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Outdoors just for kids: Spring's busy time of year for fisheries biologists
Outdoors just for kids: Spring's busy time of year for fisheries biologists

The busy season has arrived for fisheries biologists around Montana and Wyoming. What do fisheries biologists do? They are doing many things.

Spring is a time to begin monitoring the health of the fish populations for the year. Biologists do that in several ways. On rivers they go out in electrofishing boats to capture and mark fish. Then they cover the same waters again a week or two later and compare the number of marked fish they catch with unmarked ones to calculate how many fish are in the river.

On lakes and reservoirs, they set out nets and compare the number of fish caught in the nets to previous years. In waters with radio-implanted fish, they follow the movements of those fish to see what types of flows and habitat they like best.

In certain places around the state, they trap fish and take the eggs of walleyes, northern pike and trout to hatch and raise in the state hatchery system.

On some trout streams, biologists count the number of redds — places where trout have stirred up the gravel to deposit their eggs — and compare those numbers with previous years.

Biologists help hatchery personnel stock trout, walleye, bass, catfish and other species in waters where these species can't reproduce.

All in all, it begins a busy time of year for fisheries biologists. Their aim is to monitor the health of our fisheries and to help make fishing better for you and for me.

— Mark Henckel,

Gazette Outdoor Editor

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