Commonly referred to as "bucket biology," the unauthorized placement of fish is a crime of significant concern and is likely to have adverse impacts on aquatic resources, angling opportunities, and fish management costs.
Examples include the illegal dumping of northern pike in the Upper Missouri River near Toston and walleye placed in Noxon Rapids Reservoir in northwestern Montana.
The new rule commits FWP to launching investigations within 30 days of learning about an unauthorized placement of fish in streams or lakes, followed by the development of an action plan to remove or suppress the fish.
Management actions could include removing unauthorized fish with nets and electrofishing or by chemicals that can kill fish. Actions to suppress the fish include changes to fishing regulations, fishing contests, and use of commercial fishing.
An electronic database would be established to catalog unauthorized fish placements and FWP management actions underway.
Eight public hearings are scheduled in February and March to discuss and take comment on the proposed rule. The sessions will begin at 7 p.m. at following locations:
- Feb. 24 Kalispell FWP Region 1 HQ; 490 N. Meridian Rd.
- Feb. 25 Missoula FWP Region 2 HQ; 3201 Spurgin Rd.
- March 3 Helena FWP HQ; 1420 E. Sixth Ave.
- March 3 Bozeman FWP Region 3 HQ; 1400 S. 19th
- March 4 Great Falls FWP Region 4 HQ; 4600 Giant Springs Rd.
- March 11 Glasgow FWP Region 6 HQ; 54078 U.S. Highway 2 W.
- March 11 Billings FWP Region 5 HQ; 2300 Lake Elmo Drive
- March 11 Miles City FWP Region 7 HQ; 325 I-94 Business Loop