BUTTE — Fish biologists are blaming the saprolegnia fungus for low brown trout numbers in the Clark Fork River downstream of Warm Springs Ponds.
The Montana Standard reports that biologists found 600 brown trout, which is far below the average number of fish, in a two-mile section below the ponds. Last year, they found four times that amount in the same stretch.
Fisheries biologist for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Jason Lindstrom, says the fungus impact is likely due to the high number of fish last year, which would have put more stress on the fish by increasing competition for spawning and habitat.
He says warmer weather could have also added stress to the fish, but usually a fish can fight it off.
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