Commission approves fishing regulation change for paddlefish in the lower Yellowstone River
HELENA – During its meeting on Feb. 22, the Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted a new regulation that prohibits snagging of paddlefish within the intake fish bypass channel on the Yellowstone River.
The intake fish bypass channel is part of a Yellowstone River intake diversion dam project. The project’s objectives are to improve upstream and downstream fish passage for pallid sturgeon and other native species, including paddlefish, while maintaining water diversions into the lower Yellowstone project main canal.
Snagging for paddlefish is very popular in the lower Yellowstone and can lead to high concentrations of anglers targeting paddlefish during spawning migrations. Since it is not yet fully understood how the fish bypass channel will influence fish movements and angler behavior, the department proposed closing the bypass channel to snagging to avoid any unintentional catch of migrating pallid sturgeon and other native species.
Closing the bypass to snagging could also reduce potential conflicts between paddlefish anglers and FWP monitoring crews. The bypass channel will remain open for passage by boats and for angling by other methods.