High temperatures in Bitterroot River, other waterways hurt trout


Dead trout lie on the edges of the Bitterroot River in mid-July after an extended heat wave raised water temperatures beyond what fish can endure without stress. 

A cutthroat trout bleeds from the gills after probably being mishandled by an angler who didn’t unhook it properly. 

Rob Chaney

Wade Fellin wanted a break from chasing fish as a job, so he spent a day snorkeling in the Bitterroot River.

The hoped-for respite backfired.

“I was excited to show my wife how many fish are down there, but we just got sick to our stomachs,” the owner of the Big Hole Lodge in Wise River said last week. “There were two cutthroats bleeding out — their gills pumping blood. Being in the water watching a fish die is pretty horrific.”


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