Montana Takes Hard Line Against Invasive Smallmouth Bass

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?

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