Montana fisheries officials are seeking public comment on a proposal to lift fishing bag limits for trout on two central Montana waters that are scheduled for westslope cutthroat trout restoration efforts later this summer.
The waters are Camas Lake in the Big Belt Mountains near White Sulphur Springs and Elkhorn Creek, on the Beartooth Wildlife Management Area north of Helena.
The westslope cutthroat trout was once widely distributed and abundant in the Columbia, Kootenai and upper Missouri river drainages of Montana. Today, the westslope is found in less than 5 percent of its historic range in the upper Missouri River drainage.
Camas Lake is scheduled for a chemical treatment in August to remove Yellowstone cutthroat trout; while Elkhorn Creek is scheduled for electrofishing activities, also in August, to remove cutthroat/rainbow hybrids from a portion of the creek.
On both waters, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is proposing to immediately waive the bag limits to allow anglers to catch and keep as many of these fish as desired in advanced of the native fish restoration efforts.
The portion of the Elkhorn Creek where the bag limit waiver would apply stretches from the confluence of the east and west forks of Elkhorn Creek downstream about one mile to a man-made barrier.
Currently on Camas Lake, the limit is five trout daily and 10 in possession and on Elkhorn Creek it’s catch-and-release only.
Under this proposal, there would be no limit for trout caught through Aug. 15.
For more information or to comment on the proposed rules online, visit the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov beginning Wednesday, June 4. Click “Public Notices.” Comments, due by July 3, can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org; or mailed to: Montana FWP, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.
(Report by Montana FWP)