Paddlefish sighted in Big Horn River - | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Paddlefish sighted in Big Horn River

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Anglers and fishing guides have reported seeing a prehistoric native fish called the Paddlefish in the upper part of the Bighorn River this summer. According to the Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks, seeing Paddlefish in the Bighorn River is pretty unusual but not surprising.

Bob Gibson is the communication and education program manager at Fish, Wildlife, & Parks and he said Paddlefish are one of the oldest fish in Montana. He said the Paddlefish can be seen in fossils throughout the state of Montana.

KULR 8 asked Gibson why Paddlefish are migrating differently this year and he says their spawning instincts are sparked by the surge of mountain snow run-off. Gibson said this year had a record amount of snow-pack.

"This last winter, there was record snow pack in some places in the Big Horn Basin and that all has to come off at some point," Gibson said. "Yellowtail Dam which was partially designed as a flood control dam. It worked this year in that it kept us from having a big flood. We had really high flows, but we didn't have a big flood when the snow pack came."

Gibson said he suspects seeing Paddlefish in the Bighorn river will be a once in a generation type of thing. So if you plan on visiting the Bighorn River, Gibson said you can look at the fish but not catch them so enjoy the paddlefish because it's a pretty unique phenomenon.

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