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Origin of illegally-introduced walleye found in Swan Lake ID'd

Staff with Montana?Fish, Wildlife and Parks netted two walleye in Swan Lake in October 2015, which had never been dis...

Posted: Dec 13, 2017 4:02 AM
Updated: Dec 13, 2017 4:02 AM

Staff with Montana?Fish, Wildlife and Parks netted two walleye in Swan Lake in October 2015, which had never been discovered in the lake until then.

The discovery led to an investigation to find out who had illegally introduced the fish, and how they did it.

Montana is home to some of the finest sport fisheries in the world, and they generate millions of dollars in revenue each year. But when someone moves live fish from one body of water into another they put the future of those fisheries in jeopardy.

"They can really harm fisheries.?They can?hurt recreational opportunities and they can cause the crash of fishery populations," said FWP Region One Education Officer Dillon Tabish.

Around 600 confirmed illegal introductions have been confirmed by FWP in more than 250 water bodies in Montana. Tabish says after two years of investigating, biologists had a breakthrough in the?Swan Lake case by studying the ear bones of the Walleye.

"We have a biologist here who was studying something called an otolith, which is a calcium substance in the ear bones of a fish," Tabish said. "And so he studies those walleye's otoliths and that was able to trace where this fish had come from."

Biologists determined that the two walleye were originally from Lake Helena. Tabish says learning they weren't born in Swan Lake was good news.

"That shows that these two fish, at least, were not born in Swan Lake, which hopefully means a population has not been established yet.?It also helps us gain new insight and clues into where these fish came from which will hopefully lead to finding the individual or individuals who did this introduction."

Tabish says there are different reasons for why someone would introduce fish illegally.

"Sometimes it's because they're trying to establish a new type of sport fishery.?So potentially this was someone who wanted to be able to go fish for walleye on Swan Lake and there is a lot of great walleye fisheries across the region and we would like folks to stick to those ones not creating new ones," said Tabish.

A reward up to $35,250 is available for information leading to the conviction of whomever is responsible for the illegal introduction of?walleye into Swan Lake.?Anyone with information?is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP MONT. Callers do not need to identify themselves and may be eligible for the cash reward.

The state of Montana also offers rewards up to $15,250 for information about illegal fish introductions, and Montana Trout Unlimited has pledged a reward of $20,000 for a tip that results in the conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for illegally introducing the walleye into Swan Lake.

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 into FWP within 10 days.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19601229
Hinds18712386
Harrison16569277
Rankin12637263
Jackson12483219
Lee9671160
Madison9420196
Jones7914146
Forrest7159136
Lauderdale6798226
Lowndes6014137
Lamar585880
Lafayette5716113
Washington5182129
Bolivar4599121
Oktibbeha440391
Panola428392
Pearl River4138128
Warren4122113
Pontotoc408068
Marshall400392
Monroe3981126
Union393673
Neshoba3777167
Lincoln3491100
Hancock341674
Leflore3363118
Sunflower317385
Tate301574
Pike299193
Scott292868
Alcorn290760
Itawamba289072
Yazoo284962
Coahoma276367
Tippah276165
Copiah276057
Simpson272778
Prentiss268858
Leake252171
Marion251578
Wayne251541
Covington248278
Grenada246277
Adams233377
George231145
Newton226352
Winston221375
Jasper212744
Tishomingo211965
Attala206369
Chickasaw200851
Holmes181770
Clay178250
Stone171829
Tallahatchie170039
Clarke168971
Calhoun157128
Smith152431
Yalobusha143536
Greene127233
Walthall123640
Noxubee122829
Perry121434
Montgomery121338
Lawrence119521
Carroll117923
Amite110932
Webster110030
Jefferson Davis101231
Tunica98823
Claiborne97929
Benton93324
Humphreys92427
Kemper89623
Quitman77114
Franklin75619
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61927
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491849

Reported Deaths: 9869
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson707641366
Mobile35937724
Madison32307450
Tuscaloosa24024410
Montgomery22502499
Shelby21848214
Baldwin19698277
Lee14926151
Morgan13624251
Calhoun13202285
Etowah13154319
Marshall11243208
Houston10058259
Limestone9348134
Elmore9345182
Cullman8879179
St. Clair8799221
Lauderdale8588210
DeKalb8436174
Talladega7500163
Walker6509251
Jackson6483102
Autauga622890
Blount6084125
Colbert6004118
Coffee5235102
Dale4627106
Russell402930
Franklin398876
Covington3949106
Chilton386298
Escambia377472
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke343149
Chambers3399108
Dallas3397141
Pike292972
Lawrence282284
Marion281295
Winston246266
Bibb244560
Geneva238870
Marengo233755
Pickens223954
Barbour210651
Hale209068
Fayette199956
Butler195265
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe166038
Randolph163140
Washington156334
Crenshaw144054
Clay143454
Macon141643
Cleburne137139
Lamar132432
Lowndes130749
Wilcox121425
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105427
Sumter98331
Coosa88623
Greene87132
Choctaw54923
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