FISHING – Cloudy water in the Beaverhead River led to an estimated $5 million in losses for outfitters and related businesses in 2015, Montana officials say.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks fisheries biologist Matt Jaeger tells The Montana Standard that about 10,000 fewer anglers fished the Beaverhead River in 2015 than they did in 2013. Outfitter losses haven’t been determined for 2016.
The river near Dillon is prized for its rainbow and brown trout fishery.
Jaeger says the turbidity is also taking a toll on the weight of the fish, which have to be able to see their food to eat it.
The Department of Environmental Quality doesn’t fully understand what causes the turbidity, but they know it starts at the bottom of Clark Canyon Reservoir about 30 miles south of Dillon. Environmental engineer Kyle Flynn says warm temperatures in the summer months appear to be a factor.
DEQ officials say more study is needed to recommend the best response.