Giving Thanks
By Hookemharry

Posted: November 25, 2011

The Thanksgiving holiday is here!

It is a time when hunting, fishing, and of course eating and shopping are enjoyed with family and friends. Living in Montana, there are many outdoor activities that we participate in throughout the year. If you enjoy all these outdoor activities year round as much as I do, then giving thanks should be a daily event, not just today.  You probably already know this but it deserves repeating, especially today.

If you enjoy hunting and fishing there aren’t many places that are better than our state of Montana. I have been living in Missoula for nearly 30 years and even though throughout that time period my fish catching and hunting harvests have been up and down. Each trip has always ended up being a fun adventure packed with a lot of great memories.

I’ve been thankful to have the opportunity to fish a lake like Fort Peck Reservoir. The past few years Fort Peck has had an increase in its water level. At 134 miles long that is a big body of water. Thanks to higher water levels the fishing has also gotten better. This past year the walleye fishing was only fair but then again I experienced a major improvement in the northern pike fishing.

Fort Peck isn’t the only lake in Montana that I am grateful for.

It is also gratifying to know that I am able to fish a lake like Flathead Lake with its giant lake trout and when I travel over to Helena I am thankful for all three reservoirs that are located just below the headwaters of the Missouri River. It is fun to fish all three lakes for trout and walleye. On top of the great fishing each lake offers unique scenery whether you are fishing in the spring, summer, fall, or winter.

Over the years I am thankful to have developed a fishing fondness for Holter Reservoir especially in the fall when the rainbow trout can average in the 3 to 5 pound range. It is easy to be thankful when I am trolling on a 70 degree fall day in my boat catching my limit of fish in less than two hours.

Another small lake that I am thankful for is Lake Mary Ronan. I love spending the day in my boat attempting to catch some of those great tasting kokanee salmon.

The hunting opportunities that we have in Montana are just as diverse, unique, and satisfying. I have experienced some of my best pheasant and waterfowl hunting in Montana. I bagged my first antelope in Montana and I am thankful that Montana offers one of the longest deer and elk hunting seasons. Some years, I have needed the last day to fill my freezer.

These are just a few of the places that I have enjoyed my experiences of hunting and fishing. I am sure everyone reading this column has a list of their own that is a mile long.

Mostly however, I am thankful for the many friendships that I have made while enjoying and exploring our great state of Montana, border to border.

I hope that you and your family have a happy and thankful Thanksgiving!