Fish Habitat Alive Again on Big Spring Creek - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Fish Habitat Alive Again on Big Spring Creek

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On a nice summer day in Lewistown, Mike Getman laces up his boots and grabs his gear to go fishing at Big Spring Creek. 

"It's a dream come true," Mike said.

A dream that nearly faded more than fifty years ago.

"People came from all over to access and come and fish this creek," said former Big Spring Creek chairman Don Phau. "It had that reputation."

That reputation fell when Big Spring Creek went through a channelization in 1961.

"My dad on a regular basis brought up the fact that when his brother, with dad's help, straightened the creek out, there was a lot of ramifications," said landowner Mark Machler.

Ramifications like erosion, siltation, sedimentation, and perhaps most importantly - loss of fish habitat.

"The water was moving through there awful fast, and the velocity was not allowing the bugs to cling onto the stream, so as a result there was no fish there," said former life science teacher Steve Paulson.

During the past 20 years, the people of Lewistown and the local chapter of Trout Unlimited have worked to put together permits, grants, and funding to restore Big Spring Creek to what it once was.

"It was just time to fix a wrong and so that's what this community has done," said Paulson.

And just this past winter - the long years of planning finally took a course a action - and Big Spring Creek has life again - literally.

"It's one of those projects that the impacts we'll see for generations," said fishery biologist Clint Smith.

"What we see today is a meandering, wadeable stream that's gonna be much more productive and much more suitable for anglers to come down here," Getman added.

"It wasn't really right, and now it's right," community member Al Eggers said with a smile.

From what is now deemed a miracle, Mike, along with the rest of Lewistown, can now sit back, cast a line and catch a dream for generations to come.

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