While last week was all about mule deer, and the week before was big on bears, this week I’m all about fish and fisheries. (Not that I’m ignoring the opening of the big game rifle season.) Over in Lewistown, Fish, Wildlife and Parks is in the process of acquiring about 24 acres of property along Big Spring Creek, the popular fishery that flows right through town. These parcels will add two more fishing access sites to the six that already exist, that’s good news for anglers. Also on the plus side, FWP announced that the cleanup of the upper portion of the creek below Big Springs Trout Hatchery has been completed, provided that follow-up tests show that contamination of the creek now falls within Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. The final step of the cleanup was dredging about 3 miles of the creek bottom to remove silt containing paint chips contaminated with PCBs from the hatchery. About 1,500 tons of sediment were pulled from the creek and trucked to a Great Falls landfill.
Elsewhere, in Yellowstone National Park the lake trout netting program again hit the 300,000 mark on Yellowstone Lake, although the data hasn’t been completely finalized. That number matches last summer, a record-setting year for lake trout removal. You’ll remember the park is trying to depress the lake trout population enough to bring back the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Yellowstone Lake was once the stronghold for the species, but numbers plummeted because the lake trout eat the smaller cutthroats. The National Park Service is hoping to reverse that trend.
(Written by Brett French-Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette; Photo: Brett French)