85 Anglers With Disabilities Brave the Rain at Special Flathead Lake Fishing Day

By Beacon Staff

Rain fell continuously today on the 18th annual Fishing Without Barriers Day on Flathead Lake. But the wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the 85 anglers with disabilities, who spent hours on boats fishing for lake trout. The anglers ranged from 7 to 87 years old, and most of them went out on boats in the face of rain and rough water, eager to catch a lake trout. Although only two 3- pound lake trout were caught, anglers and boat captains enjoyed the day and renewed friendships from previous years.

Anglers fished from Montana Charterboat Association boats and private craft. Only 11 boats were available this year and anglers waited patiently for their turn to fish. Anglers hailed from the upper Flathead Valley, Kalispell, Polson, Ronan, and as far away as Missoula.

At a post-fishing barbeque, about 200 people, including anglers, helpers, and family members, enjoyed a gourmet luncheon. Barry Schrammeck of Woods Bay RV Park and Campground provided the facility for the barbeque. Doug Averill and Jim Frissell made available Hidden Harbor where boats were launched. The Montana Game Wardens Association served as a major sponsor. Jerry Howard of the FWP Crossing the Barriers Committee organized the food, donations, and other aspects of the event. He also baked 40 dozen chocolate chip cookies, which have become an event trademark.

Charter Boat Captains included Brent Persinger of Flathead Lake Charters, Jerry Landskron of Woods Bay Charters, Dusty Bagley of Dusty Bagley Charters, Jim Landwehr of Glacier Fishing Charters, Matt McComb, Bob Orsua, and Tom Cobianco of Mo Fisch Charters, and Mike Howe of A-Able Charters. Other Boat Captains included Dan Hartwell, Jens Gran, and Bob Seccombe.

Those donating to the event included: Montana Game Wardens Association, Sportsman and Ski Haus, Flathead Lake Lodge- Doug Averill, Glacier Bank, Flathead Beverage, Super 1 Foods, Coke, Pepsi, Bigfork Nursing Home, Flathead Valley Orthopedic Center, Farm to Market Pork, Bigfork IGA, Meadow Gold ice cream, Costco, Woods Bay Market, Smiths, Frito Lay Chips, Meadowgold, Snappys Sport Senter, Farm to Market Pork, Tri-State Restaurant Supply, AMVETS Riders 770, Sue Crawford, and Steve and Mary Hoffman.

The Fish, Wildlife & Parks Crossing the Barriers Committee coordinated the event. Jerry Howard serves as chairman and main organizer. Other volunteers included Ilene Howard, Jim Landis, Katie Landis, Jeff Rach and many others. Also helping out were FWP’s Garland Hamilton, Ben Chappelow, Chuck Bartos, Lee Anderson, Perry Brown, Nathan Reiner, Brian Schwartz, Wes Oedekovan and many others.

The Fishing without Barriers Day is held annually to provide 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.