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This Week in Fish and Wildlife: Checking in on the Madison River after dam malfunction

Posted at 9:41 AM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 11:41:35-05

On today's This Week in Fish and Wildlife, we revisit the Madison River situation with the issue on the Hebgen Dam, where a malfunctioning gate caused the water level in the river to drop unexpectedly.

Morgan Jacobsen from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said the flow rate has returned to the Madison River and fishing restrictions have been lifted. He says a damaged gate on the Hebgen Dam reduced the flow rate in the Madison to 200 feet per second when he says the rate is usually above 600 fps. He says that reduction left fish stranded out of the main channel and also threatened trout redds. Jacobsen says the redds are the areas where female trout dig trenches and lay their eggs. He says cold weather could kill those eggs.

He also praised the volunteer effort from people from all over Southwest Montana and even out of state to help return the stranded fish to the river. He says that effort saved countless fish. As for the damage to the redds, Jacobsen says it could be a year or more before we truly know the extent of the damage. In the meantime, he asks anglers to take extra care of fish in those waters.


Concerns over long-term issues remain after water restored to the Madison
Hebgen Dam gate replaced, flow restored to Madison River
Crews work to restore Madison River levels after drop