The Whitefish Project

Mountain Whitefish are commonly seen in freestone rivers and lakes throughout the Rocky Mountains. The Pygmy Whitefish lives in deep, clear lakes, and few people have ever heard of them. Both are extremely understudied. Anecdotal evidence suggests Mountain Whitefish may be in decline.

Pygmy Whitefish captured in Big Salmon Lake (Bob Marshall Wilderness) – August 2020

The Whitefish Project is a multi-facteted series of questions with the following goals:

  • Use historical catch data to determine if there is an overall population trend in Mountain Whitefish
  • Refine the distribution of Pygmy Whitefish in Montana
  • Develop whitefish calibrations for the Distell fatmeter- a handheld tool that can measure a fish’s body fat content

Partners: Sam Bourret, Jim Deraleau, Christine Verhille, and Robert Al-Chokhachy.