Yellowstone Lake and the upper Yellowstone River and its tributaries once teamed with incredible numbers of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and was the largest single Yellowstone cutthroat fishery in the world. Then in the mid 1990’s, lake trout were discovered in the Lake. As the non-native lake trout are a tremendously predatory fish, they’ve had an incredible impact on the Yellowstone cutthroat population which is now estimated to be less than 5-10% of historic averages. This is a great loss to the entire ecosystem and to the Wyoming economy. As many as 40 other birds and land-based animals depended on this fish. Tourism related to the cutthroat fishery was estimated to generate nearly $10 million a year when healthy.
But an effort to save this important Yellowstone cutthroat population is now underway. The Park, with the help of partners and volunteers including many of you in Wyoming Trout Unlimited, have collectively devoted millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours working diligently to reduce the impact of invasive lake trout on the native Yellowstone cutthroat. And, we’re happy to say that the effort is working. All available data point to lake trout numbers significantly decreasing and Yellowstone cutthroat numbers starting to rebound. Yet there is much more to do.
Recently, Wyoming Trout Unlimited submitted a grant to the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust that will help fund ongoing work to identify lake trout movement corridors and spawning areas so that those spawning sites can be targeted with newly developed technology to kill eggs and larval fish. A consortium of fisheries scientists tells us this is the best way to continue the reduction in the numbers of lake trout and to bring back the cutthroats.
This pending grant will fund the best available science to save the Yellowstone cutthroat trout and has been approved by the WWNRT board. But it is facing a difficult hurdle in the current budget session of the Wyoming legislature. We must get this grant approved. Please help us save the Yellowstone cutthroat trout. If this important population is lost, the future of the Yellowstone cutthroat as a species and our ability to fish for them are at risk.
Please contact Wyoming’s legislators and tell them in your own words that the cutthroat population in Yellowstone Lake must be protected and restored. Ask them to consider the consequences that the loss of this population could have on Wyoming. Voice your support in the legislative process for the grant recently awarded by the WWNRT. Urge them to approve the Yellowstone Lake II portion of the 2014 Large Project Funding bill.
Do it today!
You can find your Wyoming legislator’s contact information here:
The bill can be read at:
Thank you again for your help to preserve the Yellowstone cutthroat!