Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks is currently gathering public comment regarding recreational use in the Fish Creek drainage, an essential native and wild trout spawning tributary of the lower Clark Fork River. A dependable source of cold water throughout the season, Fish Creek also provides thermal refuge to Clark Fork native fish when summer water temperatures soar on the main river. Recreational use has increased substantially in the watershed over the past 10 years. Montana TU believes it’s essential that this area is managed to preserve it’s excellent habitat values and resiliance to climate change for native species.
Two issues included in FWP’s survey are particularly important to us and we ask MTU members to comment in support of lessening the impacts to this sensitive area.
- Floating Closure – We support a floating closure on Fish Creek. Large woody debris is common in this watershed and essential to native trout populations. We are concerned angler use during a relatively short floating season will result in the removal of logs to maintain navigability, thus harming the fishery. Please support wade-only fishing access on the Creek.
- Developed Camp Sites Only – Dispersed camping already occurs on Fish Creek and increasing it will only have negative effects on future water quality. We believe camping in the drainage should be confined to developed camping areas with proper vault toilet facilities, to lessen impacts throughout the drainage to maintain clean, cold, complex, and connected water and habitat for both fish and wildlife.
To complete the survey, visit FWP’s Fish Creek Watershed Recreation Planning page for more information or use a direct link to the survey HERE. Please personalize your answers with the comment boxes provided to ensure your comments carry the most weight. The comment period closes December 20, 2022. When answering the questions, we ask that you strongly consider the values we hold dear: conserving, protecting, and restoring Montana’s wild and native trout. Thank you for your attention to this important issue.