Montana FWP has completed an environmental analysis that recommends the agency use gillnetting and other methods to significantly reduce the expanding walleye population in Noxon Reservoir on the lower Clark Fork River.
It is very important for TU members to support the agency's proposal because the walleye population results from an illegal introduction. Not addressing their presence at Noxon will reward bucket biology, creating incentive for similar behavior to be repeated in other key habitats for coldwater species.
The walleye also threaten an expensive multi-year project aimed at improving bull trout and cutthroat populations in the lower Clark Fork region and in Lake Pend Oreille, in Idaho. Further, these invaders imperil a long established, important sportfishery for smallmouth and largemouth bass. Many bass fishermen at Noxon have supported TU's conservation efforts, and we should lend them a hand in this endeavor.
Contact FWP by Friday, April 19 and in your own words tell the agency you support its proposal because:
- State policy obligates the agency to reduce or eliminate species that occur in public waters because of illegal stocking.
- The establishment of walleyes at Noxon threatens an economically important bass fishery.
- The growing walleye fishery will harm the collaborative efforts of Montana and Idaho's wildlife departments, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Avista Corp., PPL and TU to reconnect fish movement around dams on the lower Clark Fork, in order to bolster dwindling populations of native bull and cutthroat trout. FWP's walleye reduction plan for Noxon Reservoir will ultimately benefit fisheries in the lower Clark Fork, Thompson, Bull and St. Regis Rivers.
- If left alone, the walleye population will reduce forage species in the lower Clark Fork reservoirs, resulting in fewer sportfish and a walleye fishery comprised of stunted individuals -- in the long run, walleye enthusiasts do not benefit.
Send your comments TODAY to Ken Breidinger at FWP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact Bruce Farling at email@example.com or at 406-543-0054.
Thank you for doing your part to make a difference!