Rearview Mirror

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It's Friday. A long week has me ready to hit the hatch starting this evening. We're blowing out of town around 3 or so and should be knee deep in a freestone by 6. Just in time for the caddis to start coming back to the water.

It's been a good week for Montana conservationists. Let's have a little recap and see what exactly happened:

First and foremost: The North Fork of the Flathead is closer to being protected. This week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee unanimously passed Senators Baucus and Tester's senate version of the North Fork Protection Act. This is a huge deal. The North Fork is home to bull trout, cutthroat, wolves, elk, deer, bears and all kinds of critters that make Montana the last, best place. Hopefully it passes the Senate soon and heads over to the House where Congressman Steve Daines will help Sheppard the bill through the process there. Kudos to all three Montana delegation members for working together to pass comprehensive legisation that protects one of Montana's Crown Jewels.

Buffalo advocates and the state were vindicated this week when the Montana Supreme Court issued their ruling reversing a lower courts verdict that the State acted illegally when it transported bison to the Ft. Peck Reservation. The lawsuit, brought by several Ag groups and anti-access groups like the United Property Owners of Montana sought to ultimately shut down bison conservation efforts that they had agreed too under the 2011 Legislative session. This is fantastic news for tribes, hunters and lovers of big shaggies everywhere. We're hopeful that FWP grabs the bull by the horns here and starts moving forward with their EIS on a comprehensive bison restoration effort as well as continue to work with tribal governments in order to help save this iconic species.

The Trust for Public Land in conjunction with their partners at F.H. Stolze Land and Lumber (Montana's oldest family owned lumber company, btw) announced a deal to protect Haskill Basin from future development. The land is owned by the timber company and the Basin provides a large chunk of the drinking water for the Whitefish municipal area. It's a popular area with hunters & hikers and this deal ensures that a special chunk of ground remains as is and continues to provide families around Whitefish with clean water and great outdoor opportunities.

Rain! Thank the lord for a few precious drops of water falling from the sky. While this weeks rains haven't quelled the fire danger in a large chunk of Southwestern Montana and they're causing flooding problems in eastern Montana, the rains have helped the fire outlook in most of Western Montana. Hopefully that means we don't spend our summers coughing up the smoke from local fires. It's also playing a bit of havoc with stream flows but we'll take that over hoot owl closures in July.

Salmon Flies, PMD's and Caddis! The big bugs are out on the water from the Madison to Rock Creek. Early reports of the mega-chompers are drifting in from the lower Blackfoot too. Fishing has been epic this spring and summer looks to be the same. Get out on the river and hunt some heads!

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The truck is loaded and soon it will be pointed south for a weekend in one of our favorite little high country valleys. Montana is green and alive, and we can't resist her siren call.

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Hellgate Hunters and Anglers
Our Mission is to conserve Montana's wildlife, wild places, and fair-chase hunting and fishing heritage.