The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission reduced the fishing limits at Clark Canyon Reservoir today to protect the native burbot population and rainbow and brown trout.
The emergency daily and possession limit now in effect for trout is two fish, down from five, and for burbot (or ling) the daily and possession limit is two fish down from 10.
The reservoir is at a new record-low pool of about 10,758 acre-feet. Last year Clark Canyon Reservoir hit an all time record minimum pool of about 12,000 acre-feet.
“Under these severe conditions we’ve found angling restrictions and modifications in our planting program have helped mitigate for losses in our rainbow trout and brown trout populations,” said Dick Oswald, FWP fisheries biologist. “It is expected that the restrictions also help the wild burbot, which must reestablish naturally once conditions improve.”
FWP’s drought plans work to protect wild and native fish populations that must replenish through natural spawning in Montana waters. It is critical that sufficient numbers of wild and native fish are conserved to repopulate the fishery when conditions improve.
The emergency limits will be in effect until next May when the general season re-opens, Oswald said. In addition, the 200,000 young-of-the-year rainbow trout that were to be planted in Clark Canyon Reservoir this summer will be distributed to other waters where conditions for survival are more favorable.
The Beaverhead River from Clark Canyon Reservoir to Anderson Lane (approximately five miles north of Dillon) remains open to angling. The lower Beaverhead River from Anderson Lane to the mouth near Twin Bridges remains closed to angling until temperature and flow conditions improve.
For information on emergency angling restrictions and other drought updates go to the FWP home page at www.fwp.state.mt.us and click on the box titled “Drought & Fire ’03.”