Flood hasn’t diminished Stillwater River trout fishery

Bryan Giordano, a fisheries biologist in Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Region 5, holds up a rainbow trout captured during a fish survey on April 25 on the upper Stillwater River. The 25-inch fish weighed 5 pounds.

FWP courtesy photo

When the Stillwater River reached a height of 11 feet last June — 3.5 feet above flood stage — it seemed like any trout immersed in the raging current would be fire-hosed downstream to North Dakota.

Yet Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks fisheries biologist Bryan Giordano said sampling this spring and last fall showed fish populations very close to what they have been in recent years.

“We didn’t see anything to indicate that the flood had an impact on fish numbers,” he said.

“Fish overall are adapted to these things. That’s why they spawn in big numbers and they have a lot of eggs.”

It will be a year or two before the effect of the flood on young fish is known because sampling doesn’t catch those smaller trout until they’re about 8 inches long.

“My biggest concern isn’t the adult fish,” Giordano said, its last year’s

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