If I'm going to catch a few bass on Saturday, I might want to get out to Frenchtown Pond pretty early.

There could be a lot of paddle enthusiasts on the water later in the morning, which is just fine. You should join them for this free family-oriented event.

Frenchtown Pond State Park will host the Big Paddle event this Saturday, June 12th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This free, family event is a partnership between The Trail Head store in Missoula and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Paddle enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels are welcome. Come test out demo equipment provided by The Trail Head. Experts will be on hand to offer instruction and guidance. Learn about the different paddle sports and check out a variety of new equipment. The event also includes educational booths with information about paddle sports and what to expect on Montana’s lakes and rivers. Educational talks will be ongoing throughout the day with a wide range of topics.

This will undoubtedly come up in the educational talks, but Montana FWP likes us to remind you that even this type of paddle equipment requires inspection at the Aqualtic Invasive Species check stations. If your travels take you to one, make sure you stop.

Here is the Trail Head's tentative schedule for Saturday:

10 a.m.-3 p.m. – Demo Equipment: Work with experts from The Trail Head to pick out the paddle equipment and test it in the water.

11 a.m. – State Park History: Learn about the history of Frenchtown Pond and how it became a Montana State Park.

12 p.m. – All Things Fishing Access Sites: Where are our local Fishing Access Sites and what are the best practices when using them?

1 p.m. – Transitioning from Flat to Moving Water: Learn about transitioning from lakes to rivers and when the best times are to hit the rivers.

2 p.m. – Boat Safe, Boat Smart: Join FWP to learn about smart and safe boating habits, important gear, and aquatic invasive species.

Have big fun, western Montana. It sounds like our weekend weather is going to be pretty cooperative.

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