FWP News: Northern pike detected in Bull River
By angelamontana

Posted: June 13, 2024

FWP asking anglers to report catches or observations of pike in Clark Fork tributary

KALISPELL — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is asking anglers to report any northern pike caught or observed in the Bull River in Sanders County following the first confirmed detection of the predacious non-native fish.

Anyone who catches or observes a pike on the Bull River should contact fisheries biologist Travis Rehm at 406-382-3032. FWP is trying to identify the extent of the potential pike abundance in the river.

FWP recently received a report from an angler who observed a pike in the river south of Bull Lake near Noxon. Fisheries biologists confirmed the observation by catching and removing the fish. The presence of pike in the river is believed to be the result of an illegal introduction.

The Bull River is a tributary of the Clark Fork River in northwest Montana with populations of native bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish and others. FWP has confirmed populations of non-native northern pike in Bull Lake and Cabinet Gorge Reservoir on the Clark Fork, but barriers have prevented passage into the Bull River. This recent discovery is the first confirmed pike in the Bull River.

Illegal introductions can have significant negative impacts on lakes and rivers. They can often lead to lost recreational fishing opportunities, as well as collapsing ecosystems and altered food webs. The economic repercussions can be significant, affecting local fishing businesses and communities reliant on tourism and angling. As aggressive predators, pike can rapidly deplete populations of smaller fish and dramatically harm native fish populations.

Anyone with possible information about an illegal introduction is encouraged to visit https://myfwp.mt.gov/fwpPub/tipmont to provide details or call the FWP violation reporting hot line at 1-800-TIP-MONT. You may be eligible for a cash reward.

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