Flathead Lake Trout Suppression
4:51 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Tribes say it's time for a more aggressive lake trout plan in Flathead Lake

Bull Trout.
Credit Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement looking at netting, commercial fishing, and bounties to cut deeper into the invasive lake trout population in Flathead Lake.

The Tribes and the state have been co-managing Flathead Lake, but disagree over the lake trout suppression effort. The state says to wait as the effects of increased angling pressure through programs like the spring and fall Mack Days play out. The state says the current populations of lake trout and bull trout are stable, and more aggressive measures could harm that equilibrium.

The Tribes say the Co-Management Plan signed in 2000 has a goal of tipping the balance in favor of native trout like bull trout and west slope cutthroat, and the management over the past 13 years has failed to do that.

The entire Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available through the "Mack Days" website: http://www.mackdays.com/DEIS/

Public Comment ends August 5, 2013 where the issue then goes before the Tribal Council to identify the preferred alternative. From there the Bureau of Indian Affairs is the final signatory. The Tribes could potentially move forward this fall.