FWP, MSU seek help from anglers who catch tagged fish in upper Missouri River Basin

New Release from Montana FWP: Not on the Missouri River reach we fish. Nope, the farther up the drainage than where we fish. Join in if you wish. PSA from HH of Craig

FWP, MSU seek help from anglers who catch tagged fish in upper Missouri River Basi

Angler reports of tagged fish will help inform trout research

BOZEMAN – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff, in cooperation with Montana State University, have begun tagging trout in the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Ruby and Madison rivers.

This tagging effort is part of ongoing research that aims to address trout declines and fish health concerns in the upper Missouri River Basin. Staff plan to tag fish each year for the next three years. With help from anglers, these tags will help researchers identify individual fish and monitor their health, survival, movement and other indicators over time.

Each tag has a unique number and will be attached to the fish near the dorsal fin. Anglers who catch a tagged fish should use clippers to remove the tag as close to the skin as possible while minimizing handling time and exposure to air, then submit a report for each tagged fish they catch. These reports will include information such as the tag number, date, location, condition of the fish, gear type used, and whether the angler released or harvested the fish.

A how-to video on this process is available on FWP’s website.

Anglers who submit reports may also be eligible for rewards. Blue tags will be entered into a drawing for gear and fishing trips. Yellow tags are each worth $100.

Anglers can submit reports by visiting mtcfru.org/msutag or by calling 406-994-2384.

“Anglers play a critical role in this study,” said Mike Duncan, FWP’s fisheries program manager in southwestern Montana. “When they submit reports on tagged fish, they are helping gather important information on the health of the fishery.”

Anglers and other recreationists may also see creel clerks from MSU while they’re on the river. These clerks will be interviewing recreationists as part of the research effort.

This research kicked off last year when annual sampling found fish numbers to be at or near historic lows in sections of these rivers. Since then, FWP has been working closely with MSU in hiring three PhD students and additional staff to study fish mortality, recruitment and health.

To learn more about this cooperative research effort, click here.


FWP, Tagged Fish, Upper Missouri River Basin
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