Brook Trout Pilot Project

LOCATION:  Montana, USA

DOG:  Pepin, Tia & Rue

PURPOSE:  To determine if dogs can detect live fish in experimental and wild settings

TARGET SCENTS:  brook trout

PARTNER/CLIENT:  US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey & Turner Endangered Species Fund

This project confirmed what we long suspected: that dogs can detect and discriminate scents in water. Pepin and Tia quickly learned to tell brook trout, which have invaded and adversely affected ecosystems and sport fisheries across the mountain west, from other closely related species. We are currently working on detecting live fish in moving streams.

If we are successful, the next step will be to search for brook trout in ecologically sensitive areas. Our dogs should be able to monitor un-invaded stream reaches for the first signs of colonization -- when eradication is still possible -- and to indicate when eradication is complete.

Since the presence of even a single threatened or endangered fish can change management priorities or trigger regulatory actions, the potential impacts of canine detection are huge.

WD4C will take the rigorous aquatic detection methods we are establishing for brook trout and refine and apply them to conservation projects involving other threatened, endangered, and invasive fish.

The first dogs to detect live fish
in moving water

Pepin, rue & Tia

This project confirmed what we long suspected: that dogs can detect and discriminate scents in water. Pepin and Tia quickly learned to tell brook trout, which have invaded and adversely affected ecosystems and sport fisheries across the mountain west, from other closely related species. We are currently working on detecting live fish in moving streams.

If we are successful, the next step will be to search for brook trout in ecologically sensitive areas. Our dogs should be able to monitor un-invaded stream reaches for the first signs of colonization -- when eradication is still possible -- and to indicate when eradication is complete.

Since the presence of even a single threatened or endangered fish can change management priorities or trigger regulatory actions, the potential impacts of canine detection are huge.

WD4C will take the rigorous aquatic detection methods we are establishing for brook trout and refine and apply them to conservation projects involving other threatened, endangered, and invasive fish.

brook trout pilot program