Palm Trees, Ice Fishing, Dog Training and Renewing Fishing Licenses: Captain’s Column
By angelamontana

Posted: February 28, 2013

I think that most of you might agree with me that this past winter has been mild, at least up to this point anyway.  We still have a few weeks left before the calendar tells us it is Spring, so if you are tired of winter, have faith–Spring will be here before you know it.  I was able to break the winter months up this year, as I have for the past three years with a trip to Hawaii.  My girlfriend, Berny, and I met my brother, Dan Ward, and his wife, Mary, over in Maui for 10 days.

The weather in Maui was a bit windy and the island seemed to have more rain showers than normal, but the daytime temperature didn’t fluctuate much, as it was always in the 77-80 degree range.  It is always nice to get a little break from winter, even though I very much enjoy ice fishing, downhill skiing and snowmobiling.

While I was away on vacation, I received an e-mail from Steve Knudson, in Billings, that detailed a recent ice fishing trip he had just taken to Fort Peck Reservoir.  Knudson had extended me an invite to go along but I had to decline because I told him I would be in Hawaii.

The ice fishing trip turned out to be very productive in terms of number of fish and number of species caught. All in all, they caught eight species of fish on the two-day ice fishing trip that included walleye, sauger, perch, ling, lake trout, Chinook salmon, crappie, and northern pike.  That must have been a lot of fun and some good eating too!  You may view all the fish that Knudson and his buddies caught on montanaoutdoor.com.

Another great way to break up the winter, as you wait for Spring, is to spend some time with your dog.  Grant Soukup, from montanaoutdor.com, had some suggestions about staying active during this time of the year with your dog. “Winters do concentrate where the birds will be.  Huns are very active and fun to work with.  Pheasants can be tracked in the snow so you can set the pups up for success,” added Soukup, “Use a blank gun to add some excitement. Go through the motions of flushing, shooting, and retrieving. I use a pheasant retrieving dummy that I throw when the real deal flushes. The dogs love the excitement and the training will pay off big rewards in the fall”.

Soukup also had this suggestion about antler training, “take some old sheds and cut off the sharp points. Start by hiding the sheds with a treat. Pieces of hot dog or something stinky work well. Go through the commands and reward process as the dogs discover an antler. The antlers also make a great chew toy. Be sure to trim the sharp tines first. If antlers are a dog’s favorite, you will be happy when they walk over with a fresh shed that they found during a winter hike.”

Remember starting tomorrow, March 1, you need a new fishing license for the 2013 season.