1 Apr 2010, 3:14pm
Latest Wildlife News
by admin

Wrong Trout

Rogue Pundit, March 31, 2010 [here]

Last year, a record number of lake trout were netted in Yellowstone Lake, a centerpiece of the national park. One problem though…lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) aren’t native there. And they get big…the record catch for this prized game fish tops 100 pounds. The biggest one found in Yellowstone Lake thus far is 22 pounds.

Back when the goal was to encourage visitation, park officials introduced the lake trout to several of Yellowstone’s smaller lakes. During the 1980s, the fish showed up in Yellowstone Lake. They couldn’t have gotten there without help. Now, lake trout are increasingly outcompeting native species like the cutthroat trout and arctic grayling [here].

“The numbers keep going up and up, which is a signal that the effort we’ve put out hasn’t been enough to stop the population growth,” said Yellowstone fisheries biologist Todd Koel.

Koel wants to double or triple netting efforts to help cutthroat trout, which are native to Yellowstone and important to the park’s ecosystem.

The park has been catching lake trout using 1,800-foot-long nets placed off the lake bottom. The nets trap lake trout by their gills while allowing cutthroat trout and other smaller fish to swim through.

Plans call for switching to 1,000-foot-long nets that funnel fish into a box-shaped trap at their middle. More nets would be deployed than currently and they would be handled by professional crews, Koel said. … [more]

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