Canada goose numbers are good in Western Montana. Duck numbers are down a little bit, according to John Grant, of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.
Grant is in charge of the Ninepipes area and he says the Canada goose number are as good as they have ever been. Duck number this time of the year are normally lighter until the northern mallards start to arrive from Canada when the weather pushes them down through the Pacific Flyway later in the year.
In the latest issue of Ducks Unlimited Magazine, DU says the prognosis for duck numbers late in the season does not look particularly good. The Canadian province of Alberta, where most of the our ducks nest, has suffered through a two-to-three-year drought much like most of Montana.
However this past June, they received a lot of moisture from that same major storm that hit the northwest and central portions of Montana and filled most of the reservoirs on the Hi-Line.
Like Montana, the storm had a real positive effect on replenishing water into major nesting grounds that had gone dry in Alberta. But because it came so late, it won’t have an effect on this improving this year’s flight. But next year’s flight should prove to be a lot better because of the improved nesting conditions.
Youth waterfowl days took place last weekend, as more and more kids got a start in enjoying the sport of duck hunting. I heard from some locals up on the Flathead Indian Reservation that some shooting occurred before legal shooting time. That’s unfortunate, and should serve as a reminder to anyone heading that way that on the reservation, you have to wait until sunrise to legally shoot. Legal shooting time is half-an-hour before sunrise off the reservation. Sunrise Saturday morning will be 7:32 a.m.
Salmon fishing is reported to be quite good in the Helena area. Woody Shuler, owner of Woodys Lures based out of Livingston, reports that he has limited out the three times he has fished for the kokanee right below Hauser Dam.
For me, that news was as quite a surprise. All summer long, anglers have not been reporting any catches of salmon on either Hauser or Holter Lake. In fact, salmon fishing in Hauser — which used to bill itself as the Kokanee Capitol of the World — has been non-existent this year.
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks has continued to plant salmon in Hauser each year but fishing has remained poor. On the other hand, Hauser Lake has actually turned into a pretty good trout fishery and fair for walleye and perch.
Shuler says he is using what he calls a white glow jig for the salmon. The bite should last for another week or so.
Also of interest, a recent e-mail I received reported that 10-year-old Ryan Ridout was operating his radio-controlled boat on Minnesota’s Little Boy Lake when a huge muskie came up and grabbed it.
The fish, which onlookers estimated to be 30 pounds, swam for several minutes along the surface with the boat in its mouth as two men tried to chase it in a row boat.
Eventually, the muskie released the Tyco Hydro Racer and swam off, leaving the miniature boat scratched and tooth-marked.
Just in case you are looking for a hot lure the toy boat was red and white with yellow racing stripes.