Dry flies work best when floating! There are a ton of great products that help keep your fly from drowning. Silicon gels and desiccate powders are a must. Here’s the routine to keep your fly dry!


  • Apply the silicone gel to your fly sparingly (a little dab will do), rub the gel into your fly; a little on the leader for a foot or so is OK
  • Present your dry fly so you get a natural life-like drift
  • False casting helps to wick off moisture between drifts
  • After catching a fish, wash the fish slime off your fly and check your hook point and knot
  • Add the fly to some powdered fly desiccate and “shake and bake” in the container
  • A false cast or two will flick off the extra powder
  • Your fly is back in floating form!!

To make your own desiccate powder, collect the moisture protection packs from various product packaging. Crush the round silica balls and place into a small capped bottle. Cut a smoothed groove on one edge to allow the line to set in without getting pinched.

“Shake and bake” your wet flies away!!

Tight lines,

Montana Grant

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With hunting season winding down and ice fishing in the wings, what can we do in the meantime? How about taking your wife fishing?

I know what you are thinking but this is the season of giving. Taking your wife fishing is easier than you think. Here are some helpful tips.


Think comfort and pick a decent weather day. Good clothing not only makes for comfort but styling is important. The last thing you want is a wet, cold and unhappy woman.

My fishing plans are also close to home. The Gallatin River is nearby. so off we go. Take your time and keep it simple. The total plan starts and finishes at home. Make it fun.

Today we are going to have a wonderful fresh trout dinner together. I apologize to the fly fishing snobs, but a man has to eat. When you take your wife “meat” fishing, you need to use bait. Worms work great but usually require you to be the “bait boy”.

I like to spin fish with light line and ultra light gear. A 5 ft. light action rod with 2 or 4 lb. test line is perfect. Gold Stren or Solar Trilene lines allow you to see the bites. Use a small barrel swivel to transition to your clear fly tippet. I use fly tippet at the terminal end since it can be stronger but thinner. It is also clear. A size 10 gold salmon egg hook or bait holder hook is great. Sharpen your hooks out of the box. This will create 3 times more hookups. A small split shot is usually all you need. Remember you are fishing with light gear.

A dozen worms is a cheap date and they work great! I break the worm into a short 2 inch piece. Hook the worm so it hides the hook and hangs straight. Be sure to slide the top end over the hook eye. This helps to keep the worm in place so it looks natural.

A smaller bait allows the fish to completely mouth the bait and hook. This increases the odds of a more successful hook set. My 34 years of happy marriage is proof that this technique and plan works to perfection. Take a lot of pictures to remember the good times.

Short casts are all that is needed. Presentation is key. You want the worm to drift naturally through the pool. The bait needs to be on the bottom and moving with the current. I often cast slightly upstream to allow the bait to sink. Feeling the bottom is done by using your fingers to gently fondle your line. The light gear allows you to feel everything.

Bites will be obvious and often. This time of the year, trout are in bunches. If you are not getting action, move. When you feel the bite, wait a few moments before you set the hook. Have her say a phrase like, “thank you for taking me fishing. I love you very much!”…then set the hook sharply. Keep the rod up and let the drag do its job. A net is a must. Time is an issue. Your wife’s attention span is limited and fishing needs to be hot.

Once you have a limit of fresh trout in your creel, prepare them with your favorite recipe. A nice white wine, salad and candles help to make it all worthwhile. Maybe the husband will get lucky too!

Tight lines,

Montana Grant

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“I GOTTA BITE!” Nothing is more fun than catching a fish. The feel of a bite, the bend of the rod and the sound of a screaming reels drag are lifelong memories. We may forget the place, we may forget the fish, but we will never forget how catching a fish made us feel.

Going fishing means going outside. There is no better babysitter than a rod, riverbank and fish. Getting away from indoor routines, video games and stress is healthy. Fishing is more than just catching. It is fellowship, adventure, skill, rules, limits and oh yea, just fun.


