the lake, both long-lining and planer boards can be great options for getting rigs and baits way from the boat. 3. Weighty Decisions Unless you’re fishing shallow water, close to the surface, or pulling a deep-diving crankbait, you need some type of ballast to get your lure or bait to the strike zone. Top guide and tournament contender Mike Christensen tweaks weighting options to catch more fish every trip. When tracing tight contours such as steep, twisting breaklines, he often deploys bottom bouncers. “They’re great for pinpoint positioning when you’re trolling presentations like spinner rigs along well-defined structure,” he explains. In extremely clear water, however, stealthier systems such as lead-core line can be a game-changer with spinner rigs and crankbaits like the Lindy River Rocker, he notes. “It’s not as likely to spook walleyes as other weighting systems in these conditions, and also gives your baits and lures unique actions,” he explains. “Just don’t try slow-trolling lead-core, or it will sink to bottom.” Lindy No-Snagg Slip Sinkers are excellent alternatives to bottom bouncers, both threaded on the line and fished as droppers on three-way swivels. Their legendary ability to traverse tangled branches, rocky bottoms and other water hazards makes them a great choice for snaggy cover and structure. When trolling shallow water or over the tops of emerging weeds, a simple split-shot can be all you need. For example, St. Louis River guide Charlie Nelson pinches a size 7 split shot ahead of a Lindy Crawler Harness when trolling shallow off-channel flats. And sometimes a mixture of everything fits the bill. “To thoroughly work the area surrounding a breakline, I might run a bouncer along the drop-off, a rig or two behind in-line sinkers over deeper water to check for suspended fish, and pull another spinner over weeds at the top of the break behind a split shot or bullet sinker,” he says. 4. Fast And Furious When big-water walleyes are on the bite in high-visibility conditions such as sunny skies over gin-clear water, Lindy guide and tournament ace Jason Muche zips crankbaits and spinner rigs over their heads to trigger reaction strikes. “Big walleyes can be especially hard to fool in clear water,” he explains. “Putting them into chase mode makes them more likely to take the bait.” ...“If the fish are suspended 20 feet down over 30 feet of water, I want my baits at 16 or 17 feet,” he says. He also ratchets up trolling speed with either presentation. “With a Lindy Crawler Harness, I bump it from the traditional 1 to 1.1 mph range up to 1.3 or 1.4 mph,” he says. “And with a hard-wobbling crankbait like the Lindy River Rocker, I speed things up from 2 to 2.5 or more miles per hour.” In tough-bite conditions such as after the arrival of a major cold front, Muche takes the opposite tack. “On Green Bay, Lake Winnebago and many other systems, post-frontal walleyes sink to bottom and become very lethargic,” he says. “I slow things down to 1 mph and drag a Lindy Rig or Old Guide’s Secret 2-Hook Drift Rig tight to bottom.” The setup includes a 1-ounce Lindy Rattlin’ No-Snagg Sinker. “I put the rod in a holder and set the depth so the sinker occasionally ticks bottom and kicks up small clouds of sediment,” he says. “The noise and puffs of mud get the walleyes’ attention, and when a juicy crawler or leech comes along, they just can’t resist it.” While No-Snaggs shine threaded directly on the mainline ahead of a barrel swivel, in this scenario Muche prefers rigging them on a 1½- to 2-foot dropper below a three-way swivel. The trailer ranges from stock-length Original Lindy Rigs and crawler harnesses to extended versions for extremely tough bites. “To lengthen the trailer, simply add a 10- to 15-foot lead of 8-pound fluorocarbon between the three-way swivel and the rig,” he notes. “If the bite is really brutal,” he adds, “Get rid of the three-way and tie your dropper to one end of a barrel swivel, with the other end sliding freely on the mainline. Add a second swivel at the end of the mainline as a stopper, and tie your rig to that. With this rigging, you can give walleyes time to run with the bait, without feeling any resistance from the sinker.” 44 - Hunting & Fishing News

June 2016 45

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Montana Hunting & Fishing News - June 2016  

The complete June 2016 issue of the Montana Hunting & Fishing News.

Montana Hunting & Fishing News - June 2016  

The complete June 2016 issue of the Montana Hunting & Fishing News.