Buy your license and make your plans
By Hookemharry

Posted: February 26, 2009

Sunday is the beginning of March. It is time to buy your 2009 Montana conservation and fishing license.

When you purchase your new fishing license, be sure to take the opportunity pick up the current fishing regulations and check out the new tackle that grace your local sporting goods store’s shelves.

While there is still a lot of ice fishing left at least for the first half of the month, anglers are already beginning to focus on open water fishing. Rivers across Montana will start to produce some great opportunities for dry fly and nymph fishing.

River anglers know that March and April are great months to enjoy fishing on the rivers before the mountain runoff starts later in the spring.

Boat anglers might want to start going through their tackle boxes and sorting out what items they need to restock.

This is also a great month to start looking ahead and planning some fishing trips to take this summer.

If you love to fish for northern pike, walleyes, lake trout and bass, then you should really discover or rediscover Fort Peck Reservoir. Last year, this 134 mile reservoir located in the northeast part of the state produced some great fishing days.

After a decade of drought, the water level on this big lake actually increased 10 feet last summer and has held its own throughout the winter. The more water, the better it is for fish – and fishing.

Vegetation on the shore has been flooded creating good spawning habitat, good fish rearing habitat and more bountiful baitfish for the predators to eat. Biologists are looking for a big perch and northern pike spawn this spring that could set up a decade of good fishing on the lake.

The walleye fishing should be very good this year and hopefully that gas prices will remain below or around $2 a gallon which will make it more affordable getting to and from your destinations.

Hell Creek Marina continues to be a popular spot for a lot of anglers. They have a marina with gas, bait and a motel. They are also located next to the Hell Creek State Park, which offers electrical hookups and shower facilities.

On the east end of the lake, you have the option of going to the Dam where there are federal campgrounds for your overnight stay. The Lakeridge Motel and Tackle Shop also has bait, tackle, fishing advice to help with your fishing.

On the Big Dry Arm, you also have Rock Creek Marina with bait, gas and camping facilities.

If you are interested in using a guide, you have choices depending on where you plan to fish.

The Hell Creek area features Kibler Outfitters (557-2503), guide Bernie Hildebrand (234-6342), Outfitter Marvin and Connie Loomis (557-2787) who run their summer operation out of a houseboat on the lake and guide John Maetzold (557-6261). In the Fort Peck Dam area, you can call Outfitter Scott Sundheim (798-3474) or Outfitter Doug Komrosky (262-2195).