The 2014 paddlefish harvest season on the Upper Missouri River section from Fort Benton to Fort Peck Dam will close at 9 p.m. on Monday May 5, 2014, state officials said Sunday.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 6 Fisheries Program Manager Steve Dalbey said the 24-hour harvest closure notice issued Sunday night means that in this section of the Upper Missouri River, paddlefish can only be caught and released for the remainder of the 2014 season.
The catch-and-release season will remain open through June 15, 2014. Proof of purchase of a white paddlefish tag on the angler’s fishing license is required for catch-and-release fishing in this section. Legal hours for catch-and-release fishing for paddlefish are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (MST) daily.
The 2014 paddlefish harvest target for this population in the Upper Missouri River is 500 fish. As of May 4, a total of 420 paddlefish had been harvested in the section. Since the season opened on May 1, approximately 100 fish have been harvested daily. FWP staff report that the number of anglers pursuing paddlefish remains high, and that an estimated 100 additional fish will be harvested on Monday. FWP has the authority to close the paddlefish harvest season within 24 hours if it appears the harvest target may be exceeded.
(Report by Montana FWP; Feature photo via stltoday.com)