Montana’s policies of not stocking their rivers and streams have resulted in world class wild trout fishing, instead turning efforts towards rebuilding habitat quality and protecting intact watersheds. Perhaps a lesson for all.
From Trout Unlimited: “In the 1970’s, young Montana biologist Dick Vincent discovered that stocking hatchery-reared trout on top of wild trout populations in the Madison River actually suppressed trout fishing. Based on his research, the state of Montana prohibited stocking streams occupied by wild trout populations turning fisheries managers’ attention to restoring habitat quality after decades of pollution, damming, and drying up streams. The shift in focus to quality stream habitat changed the trajectory of Montana’s legendary trout fisheries from a steady decline to world class. Since Montana’s wild trout policy took hold, angler conservationists with Trout Unlimited and its partners have unleashed four decades of restoring streams and the quantity and quality of the cold, clean waters trout and anglers depend upon. Wild Trout: A Montana Fish Story chronicles Montana’s conversion to wild trout fisheries and the profound changes still evident in our beloved trout fisheries.”