After a long analysis and public comment period, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Region One, has decided to stock tiger muskies in Horseshoe Lake west of Kalispell. The major purpose of the project is to create a trophy fishery in the lake for tiger muskies.
FWP Region One Supervisor Jim Satterfield noted that the proposal received a lot of scrutiny and review, as well as many comments from the public. "After carefully reviewing the biological merits of the project and the public comments, I am convinced that this will be a good thing for fish management in northwest Montana."
Public comment was split on the proposal. In total, there were 88 comments in favor of the proposal, including e-mails, phone calls, letters, and comment forms. There were 25 comments and two petitions opposed to the proposal.
Tiger muskies are functionally sterile hybrids of northern pike and muskellunge. The young tiger muskies for planting in Horseshoe Lake would be obtained from the Miles City State Fish Hatchery, which obtains eggs from Wisconsin. Tiger muskies are useful for sport fish management in Horseshoe Lake for several reasons. Tiger muskies are attractive to anglers because they reach a trophy size. As a predator, tiger muskies can reduce numbers of nongame fish such as suckers, which could allow stocking of trout. Also, since studies show tiger muskies can’t reproduce, their numbers can be carefully managed and controlled. Initial stockings of tiger muskies in Horseshoe Lake will consist of about 500, 7" fish stocked in late summer-early fall at night for 2 or 3 years.
After review of the draft environmental assessment (EA) and public comments, Supervisor Jim Satterfield signed the record of decision, recommending that the proposed project be implemented. There were no changes to the draft EA; therefore, the draft becomes the final EA. A copy of the decision notice, which includes response to those comments that were not substantively covered in the draft EA.
Please direct questions or comments to Fisheries Manager Jim Vashro, 751-5501, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>. The Decision Notice can be found at FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov under Recent Public Notices.