Experts Predict Trout Will Recover After Upper Madison Dewatering

Volunteers Collecting Stranded Upper Madison Trout
Photo: Gloria Goñi

Last week, the Hebgen Dam experienced a failure in one of its release gates that resulted in an unprecedented and catastrophic drop in water flow that put the upper Madison River’s entire fish population at risk. The effects of the dam failure were compounded when you think about the thousands of brown trout redds that were sitting full of eggs when the water dropped.

During the time that the dam was inoperable, dozens of volunteers streamed to the riverbanks to help move stranded trout back to the safety of the main channel of the river. While it’s sad that it took such a terrible event to pull together the Madison River fishing community, it was incredible to witness such an altruistic group gather to save a precious resource.

However, late last week we did receive some good news from fisheries experts on the Upper Madison and, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, “Experts are cautiously optimistic that trout populations along the upper Madison River will rebound after a Hebgen Dam malfunction reduced streamflows drastically earlier this week.”

Those experts went on to say that Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks won’t know the full extent of the damage until the river’s annual sampling event that will take place in fall 2022.

To learn more about what effects experts are anticipating, check out this article from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle!

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