Staff from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the federal Bureau of Land Management will begin draining Paulo Reservoir on Aug. 15 to make way for a fisheries improvement project.
The reservoir, located about 12 miles south of Glasgow off Bentonite Road, has primarily been managed by FWP for bluegill and largemouth bass. Because of an unauthorized introduction, however, the reservoir has recently become infested with common carp, which have also caused water conditions to deteriorate, said FWP Region 6 Fisheries Program Manager Steve Dalbey.
“Carp stir up the water and make it muddy, which in turn leads to a decrease in reservoir productivity,” Dalbey said. “As a result, bass and bluegill growth and survival have been extremely poor the past several years.”
BLM Hydrologist Tom Probert said with the help of pumps, it will take about three weeks to drain the reservoir. Once drawn down, FWP and BLM staff will look at ways fish habitat might be improved.
“This could be accomplished through excavation to make the reservoir deeper in some areas and through the possible addition of habitat structures,” Dalbey said. FWP biologists will also evaluate possible introduction of forage fish to compliment the prey population in Paulo Reservoir.
Once the reservoir refills, FWP will restock it with rainbow trout, then largemouth bass and bluegill. The site will be closed to the public during the rehabilitation process, which should be completed by next spring.
Questions or concerns about the fisheries improvement project can be directed to FWP’s Region 6 headquarters at 406-228-3700 or BLM’S Glasgow Field Office at 406-228-3750.