Western Trout

Save Wild Trout

Save Wild Trout September 12, 2023

Southwest Montana’s wild trout populations are on the brink of collapse. It’s an all-hands-on-deck moment for our wild trout and cold water fisheries.

The Problem

The Jefferson River Basin - including the Big Hole, Ruby and Beaverhead rivers - is facing an ecological emergency. Wild brown and rainbow trout populations have crashed to historic lows, with little to no young-of-year recruitment, meaning it’s only going to get worse before it can get better.

Wild trout fisheries are integral to our rural economies and outdoor way of life. In Montana, the outdoor economy generates $7.1 billion in economic activity and supports 71,000 jobs. In Beaverhead County alone, outdoor recreation generates more than $167 million each year and supports over 1,400 jobs.

Despite the severity of this ecological and economic emergency, the State of Montana has failed to respond with the urgency this crisis deserves. Neither the Governor nor the leadership at Fish, Wildlife & Parks have authorized the funding for a scientific investigation into the causes of the collapse, let alone provided those impacted with a response plan, leaving our fisheries, and local businesses and communities high and dry.

It’s time to take action to protect our world-renowned cold-water trout fisheries.

The Solution

Save Wild Trout is organizing a coalition of wild trout advocates, concerned citizens, businesses, guides, and outfitters to take immediate action for the Jefferson Basin. We’re pooling resources and scientific experts to investigate Montana’s wild trout population collapse, and guiding appropriate policy and legislative reforms to restore and conserve wild trout.

Act to Protect the Trout of the Big Hole, Beaverhead, and Ruby Rivers

We’re working to engage everyone who values wild trout and healthy rivers to develop science-based solutions that address cold-water fisheries declines and protects these resources for future generations.