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Boise Aquatic Sciences Lab
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Suite 401
Boise, ID  83702

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Fish Resources within the Tenderfoot
Experimental Forest Montana: 1991-95

Bradley B. Shepard
Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Department of Biology
Montana State University
Bozeman, Montana 59717-0001
Susan C. Ireland and Robert G. White
Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit
Department of Biology
Montana State University
Bozeman, Montana 59717-0001

Final Report to:
USDA, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
316 East Myrtle Street
Boise, Idaho 83702

(Part 1)

May 1997

Executive Summary

The Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at Montana State University was contracted by the USDA Forest Service's Intermountain Research Station (contract INT-RJVA-92682) to collect baseline fish resource information for Tenderfoot Creek and its tributaries within the Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest (TCEF). These data were collected from 1992-1995. The westslope cutthroat trout population inhabitating the upper Tenderfoot Creek drainage (within the TCEF) consists of a hybrid swarm of westslope cutthroat and rainbow trout. These Oncorhychus spp. are distributed downstream from Spring Park Creek. they make up a progressively larger component of the fish community down to the lower boundary of the Experimental Forest, where they comprised 35-50% of the salmonid community. Brook trout were the only fish species found in the upper portion of the Tenderfoot Creek drainage above Spring Park Creek where channel gradient was relatively low (about 3% compared to over 5% for the channel down to the TCEF boundary). The estimated biomass of Oncorhynchus spp. ranged from 0.11 to 4.75 g/mē where they were present and the estimated biomass of brook trout ranged from 0.33 to 6.23 g/mē. Mottled sculpins inhabit the lower portion of Tenderfoot Creek up to a falls located about 0.2 km below Pack Creek that was identified as a barrier to upstream fish movement. None of the tributaries to Tenderfoot Creek within the Experimental Forest, except Sun Creek, support fish populations. Sun Creek supports only broko trout. Cascade/riffle habitat types were dominant in Tenderfoot Creek. Pools comprised a very small proportion (<3%) of the stream channel. We found few Oncorhynchus spp. young-of-the-year that suggests very limited recruitment. We observed numerous young-of-the-year brook trout, suggesting their recruitment may be relatively high.


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USDA Forest Service - RMRS - Boise Aquatic Sciences Lab
Last Modified:  Thursday, 08 April 2021 at 18:31:50 CDT

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