People with disabilities enjoy a day on Flathead Lake

By Beacon Staff

For some people with disabilities, fishing on Flathead Lake is not an every day occurence.

But on Thursday, 90 people with disabilities were able to experience fishing on “the big lake” during the 14th annual Fishing Without Barriers Day. The event provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to get out on Flathead Lake and enjoy fishing with the experts. For many of the anglers, it is their only fishing experience for the year.

The Fishing Without Barriers day on Flathead Lake is sponsored by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and dozens of volunteers from the commercial fishing businesses on Flathead Lake. A record 90 anglers caught a record 150 lake trout off of private boats, as well as boats provided by the Montana Charterboat Association boats. Many lake trout were kept and eaten, but many fish, including a half-dozen large fish up to 35 inches, were caught and released, FWP spokesman John Fraley said. At a barbecue following the event, anglers and volunteers enjoyed fried lake trout and other foods.

Anglers came from the Flathead Valley, Kalispell, Polson, Ronan, Libby, Eureka, and as far south as Missoula. Anglers ranged from 5 to 80 years of age.
This year, most anglers launched from Hidden Harbor (formerly Woods Bay Marina). Some anglers launched from Bayview Resort and Marina Cay. All anglers, volunteers, and helpers converged at Woods Bay RV Park and Campground for the barbecue, which was attended by more than 200 people, Fraley said. Barry Schrammeck and family of Woods Bay RV Park and Campground provided their facility for the barbecue.