4/16/16 – Another winter is in the books up here in Big Sky Country! The end of winter, comes the beginning of spring. The beginning of spring, comes the lure of the most dominant predator within our waters. The Channel Catfish
Some hard core anglers have been wetting lines in open water since the end of January, but for many the upcoming weeks will signify the beginning of another memorable season. Don’t wait too long to get out there and explore those secret honey holes or toss a line into those secluded bodies of water. Some of the largest Channel Cats ever recorded in Montana history have been landed between mid-March and early May. Remember all it takes for Catfish to wake up from their annual winter slumber is a couple of consecutive warm weather days.
What is your favorite river in Montana? Whether it is the Yellowstone, the Missouri, the Musselshell, the Milk, or anywhere in between; chances are the cats are now beginning to prowl. You can expect the annual spring run-off to begin shortly and we should see a rise in the water levels and a change in water clarity that only a Catfisherman can love and appreciate.
With spring fever also comes the tournament season. Catfish tourney anglers in this part of the country associate May with the annual Yellowstone Challenge in Huntley. As is customary, the Challenge will take place on the 2nd Saturday in May just outside the Billings Metropolitan Area on the beautiful Yellowstone River. The tournament field is made up of 2-man teams and is limited to the first 60 BOATS entered and requires a $100 entry fee. The social and Calcutta is your first chance to talk fishing and see the rest of the Montana Cats crew. It will be held on Friday night May 12th at the Pryor Creek Bar at 6:00 p.m. At the time of this article 45 teams had paid and entered, leaving only 15 spots remaining. Get in before it’s too late!
After the Challenge, the Montana Cats “train” will move north to the Hi-Line for the 17th Annual Milk River Catfish Classic in Glasgow on Saturday June 4th. The third leg will take us to Sidney for the 8th Annual Monster Cat Roundup on July 16th. Finally, the circuit will again come to a close on the banks of the Missouri River in Williston, North Dakota on August 20th for the 6th Annual Catfish Clash. If you are interested in being a part of these upcoming events, we suggest you visit our website at www.montanacats.com, print off an entry form, fill it out, and send it in. Openings remain for the Challenge, Roundup, and Clash.
Take your time in the great outdoors this season. Breath it all in and realize just how lucky we all are to have so many outstanding opportunities right out our back doors. The staff at Montana Cats and all of our members would like to stress the continued importance of “catch and release” or “selective harvest”. Don’t miss opportunities to educate young anglers and other fisherman on the fact that we do not sit on an unlimited resource. Montana rules and regulations leave a lot to be desired when it comes to channel catfish and our prized rivers. If we do not fight to keep these big fish swimming it will be too late and our kids and grandkids will not be afforded the same opportunities we are so lucky to have. It is our firm belief that the best feeling of landing a big catfish is watching that same fish swim away!
Please enjoy the tournament schedule below. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for one of our events or just want to support the Montana Catfish Association, please contact us immediately.
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