MTPR

Kootenai River

'Field Notes:' What's Wrong With Whitefish?

Dec 10, 2017
Mountain whitefish.
(PD)

I dipped my woven landing net into the frigid creek water and drew the fish towards my legs. It was winter and I was standing mid-calf deep in a favorite fishing spot outside Missoula. I knew the fish wasn’t a trout before I scooped it into my net.

An icy bank embraced the creek, and my breath rose before me, rhythmically billowing out my mouth and nostrils. The fish nonchalantly took one of the nymphs I had been sinking near the creek bottom, diving into the depths and pulling its weight into my fly line. I could feel its tail in the handle of my fly-rod, palpitating like an irregular heartbeat.

The Kootenai Bridge over Lake Koocanusa from the east bank.
David M. Carson (CC-BY-SA-4)

 Editor's note: We've corrected part of this story. Read below.

Coal mines in Canada have been sending a harmful heavy metal downstream to northwest Montana for years, but state, tribal, federal and Canadian agencies all have different standards for how much is too much. Those agencies are meeting this week, and speaking with the public to try to come up with common standards.

Lake Koocanusa
Darren Kirby (CC-BY-SA-3)

A group that tracks water quality in northwest Montana is holding meetings this week about potential contamination in Lake Koocanusa and nearby rivers.

Grizzly bear.
(PD)

Grizzly bear managers are meeting in Missoula this week. One thing they’ll be talking about is a bear that made a historic migration across in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem this year. 

Brett McCully, Director of Operations for Lincoln County Port Authority

Libby and Troy are beginning a campaign to re-brand themselves as places to live, visit and invest in – trying to shake off more than a decade-old economic shadow.

"We’re building on some past efforts from local organizations," Tina Oliphant of Libby & Troy 2020 Initiative said. 

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