Montana’s world famous trout fisheries are in peril like never before and they need your voice. Our newest campaign, the Montana Wild & Native Trout Coalition is your way to stay informed about the challenges our fisheries face, whether you’re an avid angler and TU member or simply a concerned citizen. Our state’s world-class trout fishing didn’t happen by accident; it’s the result of coordinated, science-based management and dedicated advocates. Join the Montana Wild & Native Trout Coalition to stay up to date on the challenges our fish face and learn what you can do to help. It’s free and only takes a few moments. Learn more below about the threats that have us concerned and motivated to take action.
A warming climate means more frequent and more severe droughts, lower summer flows, and warmer water temperatures that stress wild trout populations. Winter mountain snowpack is declining and melting earlier, lengthening fire seasons and jeopardizing late season river levels. This is our new reality and with suitable trout habitat shrinking it’s more important than ever that we continue to conserve, protect, and restore our wild trout fisheries. Together, we can help preserve the coldwater strongholds we have left. Improved Hoot-owl restrictions and collaborative drought management plans will be essential tools for protecting our wild trout heritage.
Nonscientific Management Practices
Beginning in 1974, Montana ended trout stocking programs in fisheries suitable for sustained natural reproduction. Since then, we’ve created a world-renowned legacy of wild and native trout management that brings anglers to our state from across the globe. Nearly all of Montana’s famous trout rivers are wild fisheries with stream-born and wily trout. Natural reproduction by wild and native trout is an indicator of clean, cold, complex, and connected rivers and ecosystems that benefit all water users, public health, and wildlife. They are the cornerstone of Montana’s robust, growing, and sustainable outdoor recreation economy. Above all they are at the heart our rich hunting and fishing heritage. Our Coalition believes science-based management is essential for maintaining and improving our fisheries.
Inadequate Funding for Wild and Native Trout Conservation
Good policy is only one piece of the puzzle of great wild trout fisheries. Without adequate funding for public agencies and habitat improvement programs, wild trout management remains an idea. From fish screens, to tracking studies, to dam removals and stream restoration projects, good investment is a necessity. By joining the Montana Wild and Native Trout Coalition, you can help us make sure that wild and native trout remain a priority in the state and agency budgets.
Illegal Introductions of Nonnative Fish Species
Fish stocking should always be left to biologists and fisheries managers. Over the past several decades, “bucket biologists” have altered many Montana fisheries by introducing predatory exotic fish species, like northern pike and walleye that pray on wild trout. In addition, while popular sport fish, even our wild rainbow, brown, and brook trout can out-compete and hybridize with native species. It’s important that native fish restoration and recovery programs continue, to maintain pure gene banks for cutthroat and bull trout and ensure these species survive for future generations.
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)
Aquatic hitchhikers like zebra and quagga mussels, eurasian milfoil, and other plants and animals can quickly unbalance a stable natural ecosystem. Montana’s AIS Boat Check program, Protect Our Waters Montana, and Clean Drain Dry are essential to continuing to defend our waterways and protecting wild and native trout.It’s important for the future of all our fisheries to continue these successful programs and ensure they continue to grow in response to more and more recreation on the water.
Wild Trout: A Piece of Montana’s Outdoor Heritage
Our wild and native trout species are symbols of our wild and self-reliant way of life and they deserve our care and protection. So many have enjoyed our abundant wild trout fisheries for so long, we often forget that the wonderful fishing opportunities in the Treasure State didn’t happen by accident. They’re the result of years of habitat improvement, successful stream restoration projects, and coordinated, science-based fisheries management. If we don’t continue to cultivate this precious resource with sound biology and tailored regulations that protect trout populations, we risk losing a piece of Montana’s outdoor heritage. Recently, decisions by the Fish & Wildlife Commission suggest an about face from the long-established practices that have been a resounding success for our rivers and streams for decades. You can help us continue to advocate for objective science and fact-based fisheries management, not shifting subjective opinion.
How can I help?
Join the Montana Wild and Native Trout Coalition! You don’t need to be a member of any of our sponsoring organizations and it’s completely free. We’ll keep you up to date on issues affecting wild and native trout management and angling in Montana and we’ll let you know when your voice can make a difference. With all of the threats our fish face, it will take all of us to defend this special piece of Montana’s heritage. Join today!
Join the Montana Wild and Native Trout Coalition!