When we first start to fish we just want to catch a fish, any fish. Of course, with all fish stories, the fish do tend to grow. Next we try to catch a lot of fish. Then, our goal becomes a BIG fish. With our developing skills, our next target is a specific fish. Eventually, we evolve to become the greatest fisherman of all…the one that takes pride in teaching others how to fish. If you think you are a great fisherman, then prove it. Teach a kid how to fish!

This lifelong sharing is a gift that ensures public waters and wild places for the future. Fishing is a wonderful survival skill that teaches us patience, pride, confidence and joy. If we don’t pass it on, fishing, hunting, camping and outdoor fun will become things that only rich people can afford to do. Here in Montana we are blessed to have public access to our watersheds, parks and public lands. We need all generations and citizens to protect these special treasures in our great state.

Here are some things to remember when you take a kid or friend fishing!

  • Make the trip FUN! A few hours and enough at first.
  • Rig all your gear ahead of time. Keep it simple. Cane poles or push button reels are fine.
  • Start with eager and willing fish. Check with your fishing shops and friends for these hotspots.
  • Know your regulations. Fish as you want your kids to fish.
  • Bring comforts, snacks and alternatives to fishing. Binoculars are a good idea. No electronics such as cell phones or Gameboys.
  • A first aid kit is a good idea. If you bring one, you won’t need it.
  • Teach patience. It is called fishing, not catching. A bad day fishing is still a good day.
  • Bring a net and a camera. Celebrate the memories. There is a special God that helps kids catch their first fish.
  • Wear hats, Polaroid sunglasses and dress comfortably for the weather.
  • Teach conservation and respect for our resources. Pick up trash .Leave your spot better than you found it.

Remember that fishing and outdoor sports are highly addictive in a good way. Kids that are bored make poor choices. When your fishing lines tighten, so will your relationship with your kids.

Tight lines,

Montana Grant

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After guiding schools of fishing clients, I was amazed by how many fishing experts and newbies can’t tie a proper knot. Clean and strong knots are a must if you actually plan to catch a fish. There are a ton of great books and videos that will assist you. Practice makes perfect.

Here are some important tips that will help you break off fewer fish. When I teach knot tying, I start with colored cords and a large fake hook. A pair of scissors can also make for a good “hook eye.” Men especially need to see the knot come together in order to understand it. It’s our A.D.D. thing. Regular fishing line is hard to see and too fine to learn with. Gradually shift from the cord to smaller pound test lines as you practice. Saliva is a great way to add traction and control to your fingers.


Here’s how to tie the most common “Clinch Knot:”

  • Thread the cord through the large hook eye or thumb hole on your scissors. Give yourself a few extra inches.
  • Wrap the cord around itself seven times plus once for good luck.
  • Thread the cord end back through the loop you created just above the hook eye.
  • When using real fishing line, lick the knot before pulling it tight. Friction creates heat which weakens line.
  • Always use sharp clippers, not your teeth, to cut off the excess tag end. I leave a little end hanging out.
  • Test your knot strength and inspect. If it doesn’t look or feel right, tie it again.

If vision is an issue, use “cheaters” or some type of magnifying light to help. There are a ton of great products on the market. In low light or darkness, I use a red light to see what I am doing. This way I don’t ruin my night vision or scare the fish away.

Always check your line and knots for wind knots, abrasions or nicks. If you suspect a problem, re-tie your knot or get rid of the damaged line. If you don’t, I guarantee the next bite and break off will be from Moby Dick!

Tight lines,

Montana Grant

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Ice fishing evolves as the winter weather changes. Early ice is now covered with snow. The warmer days help to create a slushy, layered and messy ice. The bite also changes.

I find that at this time of the year the best fishing changes to early morning or late evening. If you are bold enough, night fishing can be very productive.

It is important to capitalize upon the basic senses of the fish you are after. Basics such as sight, sound, touch, movement and smell are things the observant ice fishermen can capitalize on.


