Scapegoat Wilderness trout kill plan gets OK

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The mountains of the Scapegoat Wilderness north of Ovando and Lincoln hold several lakes artificially stocked with rainbow trout in the 20th century. A state plan would kill those non-native fish and replace them with genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout.

TOMMY MARTINO, Missoulian Rob Chaney

A plan to kill non-native rainbow trout and replace them with native westslope cutthroat trout in the Scapegoat Wilderness has been approved by the U.S. Forest Service.

The federal agency OK’d a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks proposal to poison the artificially stocked population of fish in about 67 miles of the North Fork of the Blackfoot River and its tributaries in the mountainous wilderness area north of Ovando and Lincoln.

A second phase of the project would reintroduce hatchery-raised, genetically pure cutthroats in three deposits spread over the next six years. The first restocking could occur this fall if conditions allow. The existing trout population contains many hybridized “cutbow” trout that have interbred over the past decades to the point where they are

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