Big Shoot This Weekend
By Hookemharry

Posted: June 22, 2010

This weekend has become synonymous with two events — Mothers Day on Sunday and the 28th annual Ron Hoppe Memorial Trapshooting Tournament.

The tourney is hosted by the Missoula Trap and Skeet Club and runs this Friday through Sunday, May 8-10.

It’s one of the three largest trapshooting tournaments in the Pacific Northwest. Up to 300 entrants, including All-American shooters from all over the United States and Canada are expected to participate.

The more than 1,000-target event is highlighted by over $8,000 in trophies including shotguns, reloading equipment, silver belt buckles and optional cash prizes. The total involved might well be over $70,000.

The Missoula club is one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest and is situated on approximately 80 acres, one mile west of the I-90 Kalispell interchange. The club boasts 18-trap fields, five skeet ranges, a five-stand sporting clays layout, and an International “Olympic” trap field.

“About 300,000 targets will be thrown in the tournament,” said Steve Sautter , club spokesman. The club estimates that out of town participates who attend spend nearly $250,000 over the weekend in Missoula.

“It is a good event for the local economy and promises to be exciting for everyone,” said Sautter.

The weather has kept some folks off the water with wind conditions making it tough for the anglers. The moisture that has accompanied the wind is welcome and should help later on this summer.

For the anglers that have been fishing, the rivers are still producing some nice trout, especially Rock Creek for the wading anglers and the Bitterroot River for the anglers who love to float.

Lake anglers are still having good luck on trout and if you fish from shore the wind is easier to handle.

“We fished Browns Lake Sunday and the fishing was fair,” said Bob Culp from Frenchtown. “ We managed to do OK despite the wind and occasional rain and snow shower that would come through the area.”

The same type of report is coming out of the Helena area lakes. The trout fishing from shore and boat is still very good on Canyon Ferry, Hauser, and Holter reservoirs.

“We had a a couple of 14-pound and 15-pound walleyes taken in the last week,” said Sharon from Silos RV. The walleye fishing is slow for the most part on the south end of Canyon Ferry but should start to pick up as the water temperature warms and the walleye spawn concludes in a couple of weeks.

Spring Mack Days is still going strong with well over 21,000 lake trout entered so far on Flathead Lake with a couple of weeks still to go.

“Most of the fish that have been entered recently have been caught in the river delta area on the north end of the lake,” said Cindy Benson, spokesman for the derby. Most of the anglers are jigging in about 150 to 240 feet of water.