The lack of light under the ice needs to be considered. Use Glow Jigs that can be seen. At night, have a lantern or strong light to “charge” the jig so that it glows brightly. I still prefer chartreuse but try different Glow colors for fun. I also shovel away the slush and snow to allow as much light under the ice as possible.

Try using more flavorful and smelly baits encourage fish to bite. This year I have been a believer in short pieces of worm added to my small jigs. Colored maggots have also been working well. The Berkeley Power Bait Gulp products have helped me to limit out regularly. The Hot Pink Gulp Worms and Green Berkeley Maggots have now earned a place in my tackle box.

Baits that exude smell are the ticket. That is why Gulp products and worms work well. I also use the bottled scents and apply them liberally. When fishing gets slow, add some juice to your jig and bait. The Glow Scents made by Uncle Mike’s add the element of sight to the formula. This product sometimes creates small blobs that float into your hole. Touch the line to the blob and it slides down the line back to the jig! It’s like a moving scent line.

Creating a “Scent Column” is important when attracting fish. I have also found that dropping a large weight or heavy washer to the bottom is a fun trick. When fish are feeding along the bottom, they stir up a silt cloud that attracts other fish. If you bounce the weight up and down on the bottom, you can mimic this feeding stimulus. If you want to take it a step further, attach a small plastic container to your weighted line. I use an old plastic film canister. Drill several small holes into the container. Place a couple cotton balls into it and add some scent. While you are bouncing the weight off the bottom to attract fish, you are also spreading a scent attractant. This will help you to create a Scent Column from the bottom to top.

More movement when jigging is helpful. I try different sequences. Not only does it seem to help induce strikes, it keeps me active and warm. Try lifting your rig as high as you can then drop it back down. Look for the bite at any time. Colored line such as Solar Trilene or Golden Stren help you see the bites. I also use as light of line as I can get away with. 2 to 4 lb. test will hold up well if you remember to use your drag. Walleyes often fall to this trick. When jigging, set the hook on anything different. If you think it is a bite, strike. Be aggressive.

One day at Hegben Lake, I fished with a guy that used an underwater camera. The camera showed trout attacking my jig. My spring bobber never moved. Any movement I did see was slight. When I started to jig more actively, I started to feel resistance and began catching more fish.

Sharpen the “Bejesus” out of your hooks. I use a diamond dust style sharpener and keep the hook point ready for action. Bend the hook slightly sideways and a little upwards. This will also help to get more hookups.

When ice fishing, I expect to be successful. If you are not getting action, try some of the tricks I have discussed. Doing the same things will give you the same results. How many guys have you talked to that get skunked?

Don’t be afraid to change locations “With a Purpose”. Think depth, temperature, structure or look for evidence of other “Honey Holes”.

“The most important things we learn are the things we learn after we already know everything!” This is true in life and ice fishing.

Tight Lines,

Montana Grant

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The Montana winters are long and cold. That means it’s “Puppy Time”!

Think about getting your new favorite hunting buddy now. The Animal Shelters in your area have some great prospects just waiting for you.

Last year at this time my wife came home with a new puppy! Two years ago, I did the same to her. Her new puppy was a “whoops” dog. It turned out to be half Golden Retriever and half German Shorthair Pointer!


Wow! So the new puppy is jet black and has a long tail. To me she looks like a Black Lab with a Pointer nose. The parents were both hunters and neither was black. The new pup was so small that she fit into a 5 gallon bucket! Keep in mind that I also possess photos of my kids in a 5 gallon bucket!

My first thought was, can the new pup point? Talk about a hunter! Not only can she point, but she is an awesome hunter! No bird is safe around my new pup.

So what do you name this new family friend? Remember to never name a dog anything that rhymes with “no, sit, stay, come, or bad”! You will need all of these sounds for future commands. Single syllables are important too. You don’t want to call your new pup “Bartholomew”. It will take forever to get their attention.

