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Conservation Alert!! – Yellowstone Fish Kill

 Help FWP monitor additional watersheds for infected fish

If you are fishing, floating, or frolicking on MT rivers, you can help contain the spread of the parasite that has hit the Yellowstone River and killed thousands of native whitefish.  In addition to cleaning, drying, and inspecting your gear before getting on other rivers, once you are on the water be on the lookout for sick or dead fish.  Early detection can help FWP contain another outbreak.  Fish infected with the parasite that causes PKD can show the following symptoms: a darkened body or red, bloody splotches, bloated belly, bulging eyeballs, pale gills, bleeding from vents or fins, or sideways/belly-up swimming.

If you observe live or dead fish with these symptoms, take a photo, note your location as specifically as possible, and determine the species and number of fish you observe.  Avoid any unnecessary contact with the fish.  DO NOT collect the fish.  Call the FWP staff listed below.  FWP asks that you do not leave a message.  Rather call down the list until you reach someone. They want to speak directly to anyone who has made observations of a fish kill or diseased fish.

Eileen Ryce, 406-788-5784(c)

David Moser, 406-994-6938(o), 406-868-0352(c)

Travis Horton, 406-994-3155(o), 406-558-9180(c)

Jim Olsen, 406-533-8451(o)

Matt Jaeger, 406-683-9310(o), 406-925-1343(c)

Emma Cayer, 406-683-2675(o), 406-925-3050(c)

Carol Endicott, 406-222-3710(o), 406-599-5561(c)

Scott Opitz, 406-222-5105(o), 406-223-3951(c)

Ron Spoon, 406-299-4237(o), 406-459-6169(c)


 

 takenobulllogoNew bull trout website from our pals at the Panhandle Chapter over in Sandpoint, ID

Get lots of good information on bull trout, native fish and fishy happenings in Northern Idaho. Also, don’t forget, the annual Trout and About festival for kids is coming up on August 28th in Sandpoint.  The Festival will feature music from Missoula band The Whizpops and Bozeman’s Kitchen Dwellers.  There will also be trout-related games, education, raffles, and giveaways. Save the date! You can get more information on the Take No Bull website


Catch & Release

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Alert: All Flathead River Anglers

When the 2016 Montana Fishing Regulations booklet was printed many people noticed an important omission. “Catch-and-release for cutthroat trout” was missing from the mainstem of the Flathead River rules. The regulation has not changed, this is just a mistake in the regulation booklet. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks was alerted to the omission and has begun a publicity campaign to make sure that everyone knows that the mainstem Flathead River from the confluence of the North and Middle Forks downstream to Flathead Lake remains catch and release for all cutthroat trout.

As of today (March 7) signs such as the one shown will be posted at all public access sites to remind anglers of the proper regulation. FWP will also notify anglers through local media outlets and there may be an errata sheet printed for the 2016 regulation booklet. Please let your friends and fellow anglers know that there has been no change and the the Mainstem Flathead River remains catch-and-release for all cutthroat trout.

If you have any questions about fishing regulations in the Flathead, please contact MFWP Fisheries Manager Mark Deleray at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (406) 751-4550 mdeleray@mt.gov. Thanks for your help on this issue.


logogreenDon’t forget to join Flathead Women on the Fly for their monthly fly tying night and other activities on the second Tuesday of each month. Contact Kim at 406-885-3228 for the next event. Check out their Facebook page or visit their exciting website at; flatheadwomenonthefly.com

FWOTF is a group of women who like to fly fish and those who would like to learn fly fishing skills. It’s about fun, support, community and learning. Watch for updates on their Facebook page and on their upcoming website.


Catch and Release – It only makes sense

Flathead Valley Trout Unlimited produced the following short video public service announcement on proper Catch and Release techniques.

