Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Yesterday before an overflow crowd in a ballroom no less on the MSU campus the state's Highest Court was forced once again to consider the constitutionality of the Montana Stream Access Law...Which in the simplified version grants access to any moving water so long as access is gained from public land and that said accessee stays below the high water mark.
Notwithstanding most landowners are good to go with this greedy bastards such as James Cox Kennedy and Huie Lewis--rich pricks beyond comprehension--just cannot stand the thought of someone enjoying himself fishing, for cripes sake, the fiefdom. Like HOW DARE YOU...So here we go again...No matter that this has been litigated to death (both the above DHs have lost countless times) over the past several decades the Chief Justice promised a ruling in the next two months or so...For the rest of the story click the link above...if you dare test your sanity that is...
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
...aka Beaverhead High Bridge Boat Trap finally got a much needed face lift. Thanks to a bunch of us finally saying "enough already" and sending off a barrage scathing e-mails to MTFWP officials and staff; rumor has it even Senator Jon Tester, Steve Bullock (current MT Gov) and maybe a few other high ups got our message. Anyway though we'd been bitching for several years once the salvo hit took only a few days to git 'er done...As you can see in the BEFORE shot above dodging the rocks took some doing and more than a little luck...especially during high water (here the river is running out the dam about 50 cfs; typical summer flows range around 800 to 1000 cfs.
As an old nemesis liked to say..."Much Improved"...Sorry, inside joke, but I'm sure you get my drift...
Monday, April 22, 2013
Less than a mile from campus a student at Salish-Kootenai College on the Flathead Indian Reservation was mauled by a sow grizzly with cubs; proving once again you really should pay attention when out and about in Griz Country...for the rest of the story follow the link below.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
My 9-year old son, Garrett, shot his first turkey today and the excitement was something else. Today was his first time ever Spring gobbler hunting. The mentored youth hunting opportunities make for quite an adventure. The morning started with preparing all the necessary items to keep a nine year old boy content and concealed in the woods. We packed a lunch and drinks, two chairs, a pop-up blind, extra clothes (the temps were in the thirties with expected winds) and of course the gun, shells, and license. Wake-up was at 5:15 am and although tired, I think the excitement made for a quick rise and shine.
The walk to where we were hunting was approximately 35 minutes, but a little steep for small legs. We were finally approaching the spot where I wanted to set up the blind, when I noticed some silhouettes in the trees just on top of the ridge. We immediately stopped and back-peddled to get behind a small cedar tree along the edge of the field. The morning light was fast approaching and I wondered if I could set up the blind without bumping the roosted birds. I then realized my son would have a hard time keeping still like a seasoned hunter, and took that chance.
Now I have the blind set up, birds within site, and a very excited young boy. What else could two hunters want on the first morning of spring gobbler season. Not expecting this comment, Garrett says, "Can I have my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Dad ? I'm a little hungry. We continued to watch the birds for fly down and Garrett quickly devoured his sandwich. Within minutes, we saw the birds leave the roost and land twenty yards from our set-up. I handed the shotgun to Garrett and told him to get ready, the turkey was coming around a blow down just in front of our blind. The gobbler walked a path right on top of the ridge and within seconds, was right in front of us.
Caught up in the excitement, I said "shoot him, make sure your aiming for his head and neck, shoot him". The gobbler walked behind some barberry shrubs and Garrett said " He's behind that tree." Several more steps and the Tom was in the clear, his beard dangling. The shot rang out, but afterwards neither one of us remember hearing the sound of the gun. With the Turkey flopping around, Garrett said "I got him, Dad !
A father and son high five, lots of smiles, and a moment where one realizes a memory had just been made. Despite the gun shot, the other birds that had flown down from the roost were walking around in the middle of the field and we just sat there watching five more gobblers establishing what seemed like their pecking order as they chased and flogged each other across the large open field. Once the birds were out of sight, we walked over and claimed our turkey. The bird weighed in at 21 pounds, eight and a half inch beard, and 7/8 inch spurs... not bad for this fine young hunter. One only hopes this is enough to start a lifetime of hunting memories with Dad.
