An extra-tough winter not withstanding, area fish made it through the long ice cover in good condition.
New surveys by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks fisheries biologists found little mortality in several popular lakes northeast of Missoula. Browns, Harpers and Upsata lakes all showed less than 1 percent winter kill on the shoreline of the stocked populations there.
“Winter conditions were severe and similar to years past where we experienced fish kills on area lakes,” said Region 2 fisheries management biologist Ladd Knotek.
“Thankfully, it appears that mortality was very limited this winter and those fisheries are in good shape.”
Georgetown Lake remains largely ice-covered, but examinations of the ice-free areas around springs and inlets show no indications of fish kills so far, Knotek said.
Prolonged cold temperatures and heavy snowpack during the 2017-18 winter resulted in thicker-than-usual ice coverings and a risk of oxygen depletion that can kill fish.
However, winter anglers reported many productive days at lakes in the Seeley-Swan and Blackfoot river basins.