Although I don’t have the kind of credentials as my predecessor, FWP Biologist Brad Tribby, I do have a lot of time in the sport of Competitive Bass fishing, starting in the mid 1980’s, and business experience that helps me negotiate with the FWP on behalf of Montana Bass Fishermen. Although we did take a recent hit on “illegally” introduced Small Mouth, we did gain more protection for Large Mouth in the form of more restricted size limits. I was also able to acquire commitments from the FWP to waive limit restrictions for “Permitted Catch & Release” tournaments. This was a big deal that many ahead of me had tried to acquire and thanks to their support we were able to acquire this waiver.
I see my job, which is a volunteer position, as working between the FWP and the Montana Bass Nation. To try to maintain servility and cooperation from both perspectives. We work with a government agency that places native fish species above non-natives. This puts warm water species of fish, not just LM and SM bass but also perch, sunfish, crappie, northern pike, and walleye lower on the list than native trout and “wild” trout, which are also non-native.
My goal and the goal of this organization is to create more awareness of the economic benefits of warm water fisheries to Montana. In doing this we need to strengthen our positions in the communities by working with youth and involving ourselves in community projects that will benefit all fisheries. We also need to be aware of what is happening in other parts of the country, learning from what they are doing to deal with and prevent the introduction of invasive species of plants, mussels, and fish and figuring out ways to apply this to our own area.
As waters warm, provided you believe in global warming, warm water species will benefit from these conditions and cold water species will be more limited in areas they can and will exist, however my belief is that warm water and cold water fish can and do co-exist.
Montana BASS Nation