My sweet new pup would be named after her previous family members. Two great hunters named “Sheba” and “Coalby”. “Sheba” was an older dog on her way to the pound. Her owner was moving and had no hope to take her along. We adopted this wonderful dog into our family. “Coalby” was a black German Shorthaired Pointer that was not typical. Neither was wanted by others. Both were the most awesome hunters and friends that I have been blessed to know.

Our new pup would be called “Shelby”! In the field I call her “Shell”. My other homeless pup is called “Magnum”! “Mag” and “Shell” are the BEST hunting buddies you could ever ask for. Both are great hunters and sweet dogs that just want to be loved and hunt birds. If people were as loving and full of energy as dogs, they would only live to be 12 to 15 years old. When we lose a great pup, the best therapy is a new one.

There are a lot of pups just like mine out there. Maybe the “Puppy Boom” is just another result of boredom during these long Montana winters. Checkout your local pet shelters and newspapers for these special gifts!

Keep in mind that bird season is just 9 months away!

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Vacuum Sealing Systems have been around for a while but I am used to the old school way of packing my harvest.

Try out one of these great packaging systems now. Your butchered meat, burger, fish and pre-prepared meals will surprise you. Bob Wards has a full selection of Vacuum Sealing gear and bags. With Christmas coming up, this would be a great gift.

Fishing and hunting is also a great way to enjoy life. Harvesting your fish, fowl and meat is a wonderful way to feed your family and friends. I do not take any of my harvest to a butcher or processor. We have all had our ups and downs when someone else finishes what we started. Unwanted hair, scales, bone or dirt does not make for a tasty presentation. For decades, I have also double wrapped my wild game and fish using plastic wrap, baggies and freezer paper. This tried and true method was fine until now.


The whole point of freezing our food is so we can preserve our future meals. We expect them to stay fresh and flavorful. After about 3 months, our frozen bounty starts to go downhill. The longer we keep it, the worse it gets. We all know buddies that have frozen meat and fish from years ago. What an incredible waste.

Wild game is delicious! This meat is also more expensive than store bought food. If you were to add in the costs related to hunting and fishing, we would discover that it’s cheaper to just go and buy our meat and fish. But what fun would that be?

Food frozen in Vacuum Sealing Systems, extend freshness and keep food 5 times longer than other methods. I found that they are quicker to package and use than other wrapping methods. The finished labeled product also looks great.

One great surprise is using pre-made frozen meals. Preparing Biscuit gravy ahead of time is a great example. Your Vacuum Sealed biscuits and gravy can be heated in a pot of boiling water. When hot, cut open the bag and serve. The hot water can then be used for coffee or washing. Soup, meat loaf, spaghetti or any pre-made meal can be re-heated in this manner. You can be a creative and speedy cook with minimal cleanup. If you can boil water, you can serve a meal to hungry campers fast and easy.

One of my new sealed meals is Meatballs! We all love them on a sandwich, soup or pasta. Meatballs just take a long time to make. I make a big batch ahead of time and Vacuum Seal them. Re-heat using the boiling method and you are meal ready.

Montana Meatballs!

1 ½ lbs. ground meat, ¾ cup Quick Oats, 1 cup milk, 3 tbsp. finely chopped onion, 1 ½ tsp. of salt, black pepper to taste.

Combine meat and oats in a bowl. Pour in the milk. Add the onion and salt and pepper. Combine gently. Roll or scoop the mixture into golf ball size balls. I use a tray to set them on and

allow them to rest in a refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.

Dredge the chilled meatballs in flour and brown in 4 tbsps. Canola oil. As they brown, place them into a baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sauce; Mix 1 cup of ketchup, 2 tbsp. sugar, 3 tbsp. vinegar, 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 6 tbsp. minced onion and a dash of Tabasco. Heat and serve for a great add on.

Now that you have a pile of Montana Meat Balls, freeze them in your Vacuum Seal Bags for later.

Even Montana Grant can learn

new tricks!

