No Changes Planned For Paddlefish Season


BILLINGS — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has no plans to change its paddlefish season as a result of January’s oil spill in the Yellowstone River west of Glendive.

On Jan. 17, 2015, a 12-inch-diameter Bridger Pipeline broke beneath the Yellowstone River six miles upstream from Glendive, dumping some 30,000 gallons of crude oil into the water. Efforts to clean up the spill and account for damage from the oil were thwarted until last week because ice covered the river.

FWP has issued a fish-consumption advisory for any fish caught below the spill site, warning anglers to use caution when deciding whether to eat their catches from the river until the department can determine whether they are safe. The advisory will be in effect at least for two more weeks while FWP tests fish caught since ice-out.

Montana’s 2015 paddlefish season on the Yellowstone River opens May 15. The department has no plans to change the season as a result of the oil spill.

FWP biologists said this week that paddlefish spend much of the winter in Lake Sakakawea on the Missouri River in west central North Dakota. The fish do not stage at the upstream end of the lake and begin their migration toward the Yellowstone River until early May. FWP biologists do not believe that the Yellowstone River’s paddlefish were directly exposed to the spilled oil.

As a result, the department has no plans to postpone or change the 2015 paddlefish season or issue an advisory for consumption of paddlefish fillets or caviar.


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