Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks released its decision today to move forward with its Missouri River Basin Northern Pike Suppression Project. The joint Region 3/Region 4 project seeks to reduce the threat posed to wild trout populations in the Upper Missouri River Basin.
Specifically, the project involves finding and removing northern pike from the headwaters of the Madison, Gallatin, and Jefferson River basins downstream to Holter Dam on the Missouri River. All removed northern pike will be killed. Those that are suitable for consumption will be donated to food banks or other facilities.
Northern pike are native only to the Saskatchewan River Basin in Montana. The presence of northern pike in the Missouri River Basin is attributable to intentional, unauthorized introductions. They are a top level fish predator and therefore pose a real threat to wild trout populations and other species. Therefore, this threat also extends to future angling opportunities.
A draft environmental assessment (EA) detailing the proposed project was released last spring for public comment. Comments received and the Department’s response can be reviewed in today’s decision notice. Copies of the decision notice are available in Bozeman at the FWP Region 3 office (1400 S. 19th Ave.), Great Falls at the FWP Region 4 office (4600 Giant Springs Road), FWP’s Headquarters in Helena (1420 E. 6th Ave.), or on FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov under Recent Public Notices.