Snowy Kalispell was the host city for the latest – and last – Great Rockies Sport Show of the year.
The three-day event held at the Fairgrounds in Kalispell was sparsely attended last Friday, probably because of a Thursday snowstorm, but then attendance picked up Saturday and Sunday after the roads cleared and sun came out.
Northwest Montana is truly a fisherman and hunter’s paradise, but some said the past big game hunting season in Region One was a disappointment for many hunters. Wolves and mild weather were to blame according to those that attended the show.
While we can’t do anything about the weather, folks are trying to get wolves delisted. Almost 100 protesters lined the street next to the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Region One headquarters, which happens to be located across the street from the fairgrounds, to protest and push that agenda.
Inside the Great Rockies Snow, that same group of sportsman had a booth to show video of wolves attacking elk and buffalo. Show attendees were then asked to sign a petition promoting delisting of wolves.
It was unclear what the next step would be for these concerned sportsman and women, but interest was high and many who attended the show gladly signed the petition.
“It was a record turnout for the perch derby,” said Gene Fincher, organizer for the annual Perch Pounder ice fishing derby. “We had 223 anglers participate and a huge crowd for the final award ceremony.”
The Perch Pounder officially came to an end at 3 p.m. last Saturday at the Scoreboard Pub and Casino. It was close for the largest perch but John Duncan won it with a 1.598-pounder.
Terry Riley held onto the lead spot for most of the month-long event but ended up in second place with a 1.512 pound perch.
All of the participants were treated to a perch fry at the awards ceremony. “I want to thank the folks who fished this year’s Perch Pounder and the sponsors who donated prizes,” said Fincher.
While a tough economy is making for tight times in this part of Montana, it certainly didn’t stop one angler from possibly paying the most money ever for a fishing lure there.
“Well, the lure isn’t actually for fishing, but is a giant replica which is made for hanging in your cabin or den at your home,” said Fincher.
“We auctioned off this giant black and white Rapala-like lure about 30 inches long last Saturday,” he said.
The auction quickly gained some positive momentum and ended up with a final bid of $400. “It was a lot of fun seeing the bidding go up and 100 percent of the money will help kids get introduced to fishing,” said Fincher.
The proceeds from the lure auction have been earmarked for the local Kids Hooked on Fishing Program. The normal price for a wall-hanging lure that size is around $49.