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Georgetown Lake brook trout

Independent Record outdoor writer Tom Kuglin with a brook trout caught through the ice at Georgetown Lake.

The fishing is still good on Georgetown Lake, despite the die-off that happened last spring.

Bradley Liermann, Fish, Wildlife and Parks fish biologist, conducted a fish study on Georgetown Lake this past fall and found the results to be pretty similar to what he’s seen on the lake over the last 15 years.

As many as 500 fish died at Georgetown Lake last spring. The fish washed up ashore, causing alarm for anglers.

Liermann believes it was likely due to low oxygen in the water. The oxygen in the lake was lower than normal last winter.

Liermann said he talked to 26 anglers over the summer and the vast majority said the fishing was as good or better than in previous years. Only 27 percent said it wasn’t.

Even so, Liermann said he’s heard repeatedly from anglers who are concerned that the die-off impacted the overall numbers of fish.

Of the fish that perished last spring, Liermann mostly saw rainbow trout. But his catch rate was 20 per night this past fall. The average has been 22.5 per night since 2005 for rainbow trout, he said.

Liermann caught 2.6 brook trout per night in 2018. The average since 2006 is 3. He caught 12 Kokanee salmon per night. The average for that fish has been close to 10 per night in recent years.

Liermann said there’s a chance that other factors that could mask the effects of the fish die-off. He said FWP will be monitoring the lake’s conditions closely this year to keep an eye on the lake’s condition.

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Nat'l Resources / General Reporter

Environmental and natural resources reporter for the Montana Standard.

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