Why Montana Went WildJune 30, 2014
In 1974, Montana did something that stunned anglers across the state and the nation: It stopped stocking trout in streams and rivers that supported wild trout populations. Montana Outdoors visited with fisheries biologist Dick Vincent, whose research on the Madison River in the late 1960s and early ’70s led to that decision. This article is several years old but it's worth a read. The situation in Montana over forty years ago was very similar to Washington's current situation and reliance on hatcheries. Check out Why Montana Went Wild from Montana Outdoors.
"The move initially outraged many anglers, fishing businesses, and even some Montana Fish and Game Department staff. For decades, hatcheries had been credited with producing more and better fishing. Without stocking, many Montanans asked, what would happen to the state’s famous trout waters and the businesses that relied on legions of anglers arriving from across the country each summer?
The answer, now well known, is that trout fishing improved dramatically. Once stocking was discontinued, wild trout numbers doubled, tripled, and more on many rivers. "