Tournament fishing season set to begin
By Hookemharry


With Montana’s general fishing season opening this Saturday and the angling year getting into full swing, it’s a good time to mention some of the fishing tournaments you might want to compete in during May and June.

Northern Pike anglers who are waiting for the pike tourney that normally is held at Seeley Lake will be disappointed. The word I have is that it won’t be held this year.

If you want to compete in a pike tourney, you will have to head for Fort Peck Reservoir. The Billings Chapter of Montana PikeMasters is holding its second annual pike tourney out of the Big Dry Arm’s Rock Creek Marina June 21-22nd. If you enter before Tuesday, May 21, the entry fee will be $105 per team. After that date, it goes to $135. If the tournament fills, the total purse will be around $6,000. Call Mike Spear at 406-248-1226 for more information and to enter.

The Montana Walleye Circuit kicks into gear with the Fresno Walleye Challenge Friday and Saturday. The water level is projected to be about one foot higher than last year’s tournament.

The number of entries is capped at 75 two-person teams and they still have a couple of openings. Call Mike Barthel at 406-265-2016 to enter. The Rock Creek Walleye Tournament on Fort Peck will be held June 8-9. Call Steve Harada at 406-653-1463. The Tiber Walleye Tournament is June 22-23. Call Austin Gifford at 406-736-5348.

Closer to home, the Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival is slated to be held June 29-30. This year’s tournament is boasting a $10,000 first place cash prize. Tournament director Doug Breker said he already has close to 100 entries. The field will be upwards of 135 teams. During the past couple of years, the bite has been hard to come by at this tournament. It has been held in July in those years. So Breker decided to move it into June in hopes of holding the catch and release tourney when the walleye bite is on.

The annual Sunrise Rotary Fishing Derby will be held June 8 on Hauser Lake. Call Duey Bruce at 406-442-4490 for tickets.

For bass tourneys, log on to  www.bigskybassers.com.

Also, the annual Kids fishing clinic at Lee Metcalf will be held June 8. Deadline for applications is Monday May 20 and can be obtained from Bob Wards and Sportsman Surplus in Missoula and at Rhinos in Florence and Ace Hardware in Stevensville.

WATER CONDITIONS:

Moisture conditions are improving — at least in Glacier Park. According to Associated Press, the park last week received upwards of 50 new inches of snow. In the past 10 years, only the record-breaking winter of 96-97 was comparable to the current snow pack and moisture conditions.

It not only slowed the snow-clearing effort on the Going to the Sun Highway, but also has caused concern for possible flooding if the mountain snows begin melting too fast.

Trout Unlimited and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are teaming up to make sure that more water from the Jefferson River that goes into irrigation ditches actually gets to the farms. A new polymer called Canal Seal has been used in the Valier area for the past three years successfully. The material creates a negative charge along the bottom of the ditch. The sediment in the first bit of water that flows down the ditch is dragged to the bottom and creates a seal that can help save up to 70 percent of the amount of water normally lost to leakage.

TRAP SHOOT:

In case anybody is counting, the 300 shooters that participated in the Ron Hoppe Memorial Tournament held at the Missoula Trap and Skeet club this past weekend shot over 200,000 rounds.






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