Lack of Moisture Makes Hunting More Challenging: Captain’s Column
By Matt Schauer

Posted: September 20, 2012

We are now in the third week of September and if you are like me you are really wishing for rain. The last time I looked at the Missoulain precipitation gauge, on the weather page, it had a big goose egg for the month.

In fact, for the first time this year, we are at the annual average precipitation. The lack of moisture is making the hunting conditions more challenging, especially for archery hunters.

However, the elk are starting to bugle and a few area hunters have had success, despite less than ideal conditions. Mark Anderson, of Missoula, is one of those hunters. Anderson is no stranger to archery elk hunting and was successful, in the past, getting his elk with a bow.

This year, Anderson in his own words said, “he got lucky again.” Anderson’s definition of lucky, only describes what every bow hunter wants. That is to be lucky enough to, at least, get a chance.

This is how Anderson described his hunting experience:

Sometimes it is pretty tough to get in on a decent bull when he is surrounded by so many sets of eyes.  Opted instead to post up in their bedroom, cow call a bit, and wait them out.  Fortunately the wind was favorable and he gave me a 20 yard. shot, but not before screaming, glunking and thrashing from less than half of that range. Pretty much anything and everything to peg my adrenalin.  What an amazing animal!  What an amazing experience.

You may view the bull elk here on

Fishing is still very good. I took the opportunity to head over to Holter Reservoir to try my luck on the trout fishing. I heard the fishing was very good and to my surprise the information I received was correct.

I fished with Steve Hellegaard, of Missoula and Jaye Johnson, of Charlo, for three days. In that time, we hooked close to 100 trout, keeping 10 nice trout each day, in the 17 to 20 inch class.

have always said, I can catch fish when the fish are biting. So during the three days I wanted to find out how many lures in my tackle box I could actually catch a trout on. We fished with four rods and changed the lures on each rod about every hour or two. The final lure count (tally of lures that caught at least one fish) was ten.

You can view a picture of the lures that we used here on

The area we fished was by Cottonwood Creek, just above the Oxbow Bend on Holter. We were fishing only 10 to 15 feet under the surface in 50 to 70 feet of water. Our trolling speed was 2 miles per hour. The trout fishing should continue to be good for the next week.

We also had chance to do some walleye and perch fishing. The walleye fishing…well, it was just that…fishing, but no catching. The perch fishing was good enough to provide Johnson and I dinner one night.  We kept eight perch, four were in the 12 inch class and very fat.

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