...Story and Photo, courtesy Shawn Nicewonger.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
...is often fleeting. All sunny and warm feeling one day; downright winter-like the next. For the past while now it's been way more winter-like (cold, leavened with lots a icy wind) than even us hardened Montanans are used to...two mornings this week the porch thermometers dipped to single digits, day time highs barely made it into the 30s...wind chills...hell, who knows...who wants to anyway. But the good news is some signs of spring...well even the worst blows can't hold 'em in check. Big Hole's open and fishing pretty good; streamers and nymphs rule most days but several guide buddies report outstanding skwala fishing--purple chubby seems to be the hot fly but please don't spread it around.
Mountain bluebirds are back in force, ditto the sandhill cranes, long-billed curlews, ospreys, ground squirrels everywhere, ducks and geese are paired up and already settin nests...sage hens are all but done breeding, trees budding and wildflowers--while not many in bloom yet--still there are some and lots of green plants poking heads even despite a few scant inches of snow...As they say in Hell, North Dakota and, yes, even here in Montanay...
...Ain't spring yet but you can damn sure see it from here..stay tuned.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
But the big news we finally relocated a lek we'd been searching for two springs. Fearing the worst, that some unknown disaster might have wiped out the population you can imagine our elation at finding instead simply a change of lek address. By the time we found it in late morning only a half dozen males remained, apparently played out from the rigorous early morning festivities.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Monday, April 8, 2013
|CCR trout are fat and happy, as this 1 1/2 year old rainbow clearly shows.|
Biologists are now looking into the possibility things might even be better simply be putting more emphasis on spawning trout which have the wherewithal to abandon the often futile efforts of spawning in the lake, instead run up the Red Rock River (as wild trout more often do). So last July about 109, 500 trout of wild origin along with about 176, 350 plants spawned and raised at the Ennis National Fish Hatchery from domesticated brood stock were planted in the lake. Whether or not spawning trout in the wild is worthwhile over the next several years all young of the year and age 1 trout caught in the sample nets will undergo testing. The hope is the long term advantages outweigh the increased effort enough all the plants in CCR will eventually come from wild stock.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Data suggested survival rates and growth were directly related to drought (low water) and poor timing of plants. Timing stocking to coincide with peak zooplankton, the primary food source for young trout, would seem to give the plants a better chance than dumping in early June (as had been the policy for decades) regardless the conditions.
So beginning in 2011 and continuing in 2012 stocking was indeed timed to coincide with peak zooplankton levels which occurred both years in July. The results were perhaps better than expected both years; but the 2011 year class is one of the stronger cohorts since 1990 and will likely be the dominant age group in the reservoir for the next several years.
How fast do CCR trout grow? Pretty damn fast: 1 1/2 year olds typically range between 17-19 inches; 2 1/2 year olds range from 18-22 inches, though it make take as many as 6 years to attain weights of 7-10 pounds.
For the rest of the story, stay tuned.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Terry and son, Todd, fished the Bighorn this week reporting 'great dry fly stuff the first day' and 'wind came up second day but we pretty much hammered 'em on nymphs'...take into consideration both are pretty good hands when it comes to chucking flies--top or bottom--still even us duffers should have fun.
Justin reports the Beav is fishing okay but 'river is so low, you gotta watch out not running over the fish' thanks rain/snow gods and, a special thanks goes out to the dam operators for not letting at least enough water out the gates over winter to cover trout dorsals...really appreciate it.
On another track buddy Shawn's outstanding Brittany bitch, Zoey, recently birthed 9 fat healthy pups--6 male and 3 female. Trust me, the breeding is about as high falutin' (pedigree and performance wise) as bird dog breeding gets. If you are in the market give him a call at (406) 683-5426 or (406) 925-9937.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
With the temps soaring of late well into the 50s and even 60s--68 this afternoon, imagine--as you would expect the big lake is thawing out fast--about 50% ice free would be my guess--the bite should be really crankin' but...As I learned long ago in the world of fly fishing "shoulda" is not a word you can hang high hopes on...In other words, this afternoon mighta shoulda been a hot time though it pains me to confess I managed to fool not a single trout--nada, nothing--but it was a nice day and after dealing with the TAXES last week or so, well like I've said before "who needs a silly ol' slimy trout...Right.