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I love to eat fish! We all have our favorite recipes for whatever species we enjoy. Trout are a healthy and great fish to eat.

Try making some fish into a “Burger”! I saw this idea on a cooking show and started to play around with this idea. I called mine “Brookie Burgers”. I used fresh caught Brook trout from Hyalite Lake. If you want to rename it, go for it. As a camp cook, we always need to more creative about what we serve. This recipe is certainly now a part of my Fish Camp menu.


Montana fish tend to have higher levels of toxins. Gold mining waste and Yellowstone’s Geo-thermal features have left lead, mercury and other goodies in the food web. The state publishes a Consumption Brochure that identifies species and locations of higher levels of toxins. Fish that tend to live longer also have higher levels of pollutants in their meat.

So anyway, my point is to clean and filet with this in mind. Remove skin, belly fat and fins. Soak the filets in the solution I have written about before. Search, “Sweetening Fish Filets”, on the Montana Outdoor Radio Show website. The results for all fish recipes will be amazingly healthy and more flavorful after you use this soak recipe.

“FISH BURGERS”

Cut the skinned filets of 5 pan sized trout into small pieces, pea sized, and place in a small mixing bowl.

Add finely chopped onion, and a tbsp. of lemon juice.

I spice with Old Bay seasoning to taste. This seasoning contains salt and pepper but you can always add more.

Add a cup of Panko crumbs, 2 eggs and mix all ingredients together gently. The eggs and Panko hold the fish together.

Form and press into burgers using a burger mold / ring. In a pinch use an inch wide piece of cardboard that you tape into a circle. I have also cut plastic tubs from used up sour cream containers into molds. The burger should match the size of the bun you are using. Press more Panko onto the top and bottom of the burger

Fry the Fish Burger in butter or your favorite oil until done. I like a little crunchy char on the outside.

Place the burger onto a toasted bun. I added a mayo mixed with some Old Bay on the bottom bun. Put a fresh spoon full of coleslaw on the top.

Now you can certainly mix and match all the spices to your own tastes. Tartar sauce or the abundant flavored Mayo’s are also available. The crunch from the Panko makes for a firm and tasty Burger. Enjoy naming your own special and healthy Fish Burger.

What I like about this burger is that it is perfect for a tailgate feast. Few dishes are needed. This meal is quick and simple with very little mess and a lot of fresh flavor. Everyone can customize their burger to their taste.

I have fished around the world and caught a pile of memories with some special friends. Our best memories often end up with food and fun. The fishing was just the excuse to get out and together for more adventures.

Tight lines,

Montana Grant

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shedIt’s time to get some serious exercise! After a cold winter, it is time to come out of our caves and get back into shape. All we need is some motivation to get outdoors and exercise.

SHEDS are the answer. There is something magical about antlers. While kids may love to find Easter Eggs, I love to search for antler sheds.


I have always been amazed that deer and elk have to grow new antlers each season. During prime time for antler growth, elk can grow 1 ½ inches of antler a day! The antlers attach to the deer’s head at a place called the “pedicle”. When the photoperiod of the sun gets to a certain length, the antler stops growing and the velvet covering comes off. This occurs around the end of August.

Usually in March, the old antler literally falls off or “sheds”! I have seen antlered deer as late as May. After that, any antlered deer is probably a hermaphrodite. These deer have both sex features and produce antlers that stay covered in velvet and may not shed.

Make sure that you have permission from the land owners before you begin. Antlers are precious to some for their monetary value. Competition can be furious. On many public lands, you may not enter before a certain date. Make sure you know the rules. The MT FWP can address any questions.

Back east, many states would not allow you to pick up any sheds or road kill trophies. Antlers were destined to be gnawed on by rodents or weather away. Without a legal tag, antlers were to be left in nature.

