Big Hole water-quality device missing; guides’ vehicles apparent targets for tampering

A water-quality monitoring device worth more than $10,000 turned up missing Aug. 25 from its installation point in the Big Hole River near the Jerry Creek Fishing Access Site.

Separately, reports have surfaced that vehicles and boat trailers owned by fishing guides, and perhaps others, have been tampered with at fishing access sites where they’ve been parked.

Lug nuts have been loosened. Hitch pins have been removed. Reports of the incidents have been received by the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff David Wendt could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Wade Fellin, an owner of the Big Hole Lodge and a fishing outfitter, said he has fielded reports about tampering from guides who work for the lodge or work elsewhere.

“It does seem specific to guides,” Fellin said, adding the caveat that it might be happening to other anglers, too.

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“People are playing a dangerous game,” he said. “It’s one thing to be upset, and it’s another thing to put human lives at risk.”

Save Wild Trout’s lead scientist Kyle Flynn, Ph.D., carries a portable water-quality monitor out

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