Migrating waterfowl returning to Montana
By Hookemharry

Posted: April 4, 2002

The weather is starting to actually feel like spring. Another indication that spring is here is the migrating waterfowl flying to the north country, returning to their nesting grounds. Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area at Fairfield is a stopping point for quite a few ducks and geese on their spring migration. Mike Violette of Missoula reports that there are 20,000 to 30,000 pintails and more than 300,000 snow geese right now at Freezeout. It is quite a sight seeing all those birds at one place. Rex Radke from the Seldom Seen Shooting Preserve near Drummond has about 3,000 pintails on his place, too. Radke says he normally sees that many pintails in the spring, but not very many in the fall.

I was master of ceremonies at the Flathead Chapter of the Walleyes Unlimited annual banquet in Kalispell last weekend. More than 300 walleye anglers attended the event. That number is pretty impressive since the nearest waters to fish for walleyes are four hours away. A few of the anglers had fished in the Spokane River, north of Spokane, with limited success. The walleyes were small but they caught quite a few. Randy Johnson from Kalispell caught the largest walleye in Region 3 of In-Fisherman Magazine’s Master Angler 2001 awards. Johnson’s fish weighed in at 15 pounds, 2 ounces. He caught it out of Fort Peck last May 1 on a chartreuse jig.

The Big Sky Sports Outdoor Show takes place Friday through Sunday at Adams Center at the University of Montana. It sounds like this year’s show will be a good one. About 100 exhibitors will display their wares and there are some good seminars scheduled to help the outdoors person learn more about the outdoors.

Dan Mar will conduct several dog-training seminars throughout the three days. His first seminar is scheduled at 6 p.m. Friday. Mar specializes in teaching owners how to train or correct bad habits that their hunting dog has picked up. I attended one of his seminars at Bob Wards last year and found it very helpful. So if you have a puppy or an old warrior that you need some help with, Mar’s seminar should be a must to attend.

Chef Vince Pernicano will also be cooking up some great wild game dishes in his seminars during the show. Pernicano specializes in making your wild game taste great, so you will enjoy both your hunting and the meals wild game provides even more. If you have a freezer full of last year’s deer, elk, duck, goose or fish, then you will want to make a point of attending.

Wayne Knudson (Walleye Wayne) and I will be doing the Montana Outdoor Radio Show live from the show Saturday morning from 6 to 8 a.m. and again from 8 to 10 a.m. We will have a special edition show that will feature interviews with exhibitors and local experts in the outdoor field on both hunting and fishing. The special show will air on KGVO in Missoula; KJJR in Kalispell; and KLYQ in Hamilton.

We will also have a booth in the show so stop by and get your free 2002 Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks hunting and fishing scheduling card. You might also ask us about the official lure of the Montana Outdoor Radio Show. Just like the last two years, the 2002 edition is actually guaranteed to catch fish. The guarantee is that if the angler returns the lure in one year with no teeth marks on it, then they get their money back. To my knowledge we are the only ones ever to attach such a claim to a fishing lure. This year’s lure is called Deep Secret and is so advanced that Luhr-Jenson had to include a mini tech sheet with special instructions on how best to use it. The show should be a lot of fun. I hope to see you. Stop by and say hi.