The long-term well being of one of many world’s greatest trout fisheries (Jefferson River Basin – which incorporates the Large Gap, Beaverhead, Jefferson, and Ruby Rivers) is in query in accordance with the inhabitants information collected yearly by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Sadly, the present actuality, most impactful variables and eventual options are unclear and complicated. Whereas in-stream flows and water temperatures are foundational to trout well being and survival, different components reminiscent of water high quality, nutrient air pollution, dissolved oxygen, fungal infections and fishing stress might also be taking part in some position in affecting the well being of those trout.
Regardless of trout inhabitants information hitting historic lows, the precise fishing this previous yr was fairly good with quite a lot of bigger fish being caught. It’s additionally essential to notice that the trout inhabitants information within the higher Beaverhead river is inside a relative common vary.
Whereas collaboration and efficient communication throughout stakeholders and authorities businesses is totally crucial for precisely diagnosing after which managing this difficulty, there are actual lives and livelihoods at stake as many locals are carefully linked to and depending on this world famend fishery.
It’s simple for visiting anglers to determine to keep away from this space because of the regarding information, however once more, the truth is extra advanced. The native economies rely closely on fishing tourism and it’s extremely unlikely that angling stress alone is accountable for these trout numbers. It’s nonetheless a good time to go to these Montana Fisheries, nevertheless it’s crucial to attenuate our angling affect on the trout by utilizing barbless hooks, cease fishing when water temps are reaching unhealthy ranges, preserve fish moist and within the water as a lot as potential, keep away from fishing to actively spawning fish, use rubber nets, and so forth.
Preserving Paradise is a brief movie/mini-doc that shares some (however definitely NOT ALL) of the voices and views of native stakeholders as they replicate on the present state of the river and actions which have been taken up to now.