COLUMN: Psst! Do you want to know a secret?

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Many folks ask me, “Why do you give seminars? Aren’t you giving away all your secrets”?

I am one of the first to admit, there aren’t many secrets in my world because when we take a client out, it’s all there for them to see. They tell two people, and they tell two people … as the story goes. And while you can glean lots of great info at a seminar, nothing compares to seeing it in action, so while a free seminar (or even one that comes with a modest fee) is a bargain, it can’t compare to a paid trip.

We have it pretty good here in the valley, with local guides and tournament anglers regularly participating at shows and at retailers during special events. Many larger cities where fishing is popular don’t have the breadth of talent we have around here, or they haven’t figured out how to make it happen. And then there are the places where there are seminars going on every weekend.

I have had the pleasure of attending seminars by some great, popular anglers like Dave Genz and Bro Brosdahl in the ice-fishing world, and by open water guys like Buzz Ramsey and Jack Glass, Johnny Candle and Keith Kavajecz. Some of these guys are great anglers and some are great communicators, but not all are both. I think we have some of the best anglers around here who are both, and most of them are very easy to learn from.

So, back to the “secrets” issue. Most of everything I employ while fishing was learned from someone else — whether from another angler, from a book, a video or a seminar. I have honestly developed very few techniques of my own, and when I have, it has been more of a modification than an invention. Bottom line is, I like to help people catch fish, whether it’s taking paid clients out, or just passing on a hot tip. Most anglers are that way, whether they conduct a seminar or not!

This weekend will see me at the Missoula Cabela’s talking about downriggers at my seminar from noon to 1 p.m., while Guide Pat Campanella will cover the same seminar here at the Kalispell store. Come and learn why and how we use downriggers in our local fisheries, from kokanee to lake trout and everything in between.

The yellow perch bite is on down on the south end of Flathead Lake. Dick Zimmer has been raving about the numbers of the fish and the size of the schools this year. I am heading down this week, and as long as the days are mild and the nights don’t get too cold, we will be talking about this for the next couple of weeks. Important to remember is the new regulation that only allows you to take 10 perch over 10 inches daily in Flathead, Smith and Lower Stillwater Lakes.

While many of our local lakes are now ice free, most of them have very low water levels so proceed with caution! Shallow areas may be impassable and a miscalculation could see you or your passenger in the very, very cold water so use your head and wear your PFD.

Lastly, there are lots of reports of Mac Days anglers catching large numbers of the small lake trout in waters exceeding 240 feet. Don’t be fooled by these numbers as these are NOT the large, trophy lake trout that Flathead Lake was once famous for, simply stated. Mack Days is all about the numbers and these fish provide for that in spades. But the big ones are still out there and we know where to find them and how to catch them. How you choose to learn, is up to you. I’ll see you on the water!


Howe runs Howe’s Fishing/A Able Charters. Contact him at www.howesfishing.com or 257-5214 or by emailing Mike@aablefishing.com.

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