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Group working to address declining trout numbers in Montana rivers hires scientist to conduct study

Posted at 5:56 PM, Jul 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-31 21:55:51-04

DIVIDE — The group Save Wild Trout recently hired a scientist to conduct an independent investigation to try to determine what’s causing the alarming drop in trout numbers in waterways in the Jefferson Basin, including the Big Hole River.

“Lots of work to do, lots of background reading and you know, really assembling a good team as well,” said Dr. Kyle Flynn.

Dr. Flynn is a Montana-born hydrologist and engineer with a background in water studies and plans to begin his research this summer and fall.

Save Wild Trout was formed by a coalition of outfitters, businesses, and citizens who are concerned about the FWP’s reports of dropping trout numbers in recent years.

“The purpose of this is to develop common sense solutions that are beneficial to everybody, so the intent is to provide a non-adversarial and apolitical investigation,” said Flynn.

Save Wild Trout plans on installing several water monitor sensors to get real-time data on water temperatures, oxygen levels, and other environmental and ecological indicators. Flynn said he will work with local partners, state and federal agencies in trying to determine the large-scale trout declines across the basin.

“2023 is really just a start. We’re looking to fill in some gaps with the agency's studies, so they’re going to be studying fish health,” said Flynn.