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FWP, Montana Trout Unlimited offer $35,000 reward for informatio - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

FWP, Montana Trout Unlimited offer $35,000 reward for information on illegally introduced walleye

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Pictured: one of the two fish caught in sampling nets in 2015. (Courtesy: Fish, Wildlife and Parks) Pictured: one of the two fish caught in sampling nets in 2015. (Courtesy: Fish, Wildlife and Parks)

HELENA - Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and Trout Unlimited are offering a reward of up to $35,250 for information on illegally introduced fish in Swan Lake.

According to a Facebook post from FWP’s Region 6 Office, two walleye were found in Swan Lake in October 2015.

The two walleye were caught in a gill net. FWP says it was the first time walleye were discovered in Swan Lake.

FWP biologists used chemical analysis from the fishes’ inner ear bones to trace to trace their origin. They compared their findings to walleye from more than dozen other popular Montana fisheries.

Through their analysis, the biologists learned the two fish came from Lake Helena and had been illegally introduced into Swan Lake sometime in the Spring of 2015.

FWP is offering a reward of up to $15,250 for information that leads to the conviction of who released the fish into Swan Lake. Montana Trout Unlimited has pledged an additional $20,000 in reward money.

Wildlife managers say approximately 600 confirmed illegal introductions have occurred in more than 250 water bodies across Montana.

Currently, any walleye caught in Swan Lake, Swan River and any tributaries must be immediately killed and kept. Anglers must also report any walleye caught to FWP within 24 hours and turn the fish over to authorities within ten days.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a mandatory kill regulation for walleye in Swan Lake, Swan River, and their tributaries. All walleye caught by anglers must be kept and immediately killed. Walleye must be reported to FWP within 24 hours, and arrangements made for the entire fish to be turned in to FWP within ten days.

Tips can be made through Montana FWP’s tip line: 1-800 TIP-MONT. Callers can remain anonymous.

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