Great news for rivers…Butte Montana Standard 8/21/2021

  • 15 hrs ago
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Great news for rivers

Great news for the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers and hats off to the FWP commission for clearly being thoughtful and thorough in the decision-making process to implement new restrictions and regulations in the hopes of protecting our declining brown trout populations.

Our FWP fisheries team can collect data over the next few years to see if these changes are allowing our declining brown trout populations to rebound. It was a bit surprising that the new spawning restrictions did not start on October 1st, as this had been the consensus of the public comment and focus groups and it is well known that the peak of brown trout spawn occurs in October, however this is still better than no changes at all.

Since we are about to enter the fall spawning time and conditions on the Big Hole are without a doubt suboptimal, and many sections are closed due to low flows, each individual angler can decide for themselves not to pursue fish during spawning. It may be legal to fish during the spawn, but is it ethical? Especially when the population is in dire straits, honor should transcend the law.

In addition, unless water flows improve significantly during the coming weeks, The Big Hole should remain closed until the spring. Efforts to improve stream flows need to continue to be supported and realizing this is a complex issue, everyone needs to come together and come up with solutions that will benefit our precious watershed.

The Big Hole Watershed Committee has done wonderful work on this issue and needs continued support and cooperation moving forward.

Lastly, many thanks to FWP fisheries biologists Jim Olson and Matt Yeager as well as Region 3 Fisheries Director Travis Horton for their work and support of changes to help protect the Brown Trout. The ultimate goal is protecting the resource and we all need to be diligent in our efforts to preserve this irreplaceable and precious trout population.

Paul Siddoway, Butte 1 comment