If you would like to use this video in either 30 or 60-second versions, you can download the following files;

30-second PSA version

60-second PSA version

If you would like HD versions of either video, please contact Flathead TU


Illegal Introductions: Stupid people do stupid things.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Whether it is Smallmouth bass in Seeley Lake, Walleye in Noxon Reservoir and Swan Lake, Perch in Rogers Lake, or Northern Pike in the Stillwater Lakes, illegal fish introductions in Montana’s waters do irreparable harm to our state fisheries. Montana has documented 600 illegal introductions of fish in 300 of Montana’s waters. More than 25% of those incidents have occurred in the past 10 years. Recently, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks introduced new rules for dealing with unlawful bucket biology. Offenders are now liable for a fine of $2,000 to $10,000 and can be made to pay the cost of remediation, which can run to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The new rule requires FWP to investigate reports of unauthorized fish plantings within 30 days of learning about them, followed by an action plan to deal with the introduction. Flathead Valley TU supports the intent and implementation of these new rules and encourages the public to be aware of illegal actions that can drastically hurt our fishing opportunities. A recent article in the May-June issue of Montana Outdoors Magazine highlights the damage that these stupid people are inflicting on our precious fisheries resources.

Montana Trout Unlimited along with its affiliated statewide chapters have offered a reward of up to $10,000 for the arrest and conviction of anyone illegally dumping fish into our waterways to help stem the increasing tide of illegal introductions. Along with the TU reward, other angling organizations have put up an additional $4,200 and the Montana TIP-MONT program will chip in another $1,000. Altogether, you could be eligible for more than $15,000 for your help in catching and convicting unlawful bucket biologists. The money will be available through  FWP’s TIP-MONT program

“Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money, but when you consider lost fishing opportunities, economic cost to local communities and the cost of getting rid of invasive species, this is an important investment,” said Montana TU Conservation Director Mark Aagenes.

It’s time to get tough on those few jerks who think they can better manage our fisheries through unlawful actions than can our professional resource managers. These selfish folks need to understand that there are serious consequences to their actions. Please support the new bucket biology rules by reporting these criminals.


EBCFlathead Valley Trout Unlimited is currently supporting the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in their effort to reduce the overabundant population of lake trout in Flathead Lake in order to benefit native fish species and enhance the fishery in the Flathead River system. The CSKT published a final Environmental Impact Statement on their plan to suppress the lake trout population in Flathead Lake using a variety of methods and strategies that support the Co-Management plan developed by CSKT and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Read the CSKT Final EIS: Proposed Strategies to Benefit Native Species by reducing the abundance of lake trout, Flathead Lake, Montana.

Please read comments by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on the proposed EIS along with detailed rebuttal by CSKT

Press Release: CSKT Tribal Council Recommends a Preferred Alternative

Flathead TU Comments on the Draft EIS

Montana TU Comments on the Draft EIS

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Comments on the Draft EIS

CSKT 2014 Implementation Plan for the Flathead Lake and River Fisheries Co-Management Plan

For more information on the plight of our native fish, read Facts About Flathead Lake and the NEPA Process


QuartzLT

Lake trout removed from Quartz Lake

Glacier National Park

In addition to efforts at Flathead Lake, other projects throughout the basin are addressing the problem of invasive nonnative fish. In Glacier National Park, lake trout have invaded nine of twelve lakes on the west side of the park and have placed important native fish populations at risk. In several of the infested lakes, the native bull trout populations are in imminent danger of extinction.

The Park Service is charged with protecting native species in our national parks for the enjoyment of future generations.

“It’s a huge ecological health issue,” said Clint Muhlfeld, a Glacier-based fisheries scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “A lot of the populations are functionally extinct in the park right now.”

Glacier National Park has taken on the large job of protecting and restoring its remaining native fish populations. In 2009, they began a project of gillnetting lake trout in Quartz Lake and recently released a plan to add a restoration effort on Logging Lake. Flathead Valley Trout Unlimited is fully supportive of this effort. Follow the links below for more information on these and other projects by the National Park Service to protect the genetic integrity of our native species.

Preservation of Threatened Bull Trout in Glacier National Park.

Char Wars  MSU scientists wade into fight against invasive lake trout in Montana’s national parks Large-Scale Removal of Lake Trout in Quartz Lake – Environmental Assessment Environmental Assessment for Continued Lake Trout Suppression on Quartz Lake & Lake Trout Removal and Bull Trout Conservation in the Logging Lake Drainage.


Swan Lake  and Swan River Native Fish Restoration Efforts2013 Swan Lake

Swan Valley Bull Trout Working Group

2015 Summary Report (pdf)

2014 Summary Report (pdf)

2013 Summary Report (pdf) – From Montana TU

2012 Summary Report (pdf)