Last weekend, I had a chance to spend time in Great Falls. This city is in the heart of some of the best hunting and fishing in the state.
Whether you like to upland bird hunt, mule deer hunt, or go after antelope, the central part of Montana offer some of the best. Fishing within 100 miles of Great Falls is, in a word, “fantastic!”
Boaters love Holter Reservoir to the south for trout, walleye and kokanee salmon. North about 80 miles is Tiber Dam, which is the new home for the new state record walleye which was caught by Bob Hart of Missoula.
Of course, the Missouri River runs right through the town and is always a great place to fish. The Missouri River is also home to a few thousand Canada geese and mallard ducks so the wheat fields nearby have always been great for waterfowl hunting.
The opportunities for sportsman are many and that is why the annual Great Rockies SportShow has always drawn huge crowds to the Montana Expo Center. We were there as always to promote listenership on our statewide hunting and fishing show, The Montana Outdoor Radio Show and veiwership on our website www.montanaoutdoor.com.
It was great to hear from the area sportsman about their successful hunting season this past year. I even had some of the ice fisherman tell me that fishing has been excellent in the area with good ice on most lakes and reservoirs in the area.
One non-profit group that has always impressed me is the Great Falls Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited. Year after year, they seem to do more for keeping our fishing heritage alive than most any other group that I am aware of.
Their annual fundraiser is a banquet that is held every February and is attended by 800 people. They order a few hundred pounds of walleye and serve all who attend the banquet with a great meal.
Their volunteers help to filet the fish so it is quite an undertaking as you might imagine.
Most importantly the group earmarks all the funds that they raise from the banquet to help with improvements to area fisheries to help promote fishing to youths.
Last Saturday morning, a few of the club members were going to load up Christmas Trees and plant them in area lakes. These trees make some great underwater cover so the forage fish population, which the bigger game fish feed on, can continue to be strong.
Their kids fishing day in June draws. Close to 700 kids all gather at a local pond in Great Falls and as the groups members introduce them to fishing and they give out as many fishing rods and reels to the kids attend. What a great way to get the kids excited about spending time in the outdoors.
Every August they hold Camp Walleye. In 2007, they took over 50 kids fishing on Tiber. This is no small task because all the kids fished from a boat. So 25 anglers from the area volunteered to take these kids fishing. The event also teaches the kids how to respect each other and the outdoors. And, the chapter helps to support the Great Falls Middle School Fishing Club which takes monthly trips to rivers and reservoirs in the area.
Yes the Great Falls Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited is doing their part in putting in their time and money to help with conservation and to promote fishing to kids.