Fish Survey on Bitterroot Tributary Calls for Creek Snorkeling
By Jackalope Jordan


A different kind of fish survey recently took place on Lost Horse Creek. Instead of shocking fish to the surface survey takers donned snorkels and submerged themselves in the cold water of the creek to get a trout count.
Involved agencies claim snorkeling reduces undue stress and fish deaths in the stream compared to the use of electrical currents.

Montana Untamed reports:

HAMILTON — Alex Leone was standing in Lost Horse Creek wearing a bright red dry suit and goggles as he replaced the snorkel in his mouth before dunking his head back in the cold water. Lily Haines was a few feet away, wearing the leaking yellow dry suit. Both dragged themselves like seals through water between 6 inches and 3 feet deep to count fish.

Last week, the Clark Fork Coalition sent Leone, Haines and Jed Whiteley to conduct a census to see how the creek’s new summer flow was affecting fish populations.

After 77 years of going dry in midsummer, Lost Horse Creek ran back to the Bitterroot River in 2015, thanks to a complex, $500,000 dollar project  by the Clark Fork Coalition and the Ward Irrigation District.
“We’re looking at the responses from the water and trout today,” Whiteley said before crossing the old railroad bridge that sits unused over Lost Horse Creek, south of Hamilton.
Read more at Montana Untamed.
 
Derek Minemyer/Montana Untamed photo





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