MILES CITY, Mont.--Improved fishing opportunity at Spotted Eagle is the expected outcome of work efforts between the Miles City Chapter of Walleye’s Unlimited, City of Miles City and Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Over the past six months crews have cooperated in sinking donated Christmas trees in Spotted Eagle for fish habitat, removing fish and completing wild fish transfers into Spotted Eagle.
Crews removed 168 river fish, primarily buffalo species and common carp, using a combination of netting and electro fishing methods for a combined total of 430 pounds of removed fish.
Wild fish transfers were completed in August and October to backfill removed non-game fish with adult game fish that offer angling opportunity. A total of 1,433 yellow perch averaging 6 inches, but up to a maximum of 12 inches, were transferred with intent to transfer more in the spring of 2014 if sources remain available. Last winter anglers reported catching yellow perch through the ice following a similar size perch transfer in 2012; results of another cooperative effort between Walleyes Unlimited and FWP. A limited number of adult channel catfish, walleye, and northern pike were also transferred into Spotted Eagle.
A unique opportunity for stocking bass was available this year through the Miles City State Fish Hatchery. Typically only fingerling size (2-3 inches) bass are available for stocking but periodically the adult fish (2-3 lb) need to be thinned out to maintain a consistent brood stock size at the hatchery. This allowed the stocking of 28 largemouth bass averaging 2 pounds, and 192 smallmouth bass averaging 3 pounds into Spotted Eagle in early October.
City staff, FWP, and local volunteers are currently working on some larger scale habitat improvements that would make ongoing fishery activities more effective in the future and hopefully translate into improved fishing for local anglers.