Dam Removal Effects Trout

Dam Removal Effects Trout

Author: Fly Fisherman Magazine
Published: November 2, 2021

There was a time when Bull Trout were wildly abundant. Fast forward to 2014 and these apex predators are now protected under the Endangered Species Act. Looking to turn that around, Montana took on a restoration project that would end up benefiting more than just this great species.

“In the past decade, bull trout have gained a rather mystical status. True predators, large bull trout have been known to munch on a smaller trout caught on the end of a line, providing high entertainment and often inadvertently hooking themselves in the process. While the species cannot be actively targeted—with a few permitted exceptions in the northwest corner of Montana—fly fishers eagerly recount tales of their interactions with the species. Yet while some anglers actively—and illegally—target the fish, too few appreciate or understand the bull trout’s daily struggle for survival, a struggle that, some days, the species seems to be losing.

“Bull trout are a much different species than cutthroat for a number of reasons, chiefly among them that they’re highly mobile and migratory,” explains U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) fisheries biologist Wade Fredenberg. “Fundamentally, they’re a migratory critter for spawning and pursuing food sources . . . they evolved that way.” He adds the fish have been known to travel more than 150 miles from the Flathead Valley in northwestern Montana all the way to British Columbia to return to their natal spawning grounds.”

Read more at FlyFisherman.com.

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