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This Week in Fish and Wildlife: Anglers asked to report tagged fish in Madison, Beaverhead County rivers

Anglers on the Big Hole, Ruby, and Beaverhead rivers, as well as the Madison, are asked to be on the lookout for tagged fish.
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Posted at 2:46 PM, Mar 27, 2024

Anglers on the Big Hole, Ruby, and Beaverhead rivers, as well as the Madison, are being asked to be on the lookout for tagged fish. MTN's Chet Layman talks about why FWP has tagged those fish and why they need our help in identifying them throughout fishing season.

BOZEMAN — Fishing season is well underway, especially on the three branches of the Jefferson and on the Madison. In fact, FWP has been out catching fish for several weeks. Those fish have been tagged and recorded. Now, they are hoping someone else will catch them again and let them know.

“What that helps us do is keep track of fish as they move through these systems, helps us keep track of their observed health and other factors that help us gather information on how these fish are doing, how they're populations are doing, how they're moving and using these systems and how we can help,” said Morgan Jacobsen, information and education manager for Montana FWP Region 3.

Anglers who catch a tagged fish are asked to carefully remove it and then contact FWP to report it; if you release the fish, keep the tag and contact FWP.

“The other part of this reporting process is when anglers submit reports, they're also asked what was the condition of the fish when you caught it,” said Jacobsen. “Did it have any apparent lesions or other pathologies that anglers can see? So that helps us keep track of fish health issues that we've also seen in this part of the state where we've asked people to report those as well.”

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Tags are blue or yellow and are on fish in the Ruby, Beaverhead, Big Hole, and Madison rivers. This is year one of three of an effort to ultimately try to solve fish issues in these waters. Those who participate are also eligible for potential prizes.

“Each blue tag that gets reported gets submitted into a drawing for things like fishing gear or fishing trips with an outfitter, and then the yellow tags are also good for just cash prizes,” Jacobsen said.

Information on how to report tags can be found at fishing access sites, through your regional FWP office, or the FWP website.