Fish, Wildlife and Parks Provides Follow-Up on Fresno Reservoir Management Meeting

HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has responded after a public open house meeting last month saw dozens of local residents ask for changes to improve recreation at Fresno Reservoir.

During the meeting, members of the public voiced their opinions on topics ranging from stocking more fish and angle pressure to reservoir water level management and improving fish habitat in the reservoir.

FWP says they are working on evaluating stocking rainbow trout as well as supplemental walleye plants, and are also pursuing a creel survey this summer to measure angler pressure, catch rates and harvest in 2020.

Havre area fisheries biologist Cody Nagel says despite there being a relative abundance of fish at the reservoir, they have become more difficult to lure in.

“One main reason is our forage base out there has been rebounding and there’s a lot of food out there. When fish have that availability of food, they are harder to catch. Usually kind of how that works is when your forage base gets depleted they become hungry and they become easier to catch.”

Nagel adds that it’s about finding a balance between angler satisfaction and fish population dynamics.

“And that’s something that’s always going to be a struggle, especially when you incorporate stocking plans and also angler satisfaction. Trying to make sure there’s enough out there to be caught, that they’re biting, and the folks that are fishing out there are enjoying themselves.”

FWP also says they are considering the development of a long-term management plan for Fresno Reservoir.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic will determine the timing, FWP plans to reconvene with interested anglers to go over the management options that are being evaluated.

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