Kalispell, MT — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is proposing the purchase of 40 acres on the Thompson River to be managed as an undeveloped, walk-in Fishing Access Site approximately five miles east of Thompson Falls in Sanders County.
This proposal would preserve intact habitat for critical fish and wildlife species while allowing public access. The property, located near the Mount Silcox Wildlife Management Area, contains intact upland and riparian habitat and would provide access to approximately 2,500 feet of river frontage along both banks of the Thompson River. The mainstem fishery primarily consists of rainbow and brown trout, but many of the river’s intact tributaries provide excellent spawning and rearing habitat for native salmonids. Other native fish species that occur within the property include mountain whitefish, longnose suckers, largescale suckers, northern pikeminnow, various sculpin species, and longnose dace. Non-native fish species include rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout.
The Thompson River averages over 8,000 annual angler days.
To fund the acquisition, Avista Corporation would provide $150,000 through the Clark Fork Settlement Agreement; NorthWestern Energy would provide $100,000 through the Adaptive Mitigation Fund; FWP would provide $40,000; and the Trout Unlimited Westslope Chapter would provide $5,000.
FWP would manage the property for day-use only angling and other appropriate recreational access such as wildlife viewing, picnicking, walking, and hunting. This would provide a unique access point to the lower Thompson River, as anglers would be able to walk in and separate themselves from the abundant roads present in the Thompson River drainage.
FWP is seeking input on the proposed acquisition through a draft environmental assessment that is available to review online at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/. Comments must be received by April 13. Comments can be mailed to Ryan Kreiner, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, 5427 Highway 200, Thompson Falls, MT, 59873 or call (406) 382-3032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.