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Montana Tales & Trails Archive

Where the Big Fish Swim

Photo of a man holding a large fish

July 22, 2011

After what seems like forever to get here, summer has arrived. Streams and rivers are clearing, and fishing is improving. Now it's just a matter of where to go. Full Story

What Good are Mosquitoes?

Photo of a bat

July 8, 2011

Mosquitoes are part of this planet's complex web of life. That's probably the place to start looking for their reason for being. Full Story

Bird Songs


June 17, 2011

This time of year, most migratory bird species have a distinctive song or sound that males use regularly to establish a territory and attract females. Full Story

Water, Water, Everywhere


May 6, 2011

All that water spread in sheets across central Montana now serves wildlife if not the farmer who wants to get into his field for spring planting. Full Story

When a Rainbow is a Rainbow


April 21, 2011

The vast majority of rainbows in the three reservoirs on the Missouri between Helena and Great Falls—Canyon Ferry, Hauser and Holter—come from the state's hatchery system. Full Story

Avian Vision


April 12, 2011

More signs of spring: meadowlarks singing on the prairie, robins chirping at dawn in town and pieces of crayfish, crawdads if you must, along the Missouri River. Full Story

Signs of Spring


March 25, 2011

Everyone has a different sign for the arrival of spring: birds returning, flowers blooming, insects buzzing about. Let's not forget bears, especially grizzlies, awakening from a winter's nap. Full Story

The Insects Are Here


March 10, 2011

Believe it or not, winter will end some day. And when that day arrives the first harbinger of spring will likely be a bug. Before bears emerge from their dens, songbirds return to find a nest site and flowers bloom, an insect will stir to crawl or fly about. Full Story

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree


January 21, 2011

For years, fish biologists working with anglers and other volunteers have bundled and weighted donated evergreens to sink in reservoirs and lakes for use as fish habitat. Full Story

The Child Angler in All of Us


January 7, 2011

Remember being young and everything revolved around fishing? School was barely tolerable and the five days between weekends dragged on like the Hundred Years War. Full Story

Santa's Montana Reindeer

December 20, 2010


Montana's reindeer are most likely gone from the landscape now. Not to the North Pole to pull Santa's sleigh. Rather they are probably the victim of habitat loss. Full Story

Small Streams Close to Fishing


November 19, 2010

Small streams close to fishing November 30 in central and western Montana. That's the law, though it's hard to find anyone who recalls when that became so. Full Story

Antlers: What Makes Them So Big


November 10, 2010

It's that time of year when hunting talk centers around antlers, or "horns." It happens throughout the fall, but in spades during Montana's five-week deer and elk general season. Full Story

Where the Bulls Are


October 18, 2010

It's the elk rifle season now and most hunters want to know where the bull elk are. The easy answer is up high and way back. Full Story

Fall Spawners


October 14, 2010

Fall is here and winter fast approaches, which symbolizes death to some people. But for some fish species, fall is the beginning of the life cycle. Brown and brook trout, to name two, are fall spawners. By mid-October they have reached their spawning peak. Full Story

Pheasant Season


Ocotber 1, 2010

It's that time of year again when a bird with a brain no bigger than a lima bean outfoxes, outsmarts and generally flummoxes humans, the supposedly superior species. Full Story

Third Week in September


September 18, 2010

In the third week of September, moose approach the apex of their rut. Bull trout head to spawning tributaries. Asters bloom where many other prairie wildflowers have long faded. Full Story

Arctic Bird Migration is Here


August 16, 2010

For Arctic nesting shorebirds like long-billed dowitchers, the peak of fall migration is right now. And the place to go is Freezout Wildlife Management Area off Highway 89 between Fairfield and Choteau. Full Story

The Perils of a Young Trout


August 2, 2010

A basic rule of fisheries science is about one percent of rainbow eggs survive to become a one-year old fish. At that point the 8- to 10-inch fish is "recruited" into the population. Full Story