Most Montanans wouldn’t be too surprised to catch a brown trout in a local river, but one pulled out of the Kootenai River triggered alarm at Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Concerns grew and this past week, the brown trout resulted in a rare kill order. FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish explains.

“Earlier this year, an angler caught what is the first recorded brown trout in the Kootenai River upstream of Kootenai Falls,” Tabish said. “It is worrisome because that section of river is a prized rainbow trout fishery. There are state records from that section. Brown trout being illegally introduced to that area is not a good sign.”

The worry is that brown trout are predatory and may edge out bull trout and rainbows in the region.

“We have gotten approval from the Fish and Wildlife Commission that any angler who catches a brown trout on that section of river is required to kill it immediately and report it to FWP within 24 hours so we can find out where it was at, the size of the fish and hopefully continue efforts to prevent those brown’s from populating that area,” Tabish said.

Tabish says the trout was an adult, but small enough that they don’t think it could have made it up the Kootenai Falls on its own. Right now, it appears that the brown trout was illegally introduced by someone and criminal charges may be possible.