For the second time in a year, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is asking those responsible for putting plastic Zip Ties into the jaws of Missouri River walleye to stop.
The illegal practice first came to light a year ago when game wardens found two walleyes with zip ties in their jaws, FWP said in a news release.
This year, during the first week of May, fisheries biologists discovered two more walleyes with zip ties in their jaws, including one that had caused an open sore in the fish’s jaw. The walleye were found in the Wolf Creek Bridge to Craig section of the Missouri.
“We don’t put jaw tags in fish anymore because it causes damage,” said Jason Mullen, FWP Region 4 fisheries biologist.
“Whoever is doing it should stop,” he said. “It confuses the public, making people think FWP is putting the plastic jaw tags out. We are not. But some anglers might catch and keep a fish they normally wouldn’t, because they think we want the information or there is a reward or something.”
FWP hears about fish marked by anglers in various ways with surprising frequency, spokesman Greg Lemon said last year. The department does not have a theory as to what the purpose might be.
“It’s unfortunately not uncommon to get reports of tagging or things done to mark fish,” he said. “They’re doing it for reasons only they know.”