westslope cutthroat trout

Katrin Frye

A large scale conservation project to restore genetically pure west slope cutthroat trout in northwest Montana nears the finish line. Three of 21 lakes remain for Fish, Wildlife and Parks to treat as part of the South Fork West Slope Cutthroat Trout Project.

Fisheries Biologist Matt Boyer said this September they’ll be working on Koessler Lake in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. This lake they’ll be treating with a poison called Rotenone and re-stocking with genetically pure West Slope Cutthroat Trout.

Katrin Frye

As part of our ongoing series in Montana Public Media's "Climate Week", we focus on the impact of climate change on Montana's waters, and the native fish adapted to thrive in cold, glacier-fed streams.

Cold water fish like west slope cutthroat and bull trout call northwest Montana home. However, these native fish could be considered the canary in the coal mine in regard to the effects of climate change. Warming waters, changes in spring runoff, and mid-winter rainfall are among the issues affecting the habitat for these fish.