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Today marks the start of a new year, and with it I offer you my first column for 2015. It’s the day of the year that we take time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future – a day when New Year's resolutions are made or, in my case, a bucket list is created.

Last year was another great year for me both on the personal and professional side of things. Once again, fishing and hunting trips were on the top of the list for great times to remember. The "Montana Outdoor Radio Show" finished its 16th year airing weekly on 22 radio stations across the state and continues to be the go-to website for hunting, fishing, and outdoors news.

I spent quite a bit of my fishing time on Fort Peck Reservoir, Holter Reservoir, Canyon Ferry Reservoir and Flathead Lake. Those bodies of water have been a popular destination for my fishing adventures for the past few years. The older I get, the more I tend to like a routine, and these lakes each offer good fishing at different times of the year. It works nicely into my schedule, and I hope it continues that way this year.

Holter is generally the first lake I visit in the spring. Anglers there know it offers some excellent trout fishing. It gives me an opportunity to make sure all the equipment on my boat is working properly, and the fish are usually biting.

By mid-April the perch bite is going strong on Flathead Lake, and it's nice to catch some great table fare.

Then it's off to Rock Creek on the Dry Arm of Fort Peck in May. It’s the time of the year that you are more likely to catch a 10-plus-pound walleye.

June is by far the best overall walleye fishing month for me, with trips to Canyon Ferry Reservoir and then back to Fort Peck planned, but this time my travels take me to the Hell Creek State Campground in the middle of 134-mile reservoir.

A return trip for a week at Hell Creek after the Fourth of July has always been great fishing.

August finds me heading for big lake trout on Flathead Lake, where each day trip normally produces at least one or two fish bigger than 30 inches.

The month of September is usually devoted to archery hunting with a day or two fishing on Holter Reservoir sandwiched in between. Last year, the fall weather remained great into October and the trout fishing was fantastic on Holter.

Waterfowl hunting during the opener, which normally falls on the first Saturday in October, is also a day for me to look forward to as we do our annual "Goose Blind Broadcast" on the "Montana Outdoor Radio Show."

By the time Montana’s big-game rifle season opens in late October, I am ready to fill my freezer with an elk. Most years, that effort takes me well into November.

I hope your 2014 was good and as busy as mine. I also hope that in 2015 you will create some great memories with your family and friends fishing, hunting or just enjoying the great Montana outdoors. Happy new year!

Mark Ward’s statewide "Montana Outdoor Radio Show" airs Saturday’s from 6 to 8 a.m. in Missoula on KGVO 1290 AM. Email Ward at

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