Montana Public Radio

FWP Ends Bull Trout Fishing In Lake Koocanusa

Jan 7, 2020

Anglers will no longer be able to harvest bull trout in Lake Koocanusa due to a declining population of the threatened species.

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a state agency request Monday to close down anglers’ opportunity to harvest one bull trout per year on Lake Koocanusa. It’s one of two locations where the species can be legally harvested in the state.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks’ counts the number of bull trout spawning nests every fall and the counts in 2019 came in low. Numbers have been steady over the past six years. FWP spokesperson Dillon Tabish says there could be a number of reasons for the low count last fall.

"And over the years, habitat loss, degradation from land and water management practices, connectivity issues from dams that isolate or fragment populations, and predation and hybridization with non-native fish species."

The closure on Lake Koocanusa will take effect March 1.