Monday, October 20, 2014

Fish kill on the Big Hole

What a healthy pre-spawn Big Hole brown looks like
So I walked into one of the local fly shops the other day on my way to the river and learned about a problem that the upper Big Hole is having with fish mortality.  Random dead fish are showing up in a much higher frequency than they should, with the canyon stretch being the worse hit.  This time of year is when the browns are spawning, and should be left to do they're thing, so I stay away from that area anyways as that is where the majority of the browns from the lower river spawn.  Obviously there are ethical ways to fish around the spawners and not "rape redds" but the easiest way is to just not go to the floats that are loaded with spawning fish.

Apparently there is a fungus going around called saprolengia that isn't too uncommon, but is severely affecting the spawn this fall.  You can read all about it from FWP here, but the easiest solution to minimize your impact and protect the future of the fishery is to not be go fish over spawning fish, and particularly don't pull them off their redds.  If you don't know what a redd is, look it up, but you can't miss them this time of year.  There are a ton of other options around right now, so think about the future!

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