Unhealthy Element

What's in our waters.

Last year’s massive whitefish kill on the Yellowstone River was bad, but for Montana anglers, it may be a signal of what's to come. Last February, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks announced that the Big Hole, Jefferson, Madison, East Gallatin, Gallatin, Yellowstone, Shields (at the Yellowstone), Boulder, Stillwater, and Big Horn have all tested positive for Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae, the parasite responsible for last summer’s die-off. Of these rivers, only the Yellowstone has a documented disease event. “The presence of the parasite alone doesn’t mean disease,” says FWP fisheries chief Eileen Ryce. “However, this map gives us a better handle on the extent of its distribution and reinforces the need to ramp up our fight against aquatic invasive species statewide.” Ryce emphasizes the need for Montana boaters and other recreationists to always employ the “Clean. Drain. Dry.” protocol to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, something to keep in mind this spring.