Wildlife managers in Montana have issued a kill order for smallmouth bass caught in the upper Yellowstone River.

The order comes in the wake of the nonnative species being caught in the Gardner River at its confluence with the Yellowstone just outside of Yellowstone National Park.

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Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks reports that smallmouths are a threat to native fish populations, including the Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

"One of FWP's primary management goals in this area is to protect native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, which spawn in the tributaries and upper reaches of the Yellowstone River," a prepared statement reads. "An established population of invasive smallmouth bass could occupy the same areas, preying on and displacing native trout and other fish."

In February, a Montana State University student caught a smallmouth bass near Yellowstone's boundary.

Smallmouth bass caught in Yellowstone National Park were put under a kill order earlier this year. The Montana order extends downstream from the park.

Yellowstone Supervisory Fisheries Biologist Todd Koel told K2 Radio News at the time that fisheries managers will monitor the river and its tributaries for any sign of smallmouth bass becoming established.

"They'll definitely be preying upon trout for one, our native cutthroat trout," Koel said.

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