Freezout Boating Restrictions

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Freezout Boating Restrictions

Postby darcher » Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:55 pm

I've been all over the web looking for access and boat restrictions on Freezeout Lake. It has been over ten years since I last hunted Freezeout. As I recall (then) the launch was primitive, and the water was very shallow. I rowed my boat during a drought year. So, are there restrictions against outboards? Is it so shallow that it might clog up a small outboard?

Since my return to my home in Florence, I have been working on the place getting it back in order from ten years of renting. Today I finished! Tomorrow I am off to scout the south bay of Flathead Lake and check out Kicking Horse. My duck boat is still in Oregon so I will probably use my scull boat as a layout boat, or I have a small, old wooden pram.

I look back with fond memories of hunting twenty or more years ago on opening day not far from the golf course on Flathead Lake. In those days no one had built homes along the East Bay shore. In the stretch of willows by the golf course to the farm at Bird Point, I would run into maybe three other hunters so we never crowded each other. Ten or fifteen years ago Ducharme Lane access used to be a zoo on opening day so I shudder to think what it must be like now. I am 67 and I still get excited about opening day. When I wistfully wish I was young and strong to the point that I could drag my boat over mud, I stop and reflect how lucky I am to still be out there.
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Re: Freezout Boating Restrictions

Postby darcher » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:42 pm

I scouted the East Bay of Flathead Lake today. I saw two to three hundred coots rafting out on the lake, two swans and six mallards. My memory must be faltering because I was sure there used to be more resident ducks. I did see a hundred Canada geese on the farmer's slope just below his house. I checked out all the MacMansions in the other bay closer to Polson. Most are set back a 100 yards so when they pull the plug on the lake, I may still be able to scull for geese in that area and keep 200 yards away. (Providing my old shoulders hold up.) Kicking Horse Reservoir, which was always tough to hunt, surprised me most. With all the water this year, I thought it would be higher with some grass and weeds close to the water. Yeah, right, it was a low as the drought years during the 80's and 90's. I did see about 20 mallards cruising the mud-lined shore. That was it.
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Re: Freezout Boating Restrictions

Postby Deadpair » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:28 am

With the non-native 2 foot grass extending out 100 yards throughout the whole east bay of flathead lake the ducks dont reside there much anymore at least not near the shore. The grass is so thick they can't even land in. You also can't motor, wade, or place decoys in it. Unfortunately it has taken over the whole bay. Hopefully the tribe will do something about it but with all of the EPA red tape....I'd be surprised. It gets worse ever year. We don't even try to hunt the bay anymore due to that invasive plant. Even when the birds "are in' the ducks wont go near the shore since there isnt anywhere to land. The only thing worth going to see anymore is the birds out in the middle of the lake with a spotting scope. As for mission bay... The new home owners will have the cops and game wardens on you in two seconds! Either for shooting too close to their homes or noise violation. Especially since most of that bay is now consider with in the city limits of Polson. The best hunting has been near the refuges, fields or trying the rivers later in the season. Welcome home.
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Re: East Bay

Postby darcher » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:33 am

Thank you for that sad report. I couldn't understand all that "new" grass so far out from the shoreline. Thank you for the tip on Mission Bay. If it is in the city limits now, that precludes me from sculling. Damn! I guess I'll just take the scull boat out on East Bay for some honkers, although truth be told, I am unable to scull long distances anymore. On anther disappointing note, my Mud Buddy at 25hp is off limits to the Flathead River on the reservation with the 15hp restriction. Looks like I will be traveling much further than the old days. I'll next check on the Thompson Falls area and the Thompson Chain of Lakes. I might also check on Swan Lake. At least now that I am retired, I can take my camper and stay for a couple of days.
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Re: Freezout Boating Restrictions

Postby darcher » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:16 am

I put in a call to Great Falls regional office. The first person that I talked to had no idea regarding boating restrictions on Freezeout so I waited for someone who knew about boating on Freezeout Lake during duck season. He said he wouldn't advise it because it is so shallow. He said yes I could use a boat and motor, but I would probably ruin my outboard. I asked if there were any restrictions on horse power. He said no. I took a deep breath and asked, "Any restrictions on using a shallow draft mud motor?" "Nope!" came the reply. I then asked is there still only that primitive launch site, or has it been improved in my ten year absence. Nope.

When I get my duck boat back from the Klamath Lake area, I had better get up there before it freezes up earlier than usual!

Dave Archer
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