Serious Repercussions for Illegally Relocating Fish
From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:
The trouble with fish ponds: Case exposes potential to damage Montana’s blue ribbon streams
“The bottom line is we have some of the world’s best blue-ribbon trout streams and it is our responsibility to protect them for future generations,” Sheppard said. “It is about protecting the world’s greatest trout fishing.”
Photo from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks employees use a gill net to capture illegally stocked fish at a fish pond on the Smiling Moose Ranch in the Madison Valley on Sept. 23, 2014
The ponds, two of which had previously been legally stocked with rainbow trout from a Montana hatchery, were stocked with rainbow trout, cutthroat-rainbow trout hybrids, steelhead and brown trout illegally imported from an Idaho hatchery. FWP used gill nets to collect genetic samples of the fish. After informing Janura of the violation, FWP removed the fish from the ponds in November using a piscicide.
Some of the fish ponds on Smiling Moose Ranch are located within one-quarter mile of the Madison River. A single osprey drop of a diseased fish from one of those ponds into the Madison could have put the entire Upper Missouri River system at risk, FWP officials said. One of the ponds was connected to Horse Creek, which flows into the Madison River.
Northern pike, believed to have originated in a private fish pond, were discovered in the upper Missouri River in the 2000s. The predatory fish have since been found in the Gallatin and Jefferson rivers. FWP has made efforts to remove the fish from Toston Reservoir with some success, but the species has become established in the system. The long-term impact of northern pike in the Upper Missouri River system is unknown.
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