Algae growth is increasing on Montana’s famed Smith River and scientists don’t know why. So, they’re turning to the public for help.

Excessive algae can deplete oxygen and alter water pH levels, harming fish and other aquatic life in the process. Algae blooms are also a nuisance to humans who encounter them on rivers and lakes.

'Field Notes:' What's Wrong With Whitefish?

Dec 10, 2017
Mountain whitefish.

I dipped my woven landing net into the frigid creek water and drew the fish towards my legs. It was winter and I was standing mid-calf deep in a favorite fishing spot outside Missoula. I knew the fish wasn’t a trout before I scooped it into my net.

An icy bank embraced the creek, and my breath rose before me, rhythmically billowing out my mouth and nostrils. The fish nonchalantly took one of the nymphs I had been sinking near the creek bottom, diving into the depths and pulling its weight into my fly line. I could feel its tail in the handle of my fly-rod, palpitating like an irregular heartbeat.

An illegally introduced walleye found in Montana's Swan Lake in 2015.
Courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Biologists with Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks have traced the origin of two illegally introduced walleye discovered in Swan Lake.

FWP announced Tuesday that researchers traced the fish back to Lake Helena by looking at their otoliths, or inner ear bones.

Yellowstone River Dam And Sturgeon Passage Lacks Funding

May 2, 2017
Pallid sturgeon.
USFWS Midwest (CC-BY-2.0)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A federal agency targeted by President Donald Trump for budget cuts next year has only about half the money needed to build a new Yellowstone River dam and bypass channel meant to save an endangered fish, but it plans to begin construction anyway.

Map of the Columbia River Basin with the Snake River highlighted in yellow and the Columbia River in blue
Kmusser derivative work: Shannon1 (CC-BY-SA-3)

Montanans can weigh in this week on how to best save the endangered Northwest salmon. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration are revising plans to protect the species.