Thursday, July 22, 2004
Q. What is a fish ladder?
A. A fish ladder is a manmade way to help fish move past obstructions in rivers such as dams. Restricted fish passage in rivers causes populations to decline, especially species like salmon and bull trout that naturally migrate upstream to spawn.
Q. How good are anglers at identifying their catch?
A. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks angler surveys on the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers show that less than 50 percent of those planning to keep the fish they catch are able to identify the fish species. Regulations on some sections of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers are catch and release only for cutthroat, and on a section of the Blackfoot River near Missoula there is a catch and release regulation for brook trout because they are often mistaken for bull trout, a federally threatened species.
Q. What is one of Montana’s oldest fish?
A. The pallid sturgeon has survived from the time dinosaurs roamed the earth. Sturgeon remains have been found with dinosaur bones in Montana dating back 76 million years ago, though these fossils can only be identified generally as sturgeon.
Q. Isn’t the pallid sturgeon listed as an endangered species?
A. Yes, in 1990, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added the pallid sturgeon to the federal endangered species list. Biologists are working hard to recover this species, but predictions are that the wild pallid sturgeon may be extinct in Montana by 2017. Pallid recovery efforts include capturing and spawning wild adults to help create juvenile pallid sturgeon that can be reintroduced into Montana waters where the habitat is adequate.