We developed Adopt-A-Trout in 2001 as an interdisciplinary program to increase local awareness of trout conservation issues, including both problems and solutions, by linking ongoing native fish research centered around Milltown Dam to classrooms. Some problems, such as the effects of Milltown Dam, are very complex, and so are the remedies we are exploring. Long-term education is one of the only effective means to long-term solutions with exotic species and native species conservation.
Adopt-A-Trout shares data on fish migrations to schools in west-central Montana through teacher training, a web site, and field trips. In the first year of the program classrooms adopted westslope cutthroat trout that were captured at Milltown Dam, implanted with radio transmitters, and released upstream of the dam. Since that first year students adopted largescale suckers transported upstream of the dam and northern pike that were illegally introduced into Milltown Reservoir and are now affecting native and sport fish in the area. Each of these research projects determines the effects of Milltown Dam on the fisheries on the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers, and explores remedies for the long-term impacts caused by the dam.