Celebrating our 2022 Cash for Cutthroats Guides
On June 24, 2022 a collection of Bitterroot Guides donated their day’s tips to the Bitter Root Water Forum, expressing their commitment to help the organization continue its efforts to restore and protect the Bitterroot’s tributaries – our fish factories. Guides participating in ‘Cash for Cutthroats’ understand the difference that clean, cool streams make for our valley’s vibrant fishing landscape, and that without proactive stewardship its long-term stability is vulnerable. Click to see our 2022 C4C Guides and join us in celebrating their contributions!
Throughout the Bitterroot you will find thriving populations of rainbows, browns, pockets of remnant bull trout, and one of the healthiest populations of native westslope cutthroat trout around: According to Montana FWP, some sections support more than 1,000 trout per mile. With at least 100,000 annual angler days, and more than 40,000 of those from non-residents visiting to enjoy Bitterroot fishing, this sector generates roughly $30 million for the local economy each year. The fishery underlies and supports this economic boon for our valley and promoting its health should be a priority for any resident and, especially, any fishing guide.
While, yes, the Bitterroot hosts healthy fish and aquatic wildlife populations, the river and 31 of its streams shoulder many impairments that detrimentally impact trout. Flow alteration (low flows), temperature pollution (high temperatures), and sediment pollution are prominent stress-causing threats that limit fish productivity. While each impairment might be minor, the cumulative impact on spawning habitat and summer survival for trout can be much bigger. When coupled with a local climate that is already on its way to hotter, drier summers, and the ongoing surge of suburban development and sprawl, these challenges will intensify if left unaddressed.
One of the best ways to avoid these undesirable trajectories for trout is to be proactive about caring for our streams. All ‘C4C’ proceeds directly benefit this cause by advancing the Water Forum’s collaboration with landowners and community members to restore streams, install systems to keep them clean, monitor flows for better management, and re-establish fish passageways to promote spawning. All of these projects benefit the health of the river, helping to keep the Bitterroot the vibrant fishery that it is.
Thank your local Cash for Cutthroats Guide for raising cold, hard cash for cold, healthy streams!