Heading over to the heart of Montana
By Hookemharry

Posted: February 27, 2008

I traveled to the heart of Montana last weekend. When I say the heart of Montana, I really mean it.

Berny and I were in Lewistown for the annual Crooked Creek Chapter of Walleye Unlimited’s annual banquet. The Yogo Inn, where we stayed and broadcast the Montana Outdoor Radio Show Saturday morning, is located in the center of Montana.

This fact is just one of the many that I learned from this part of Big Sky Country during our stay.

I learned that the big spring that feeds Big Spring Creek at Lewistown flows out of the ground at a constant temperature of 52 degrees. I also found out that Lewistown’s Big Springs state fish in terms of trout production is the largest in the state. And I also took a tour of the recently-completed Shooting Range located just north of town.

This World Class range features rifle targets from 25 to 500 yards. It also contains a pistol range and a family learning range set up for .22’s. All the ranges are accessible for someone with a physical disability.

The shooting range sits on 160 acres and took several years to put together. Now valued at a neat one million dollars, it has expansion plans for a skeet and sporting clays shotgun range as well as a club house.

While the range was impressive, what stood out for me even more was that an community the size of Lewistown has built it with donations and volunteer hours from seemingly everyone in town.

The club now boasts 700 members who pay just $20 a year for the privilege of using the facility. When I was given the tour, I was told that they also have an equally impressive archery range located on the other side of town.

A total of 450 people gathered for the Walleye Banquet on Saturday night. They served everyone a great meal of walleye and raised money for the local chapter that goes to some great causes.

One of those activities is an essay contest. The contest is geared toward sixth graders that attend area schools within a 50-mile radius. Some 266 kids entered an essay where they wrote about an outdoor adventure that they had experienced in the past year.

The local winners’ essays are then published their local paper and the winner gets to read their essay out loud for the banquet attendees. What as great way to involve and promote the great outdoors to our young kids.

As you might imagine, as MC of the banquet, I got the privilege of meeting a lot of nice folks. You won’t find any better – I can tell you that.

The 2008 Perch Pounder was won by Terry Riley with a 2.014 pound perch. A total of 186 anglers entered the four-week derby.

The Perch Assault’s final stop is this Saturday March 1 at Lake Mary Ronan. To enter, call Mike Howe at 406-249-0556 or log onto www.perchassualt.com.

And remember, the 2008 fishing license year is in effect as of Saturay, March 1.