Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

FWP looking for applicants for Fresno fishery advisory committee


Last updated 2/9/2021 at 11:41am

Courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks/Photo by Paulette Preeshl-Shipp

A rocky cliff stands on the bank of Fresno Reservoir. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is accepting applications for a new advisory council to help the department create a fisheries management plan for the reservoir west of Havre.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced it is looking for applicants to be on an advisory committee for a first-ever official fisheries management plan for Fresno Reservoir west of Havre.

The deadline to apply to be on the advisory committee is Feb. 22.

The release said FWP will review applications and select a five-member committee to serve in an advisory capacity to to agency to develop guidelines for the Fresno Fisheries Management Plan. Ideally, the advisory committee will consist of individuals representing the following stakeholder groups, the release said:

• Local walleye angler from the Havre Area;

• Out-of-area walleye angler;

• General angler/kids fishing;

• Local government, and

• Local business

A history of recreation, irrigation and flood control

The dam on the Milk River creating Fresno Reservoir was completed in 1939 as part of the irrigation system The Milk River Project.

The reservoir has 32,802 acre-feet of water allocated to joint use storage, a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation flyer says, with the water used for flood control, irrigation and other conservation uses.

Bureau of Reclamation owns and operates the dam, which was approved by the president of the United States in 1935.

The flyer says the reservoir also provides recreation enthusiasts with opportunities such as boating, camping, fishing, picnicking, water skiing, hunting and wildlife viewing. Reclamation administers public recreation on the federal lands surrounding the reservoir. Privately owned cabins on federal land are administered under lease agreements issued by Reclamation.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks manages the fishery in the reservoir, a wildlife management area at the west end, and a public access area on the Milk River immediately downstream of the dam.

The FWP release said the reservoir typically has supported an average of 12,350 angler days annually since 2001 and is ranked fifth regionally and 63rd statewide for angling use.

The majority of angling use comes from local anglers - Hill County, 73 percent - with anglers from surrounding counties rounding out the top three - Cascade, 9.7 percent, Blaine,4.7 percent and Choteau 2.3 percent. In most years, the bulk -75 percent - of the angling occurs in the summer months. The reservoir also is used for ice fishing.

The FWP release said that, following the introduction of walleye in 1957, FWP placed primary management focus on walleye. In most years, Fresno supports the highest relative abundance of walleye of any fishery in Montana.

In addition, yellow perch, black crappie, northern pike and lake whitefish round out the fishery, the release said. Rainbow trout were stocked from 2002 to 2003 with limited success. In an effort to develop a more diverse fishery and satisfy requests for stocking, rainbow trout were again stocked in 2020. These fish were stocked as catchables - 7-8  inches in size - in early October to avoid their being consumed by other predator fish.

A new fishery management plan

The release said the plan, which will be completed this year, will be the first official Fisheries Management Plan developed for the Fresno Fishery and will serve to guide fisheries management for a five-year period, from 2022 to 2026.

To learn more, people can download the Charter for the Fresno Reservoir Fisheries Management Group in PDF format from the devoted webpage at http://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/fresno-cac .

Application forms for the committee also can be downloaded there or people can email [email protected] to request an application, or stop by the Havre, Glasgow or Great Falls FWP offices to pick one up.

Once the application is filled out, people can either email it to [email protected], subject line: Fresno Management Plan Application, or mail the packet to:

Fresno Management Plan Application


1 Airport Rd

Glasgow, MT  59230

Applications must be received or postmarked no later than Monday, Feb. 22.

People with questions about the Fresno Reservoir Fisheries Management Plan Advisory Committee application process can call 406-228-3700 or email [email protected]


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