The Sun River Watershed Group (SRWG) was recently awarded funding from Montana Trout Unlimited and the Missouri River Flyfishers to improve trout spawning habitat at Nilan Reservoir. The project, guided by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), will improve natural spawningby adding gravels to the stream connecting the upper and middle reservoirs.
“Currently, this irrigation reservoir fishery is maintained through annual stocking by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks fish hatcheries. The addition of suitable trout spawning habitat will help add a wild trout component to this fishery,” explains FWP Region 4 Fish Biologist, Katie Vivian. Work will occur late this summer or early fall and will improve approximately 350 feet of stream.
Montana Trout Unlimited State Council President Brian Neilsen adds, “We are so glad to support this project to improve habitat at Nilan Reservoir. I love when groups collaborate and work together for a good cause.” Neilsen also serves as Vice President of the Missouri River Flyfishers, a Trout Unlimited affiliate based in Great Falls. Both groups also supported SRWG’s crossing replacement and habitat improvement project on Muddy Creek, which will be completed this year as well.
Nilan Reservoir, located seven miles west of Augusta, Montana, has grown in popularity with anglers in recent years. Though the landowner permits public access for fishing, the reservoir is located on private property, so SRWG reminds anglers to follow the posted rules, parking well off the road, packing out trash, keeping fences in-tact, and being respectful.
The Sun River Watershed Group is a nonprofit organization that works to protect and restore the resources of the Sun River watershed and its communities. For more information about SRWG’s work and other projects, contact watershed coordinator Tracy Wendt at email@example.com or visit the website www.sunriverwatershed.org.
Photos: Nilan Reservoir, by Fred Telleen