Opening Day

Big Hole River 530 cfs

We have had lots of moisture so far in October and the river is running well above average. The high country had been getting it’s share of snow with all the surrounding peaks showing solid white.

Today was the opening day of the general big game hunting season. As for me I chose to sleep in which was hard to do with all the rigs going by the house heading up Charcoal Gulch. I did see one bull elk in the back of a pickup coming out this afternoon.

Last Monday night we held a meeting to discuss the dewatering problem and illegal diversion dams on the Big Hole. This meeting was arranged for all the local outfitters and guides to come and voice their opinion. The executive directors from both the Big Hole Watershed Committee and Big Hole River Foundation were there as well as a representative from the Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. I will have to say that the attendance by my fellow guides and outfitters was meager to say the least. This was very disappointing to me as this was supposed to be a gathering where we would speak and act as one. I hear lots of bitching and bantering but when it comes down to crunch time—–where are they? I heard lots of excuses but you know what they say about excuses. All in all it was a good informative, peaceful meeting. Noorjahan who is the director of the Watershed Committee is like a mediator at the peace table when most participants are complaining about whether the table should be square or round. She asked me to consider being the outfitter rep. on that committee. At the present time there is no outfitter on the Big Hole Watershed Committee as there voice was going unheard and they just got disgusted with it. I’ll have to do some very serious thinking about it.

Andros Island trips are coming up soon and the air fares, at least from Montana are not real good. My sister from Chicago and my brother from Denver called last night and were bragging about their direct flights to Nassau for under $300. I think I will remain living in Montana and pay the extra fare.
I did receive an official letter from the Mile High Conservation that those two dams that I filed the complaint on have been removed.


  1. Dear Al,
    Hey I wish that the turn out had been better for the meeting so that a voices of outfitters and guides would maybe start being heard. However I am an outfitter from outside the Bighole and Beaverhead area that would have been willing to travel to the meeting but I have not been welcome to come over to the river with a few of my clients and a closed sign has been put up for my ability to operate a few days on the Bighole or Beaverhead. I sympathize with the problems caused by low water and I would love to see more water kept in the streams for the fish. I bet there would have been a better turn out at the meeting had there not been so much desent from outfitters who would like to bring a few clients over to fish river on a special occassion. I love the Bighole very much and I really enjoy reading your post so please do not think that I am trying to bash the outfitters and guides from the Bighole area but as a group you have put yourselves on an island without any way of summoning help. I hope that more water can be set aside for fish in the future and that the low water on the Bighole can be dealt with in a manner that works for all involved. Keep up the good work as well and sorry that I used this forum to voice my dislike of the moritoriums that have been placed on good standing outfitters who want nothing but to be afforded the opportunities to share the resources of this great state in the same manner as others.

  2. Allen Schallenberger


    I appreciate your work on the dams. One person standing up for what is right can make a difference.

    The meeting must not have had much advertising. I live 10 miles from the Big Hole and am licensed for fishing it till the end of this year when I will be retiring from outfitting. I did not know about it.

    I would encourage you to get involved with the Big Hole Committee. Since I started the Jefferson River Watershed Council in 1998 and have served on it since 1999 I know our actions have created a better fishery. I’m leaving the council this fall so there is an outfitter slot open there.

    I have started a wildlife consulting business and will be tackling wriiting a popular style beaver management plan which will put considerable water into headwater streams and hence to the rivers. I am also currently working on grizzly, wolf and elk problems.

    Having attended many Big Hole watershed meetings I think the Jefferson Council was a better and more friendly atmosphere for a fishing outfitter to accomplish desirable projects.

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