Delayed openings of some Montana wildlife management areas

Montana FWP is delaying the openings of some wildlife management areas in southwestern Montana. Heavy accumulations of snow and severe winter conditions have given elk little opportunity to move off of Montana’s WMAs.

Opening dates for the Wall Creek and Bear Creek WMAs in the Madison Valley, Gallatin WMA in the Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky, and Dome Mountain WMA in the Paradise Valley will be May 15 at noon. These areas normally open to the public on May 1.

Ron Aasheim, FWP spokesman said it’s against the law to enter a wildlife management area during the wintertime closures, including emergency closures or delayed openings.

Go to fwp.mt.gov under Habitat for opening dates and other details on WMA’s in the state.

Native trout group offers project grants

The Western Native Trout Initiative, a National Fish Habitat Partnership, is offering a new grant program for small, local conservation projects that benefit native trout. The 2011 Small Project Funding Program offers $3,000 to qualifying trout fishing clubs, watershed councils and other community groups for community-based programs that provide habitat, educational or public recreational angling programs for conservation of western native trout.

The program is funded through a $15,000 start-up grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Grant applications must be received by June 10. westernnativetrout.org.