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'Adopt a Trout' program in Butte helps monitor fish in Silver Bow Creek

Once a 'dead' creek, the waterway is now home to a growing fish population
SILVER BOW CREEK TROUT.jpg
Posted at 8:02 AM, Jun 11, 2024

BUTTE — The once-contaminated Silver Bow Creek is now home to brown trout and even cutthroat trout after years of reclamation work. Residents can now help out in a new program that allows people to adopt a trout and monitor its progress online.

“We’ve been having trouble with fish populations across Montana, so we’re trying to understand what’s going on, especially in creeks like Silver Bow Creek that have been newly restored,” said Ripple Executive Director Rayelynn Brandl.

More than a dozen trout have been inserted with telemetry tags that the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks can use to monitor their movements in the creek. For a minimum donation of $250, a person can adopt and name a fish and follow it.

“Last season we had some trout that were here at Silver Bow Creek that went all the way to Blacktail Creek in the highlands and so you can track how far they’ve gone,” said Brandl.

The information will help understand fish mortality in the creek.

Silver Bow Creek was a dead creek at the beginning of the 20th Century due to early mining activity.

“As early as 1900s we were flushing tailings down the creek using a creek as a way to carry the tailings from the smelters on Silver Bow Creek,” said Brandl.

For the past 20 years, efforts have been made to clean the creek and return trout to the waterway.

“You know, when I was growing up with my dad, we were always going over to the Big Hole for fishing and this was not an area for fishing at all. So to now be able to think that we can cast a line here and catch a fish is amazing and inspiring to me as a person,” she said.

People can adopt a trout by visiting ripple.givesmart.com.