Bull Trout Recovery Plan Released

The Federal bull trout recovery plan has entered the public review stage, and the proposed plan can be read here. The plan would begin the process of removing bull trout from the Endangered Species Act, and is the result of more than 16 years of work between interested parties and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. While that’s all well and good, the real question for most anglers is, “How does this effect me?” As far as targeting bull trout in Montana, that will remain a state issue that will most likely remain illegal – with good reason. Bull trout need cold, clean water – which remains at a premium in Montana. Likewise, their numbers are not so abundant that they could suddenly be harvested and managed like some more common species.

Public comments are now open for the Federal bull trout recovery plan. This guy will appreciate your support. 

In simplest terms, what the plan will do is provide a framework for recovery and conservation efforts for bull trout and their habitat. The plan focuses on minimizing known threats to bull trout and their habitat, such as lake trout and other invasive species. Does it go far enough to protect these native fish? Conservation groups aren’t convinced, and one thing that groups such as Trout Unlimited and the Clark Fork Coalition have taken issue with is the plan’s lack of measurable success. The new plan doesn’t set a metric as far as numbers of adult bull trout in rivers, a measure that conservation groups would like to see in place as the plan goes forward. With the plan in the public comment stage, now is the chance for you to make your opinion heard. The public comment period closes December 3rd, but with the rivers running high and muddy with recent rains, now is as good a time as any. Comments can be mailed to: Bull Trout Recovery, Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office, 1387 S. Vinell Way, Room 368, Boise, ID 83709, or can be emailed to: fw1bulltroutrecoveryplan@fws.gov.

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