Bull Trout, a large, native Rocky Mountain
fish, averaging between 10 and 15 pounds
is classified as an endangered species
in Montana and of special concern in Alberta.
A victim of our human conquest of the
wilderness, not only because an aggressive
feeder like the Bull Trout is an easy
target, but also because of changes made
to the environment to allow us access
to streams where the fish once lived and
bred in peace.
The habitat where the
trout spawn has been intersected by roads
and culverts, and in some cases, even
dams. In the Waterton area, their spawning
grounds have been reduced by at least
70%. Additionally, because the fish is
so large, many of them are fished before
maturity, thereby eliminating the breeding
Bull trout was an important
food fish for the Blood Indians. They
and park staff, in conjunction with a
number of governmental and private agencies,
have taken a census of the Bull Trout
population in the North Fork Belly River.
Individual fish were tagged, weighed and
measured on their way upstream. By learning
more about the fish migration patterns
and general health, researchers hope to
address some of the trout's man-made
Andy Russell has lived
almost his entire life in these mountains,
as a trail guide, a filmmaker and an author
commemorating the land
he loves. He and his brother grew up running
wild horses out of the mountains and hunting
game. As a young man, he joined Bert Rigall's
pack train outfit, breaking horses for
them out on the trail, and guiding groups
through the treacherous mountain terrain.
He held a guiding license in Waterton
Lakes National Park from 1936-1960, taking
hunters, photographers and adventurers
into the wilderness.
During his early photographic
safaris he decided there was more than
one way to shoot big game,
and he started taking his own pictures
and movies. A published magazine writer
since 1945, Andy Russell always knew how
to tell a story. His first movie was an
hour and a half of wildlife footage accompanied
by a talk, and the audiences
ate it up. His first book, Grizzly
Country, was published in 1967,
and launched Russell on a new career.
In this and in subsequent books, Andy
Russell has been able to guide hundreds
of thousands of people through his backyard,
Waterton Lakes National Park.
He has raised a family
in these mountains, and passed his love
of all things wild on to his children.
One is a caribou biologist, another studies
polar bears, and son Charlie has shown
his talents as a writer and filmmaker,
producing an acclaimed book on the magnificent
Kermode bears of Princess Royal Island
called The Spirit Bear.