High flows pushing paddlefish upstream between Fort Peck and Fort Benton (copy)

Katherine Sears Lewistown News-Argus

It’s officially paddlefishing season, and so far things are looking up for fishing upstream from Fort Peck to Fort Benton.

“Compared to last year, our flows are way better than they were all last season,” said Region 6 Fisheries Biologist Cody Nagel. “The fish are moving up into the river from Fort Peck.”

The fish typically begin moving upstream to spawn as flows approach 10,000 cfs, which Nagel said was the case at the Fred Robinson bridge last week.

As of late last week, Nagel said the majority of fish were downstream from Rock Creek, though he observed some between the Fred Robinson bridge and Rock Creek.

“Not many, but mostly males there,” Nagel noted. “The bulk of the run is still below the Rock Creek boat ramp.”

As the temperature warms and flows increase toward 15,000 cfs, fish will push further upstream.

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“As soon as we get some warmer days, it’ll start bumping flows up,” said Nagel.

One thing to note is the recruitment from 2011, a high-water year that was particularly productive for paddlefish reproduction.

“In 2011, we did document a good class of juveniles that are

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