Reward Increased for Information on Illegal Fish Introductions

Reward up to $19,250 for information leading to prosecution of individuals who illegally introduced fish

By Beacon Staff

Spurred by the discovery of walleye in Swan Lake, the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana (FOAM) has pledged an additional $5,000 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of persons illegally introducing fish in any Montana waters.

“We join with other conservation groups who have pledged cash rewards in order to prevent degradation of our famous fisheries,”Executive Director Robin Cunningham said in a statement.

Cunningham said the group’s pledge is to preserve healthy resources and quality fishing for the state’s anglers.

“We depend on these fisheries, particularly the blue-ribbon trout waters we guide on daily”, Cunningham said. “So, it is important to stop illegal introductions that threaten this precious resource. We hope this additional contribution from FOAM will eventually discourage further illegal fish transplants while inspiring others to join in the fight.”

The group’s latest contribution brings the total reward offered for information leading to the successful prosecution of a person illegally introducing fish into any Montana water to up to $19,250. Other groups contributing include the Invasive Species Action Network, Montana BASS Nation, Montana Pikemasters, Montana Trout Unlimited, The Montana Wildlife Federation, Walleyes Forever of Montana and Walleyes Unlimited. The contributions supplement the cash reward of up to $1,000 made available by FWP’s 1-800-TIP-MONT violation report line.

Montana Trout Unlimited (MTU) has offered an additional reward of $10,000 for the successful prosecution of the individual(s) who illegally introduced walleye into Swan Lake and Noxon Rapids Reservoir, or smallmouth bass into Seeley Lake. MTU can be reached at 406-543-0054.

The discovery of Walleye in Swan Lake last October is the latest in over 600 illegal introductions that have been documented in Montana.

FWP Director Hagener once again thanked all the groups that have stepped up to the plate to help address the issue of illegal introductions. Hagener also asked the public to join the effort by reporting any activity that suggests someone might be illegally dumping fish to the TIP-MONT hot line.

“We have one of the most  special fisheries resource on the continent and illegal introductions not only ruin the water where they occur but also in some instances expand to other waters as many of Montana’s waters are connected,” Hagener said.