Montana Outdoors

Sep 17, 2012 11:03 PM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News

Low water strands fish in Lolo Creek

LOLO- Extremely low water is once more threatening to create a mass fish kill on Lolo Creek south of Missoula.

The creek, which has already been running low the past month, has receded to the point where fishing holes are no longer receiving fresh water, or are drying up altogether.

Lolo anglers said the water dropped as much as two feet Monday in these holes just over a mile upstream from the Bitterroot. That's left hundreds of fish, some between 12 to 16 inches in size, stranded in holes that no longer have any fresh water coming in.

A hundred yards upstream, there's still a small amount of water coming down the creek bed. But that too is expected to vanish in another day.

And it's not just trout being left high and dry. Other aquatic creatures like crayfish are being left behind, where they're becoming an easy meal for predators.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have been told of the problem, and officials are reaching out to see if nearby ranches can turn more irrigation water back into Lolo Creek to save the fish.

A similar fish kill five years ago and fishermen tell us it took two or three years for the stream to recover.

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