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Arctic Grayling Found In Warm Springs Creek Near Anaconda

ANACONDA — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks confirmed Arctic grayling in Warm Springs Creek near Anaconda this month after anglers reported catching two grayling in the area. Arctic grayling, although native to Montana, are not native to Warm Springs Creek.

As a follow-up to the angler reports, FWP fisheries staff surveyed the immediate area and found two grayling, indicating that there are likely more grayling in the creek than found but not in high density.



FWP says that the grayling likely escaped into the creek from the nearby Washoe Park Fish Hatchery in Anaconda. Arctic grayling are raised in the Washoe Park isolation facility as part of the grayling recovery program. They are also kept in the display tank in the visitors center. Escapement from the hatchery is being evaluated and will be corrected prior to additional grayling being brought into the facility.


Grayling feed primarily on insects, so they are not a significant predation threat to other fish and do not mate with other fish in Warm Springs Creek, so they are not a hybridization concern. However, FWP fisheries management calls for keeping naturally occurring fish in Montana rivers and streams, and although grayling are native to Montana, they were not historically found in the Clark Fork drainage.



FWP will move grayling out of the hatchery while they assess and address their escapement from the facility. If you catch a grayling in the area, FWP is asking anglers to not return it to the creek. Keep the fish and report it to FWP at 406-493-2694. Freezing the fish is a good way to store it until it can be given to FWP.


Under Montana’s mid-20th century fisheries management direction, FWP stocked Arctic grayling in Warm Springs Creek and mountain lakes in the area from the 1930s through 1950s, as well as in Flint Creek and Georgetown Lake. However, the fish did not persist, so FWP says that a future established population of Arctic grayling is unlikely.



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