Christopher Smith

Montana Takes Hard Line Against Invasive Smallmouth Bass

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seeleylakeThis past summer, a few smallmouth bass were reported to have been caught in Seeley Lake, Montana. The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is taking a hard line against smallmouth bass and looking to eliminate a possible threat to native species such as trout and salmon.

In response to the “threat” of smallmouth bass on the native populations of fish, they are proposing a no-limit harvest for largemouth and smallmouth bass because they think people don’t know how to tell the two species apart.

“We just want to make it clear from the beginning that smallmouth bass are not welcome,” FWP Region 2 fisheries manager Pat Saffel said Wednesday.

The agency is taking an aggressive line against the invasive species that was pulled up by an angler recently. In October, the region will propose to the Fish and Wildlife Commission that an emergency no-limit harvest regulation be placed on smallmouth and largemouth bass in Seeley Lake, Saffel said.  Source

Wildlife officials are assuming that someone caught smallmouth bass elsewhere and introduced the smallmouth bass into Seeley Lake. Because of this, they are offering a reward for information about who may have done this.

As one of the locals pointed out however, smallmouth bass have been present in several Montana rivers and we all know smallmouth bass can easily migrate to new locations through the river systems and largemouth bass have been in Seeley Lake for decades.

What do you think of this situation? Eliminate the smallies or let them live?

7 Responses to Montana Takes Hard Line Against Invasive Smallmouth Bass

  1. Ryan McWhorter September 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Invasive!! Then kill them all. Trout is the concern here. Blue ribbon trout waters would be decimated . no good . There are plenty of other places to fish for smallmouth. Introducing fish anywhere is a bad idea too by the way , shame on you , whoever you are. Im blessed I live in California and fish the Russian River in Healdsburg all summer and fall. Nobody here its literally all mine.The fishermen I do see don’t know what they are doing. Smallmouth to 5 pounds in the river is absolutely a blast. Tight lines everybody.

  2. Eddie September 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    People can’t tell them apart ? Sounds like to me the people who fish in Montana are dumber than their bait. Here’s a DUH clue….LARGEmouth SMALLmouth ! This is the conclusion on identification of fish for all those brilliant fisherman in Montana.

  3. Mark Orlicky September 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Invasives? Well, maybe they should also kill off all of the invasives. Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Lake trout, Kokanee Salmon, … none of them are native to Montana!

  4. Gary Kramer September 22, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Let them live they are an Awesome Species >>>>

  5. Gary Kramer September 22, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Largemouth and Smallmouth are easy to tell apart.

  6. Ron Thompson September 22, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I kind understand the FWP’s position here. Smallies can certainly displace trout and Montana is all about the trout fishing.

  7. andy widdifield March 25, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Seems pretty hypocritical to call the smallmouth an invasive or exotic species,what about the salmon,northern pike,brown trout,crappies etc,etc,not trying to condone the “bucket brigade” method of introducing fish at all.I have been born and raised here in northwest Montana and have caught and fished for virtually every species of fish in the state.The smallmouth is an outstanding game fish,great eating,hardy,and by far pound for pound the best fighting fish we have leave them alone,


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