Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will hold eight public hearings beginning Feb. 24 on a draft rule that outlines how officials will respond to the unauthorized placement of live fish into public waters.
Commonly referred to as "bucket biology," the unauthorized placement of fish is a crime of significant concern and is likely to have adverse impacts on aquatic resources, angling opportunities, and fish management costs.
Eight public hearings are scheduled in February and March to discuss and take comment on the proposed rule. The sessions will begin at 7 p.m. at following locations:
The new rule commits FWP to launching investigations within 30 days of learning about an unauthorized placement of fish in streams or lakes, followed by the development of an action plan to remove or suppress the fish. Examples include the illegal dumping of northern pike in the Upper Missouri River near Toston and walleye placed in Noxon Rapids Reservoir in northwestern Montana.
Management actions could include removing unauthorized fish with nets and electrofishing or the use of chemicals that can kill fish. Actions to suppress the fish include changes to fishing regulations, fishing contests, and use of commercial fishing.
An electronic database would be established to catalog unauthorized fish placements and FWP management actions underway.
For more information or to comment on the proposed rule online, visit the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov. Click "Public Notices." Comments, due by March 21, can be emailed to email@example.com; or mailed to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.