Lake fisheries affected by long winter


Jean Pocha

A dead rainbow trout floats on the surface of Brown's Lake. Despite high mortality rates over the winter, the population is expected to bounce back after winter. 

Some extreme winter conditions this year led to abnormally high fish fatality rates in the Blackfoot Valley.

The ice had mostly melted off Brown's Lake by May 1. While this would normally mean the start of fishing season this year had local fishermen worried. In the wake of that melting ice, scores of dead fish were found.

On Upsata Lake, the shoreline was covered with dead yellow perch, largemouth bass and northern pike.

"The ice on Brown's Lake was over 24 inches thick," said Ladd Knotek, a fisheries biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. (FWP) "That's the thickest I've seen in...

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