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FWP proposing plan to restore westslope cutthroat trout near Jefferson City

Anglers encouraged to watch for tagged trout as part of new research project
Posted at 6:16 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 20:16:22-05

HELENA — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comments for a proposed environmental assessment to restore westslope cutthroat trout in Dutchman Creek, a tributary to Prickly Pear Creek in the Elkhorn Mountains near Jefferson City.

The proposed project would include building an upstream fish passage barrier about one mile downstream of the Forest Service boundary in spring 2024.

In the fall of 2024, FWP would remove existing brook trout in a 3.5-mile reach of Dutchman Creek upstream of the fish barrier.

Then in 2026, the department would restock the creek with genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout upstream of the fish barrier for three years starting in 2026.

FWP staff estimate brook trout will eliminate remaining westslope cutthroat trout in Dutchman Creek within the next five years if no action is taken.

A draft environmental assessment has been published for this project and can be viewed online here. Public comments on the draft EA will be accepted through March 18. Comments can be emailed to rspoon@mt.gov or mailed to:

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Dutchman Creek Native Fish Restoration
Attn: Ron Spoon
PO Box 1137
Townsend, MT 59644

A public meeting on this proposal is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 29 at the Montana WILD Education Center, 2668 Broadwater Ave., in Helena. Written comments will be accepted at this meeting.