Antler is primarily made up of calcium or bone. Bone has no nerves so bucks and bulls feel nothing but pressure. Some folks say that deer make rubs on trees to scrape off the “itchy” velvet. With no nerves there is no need to scratch. In some countries, crushed antler is sold as an aphrodisiac to aid with sex drive. I have never eaten crushed antler but I do get excited when I see a big buck or bull coming through the forest!

My shed destination is where I expect the deer to winter. Usually this is lower elevations with lots of coulees and cover. Find the deer sign and you will find sheds. Look for trails and fence crossings. Think like a deer and travel these areas. The vibrations resulting from a deer jumping across a ditch, log, or fence can cause the antler to fall off. Low branches can snag an antler and cause it to shed.

I save most of my antler sheds for decoration, crafts, or education. Antlers also make awesome chew toys for pets. I trim any sharp tines off and let the dogs chew away. This training also helps dogs to find antlers on their own.

I drove my 4 wheeler into my prime shed collection site. Sturdy boots, walking sticks, binoculars, and a pack was all the gear I needed. The hunt was on. As I travelled down a deer trail, I looked to my left and there it was….my first shed of the year. A white tailed deer 5 pointer! It would have been a great buck during hunting season. The good news is that this trophy buck survived the hunting season and will be waiting for me next fall. It’s a date!

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Life can be challenging! We all have the need to release our stress. The long Montana winters can be kept in balance by the great hunting and fishing. If you don’t enjoy the recreation that is available or find ways to release your stress, life gets tougher. Things are hardest for the kids. Our youth end up getting in trouble when they get bored. They need some opportunities for more stress relief.

We only need to look at the outdoors to find some stress relief. Target shooting is a cheap, safe, and fun way to release stress. President Roosevelt would place portraits of his political adversaries on his White House lawn rifle range. There was something therapeutic about punching holes in paper. His stress was emptied along with his cartridges. Now he could make wise and important decisions without anger.


I taught my wife and kids how to shoot. Whether with pistols, rifles, or shotguns, there is something empowering about pulling a trigger and hitting a target. Your confidence grows with each bull’s-eye. Life is better when we are on target. If guns are not your “cup of tea”, try archery.

Shooting is not a gender thing. Many of the best shots that I have seen are women. Every new shot is an opportunity for success. To be a great shot, you need to learn “self- control”. This is exactly what most people are looking for in life.

I think this is why “shooter video games” are so popular. Many parents don’t allow kids the opportunity for actual shooting sports. They are afraid of the safety issues. The difference is that with real shooting there are real rules responsibility and safety. Accuracy and shooting skill is important. A true understanding of weaponry is required. When hunting, there are limits and regulations to follow. In a video game, the rules are impersonal and the goal is how many things you kill and how much ammo you have!

Shooting is not for everyone. It is an earned privilege. There may be other reasons when prevention from shooting is a good idea. Mental or behavioral concerns must be considered and monitored. Find other less lethal ways to release stress.

I am not saying that we should allow for “unsupervised” activities. Shooting is about safety, training, skill and fellowship. The rules, limits, laws and structure around shooting sports teach us many important life skills. Shooting opportunities must be earned and can be taken away just like cars and other privileges. Safety is always paramount. Many anti-gun advocates have never pulled a trigger. They just assume that if there are no guns, all will be safe. History shows this not to be true. Life is about choices and many of us “choose” to be able to protect life.

 

Prior to World War 2, shooting was part of the school curricula. Rifle ranges were part of Physical Education. This paid off when the US went to war. Our young recruits were great and disciplined marksmen. Guess who won the war? Shooting is a symbol of freedom.

When in a supervised environment, shooting is a wonderful way to relax and spend quality time with family and friends. Each trigger pull allows us to focus on something other than our problems. Success at shooting targets and cans builds our confidence. We refuse to become a victim. Clearer and more focused minds make better choices.

There is something rewarding when we celebrate a can full of holes. For a few moments, we did something safe, well, and fun. No one was hurt, stress was dealt with in a healthy way, and life can go on.

Shoot straight and safe!

Montana Grant

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