Fish Guy raising funds for HOFNOD
By Hookemharry

Posted: August 22, 2002

By now, you know if you were successful this year’s Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks license and permit drawings for moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, special deer, special elk, deer B and antelope.

In a little over two weeks – Sept. 7 – the deer, antelope and elk archery season starts in Montana. Sage, sharp-tailed and mountain grouse seasons begin Sept. 1 along with partridge season.

It is always hard for me to believe how fast the summer goes as we head into another hunting season. Even though a lot of folks are gearing up to hunt, there is still a lot of good fishing left.

In fact, my buddy Les Rutledge – who is better known as “The Fish Guy” – is just ending his annual float to raise money for the Hooked on Fishing Not ON Drugs program. Rutledge has spearheaded the program to area schools for the past several and has an ambitious goal to increase the number of classes in 2003.

With budget cuts in our public school system, it has left the Fish Guy no choice but to swim upstream, so to speak, and find creative ways to get money donated to help his program. The annual float is one of those ways.

Equipped with the Kodiak model of a WaterMaster Raft and an anchor system from Blackfoot Manufacturing, Rutledge started out last Saturday floating down the Blackfoot River from Lincoln to bring water awareness about HOFNOD.

Over the years, the growth of the program has been nothing short of phenomenal. HOFNOD runs from January until the first part of June. For the final class, they have a field trip to take all the kids fishing for a day out at Frenchtown Pond.

This year, HOFNOD was supported by 1,415 volunteer hours and 793 teaching hours. Rutledge himself worked 797.5 hours and traveled 6,782 miles. The Fish Guy claims Arthur Anderson had nothing to do with compiling these numbers.

All in all 1,437 people went fishing accident-free while 1,228 HOFNOD students participated and each received an average of 11 hours of instruction.

So if you would like to contribute to the Fish Guy HOFNOD cause, either by volunteering or sending money, here is what you do: e-mail him at with any questions or send donations to: The Fish Guys Education Fund, P.O. Box 5571, Missoula, MT 59806.

The Chinook salmon watch at Fort Peck continues with reports of just a few of the kings being caught. The run this year is supposed to bring in over 200,000 Chinooks to the face of the dam. Everything seems to have been a couple of weeks slow this year, so perhaps that is the reason for the slow start of the fall salmon season at Fort peck Reservoir.

We will keep you updated ever Saturday morning with live reports from Fort Peck on the statewide Montana Outdoor Radio show. You also can check on our web site for daily salmon updates.

If you want more information, I would suggest the Lakeridge Motel and Tackle Shop. The number is 406-526-3597.