Check out the Winter 2013/2014 issue of the Trout Tale here now! In addition to reading it in online magazine format you can download .pdf versions of the Trout Tale below. We’ve got so much fisheries conservation news from Wyoming that we’ve again had to split the Trout Tale into two files if you prefer to read the .pdf!
If you’re here and reading this, you likely know that WYTU is very invested in saving the Yellowstone Cutthroat population in Yellowstone Lake. It is exciting that this year has yielded positive results on the Lake that you can read more about here. As is mentioned in that post, there has been work ongoing to develop tools to get at lake trout right when they are most vulnerable as eggs, before they hatch and contribute to the decline of the cutthroat. We’re pleased to have a bit more information about this promising development and are hopeful that this electo-shocking equipment will be part of the solution. Check out this PDF for the full write up of the program!
On Friday night at the Trout Unlimited 2013 Annual Meeting held in Madison, Wisconsin, Wyoming Trout Unlimited (WYTU) was honored with the prestigious “State Council Award for Excellence.” The award is given annually to the Council which demonstrates the highest degree of excellence at Trout Unlimited. WYTU Chair Mike Jensen was presented the award during the Annual Meeting Award Banquet on September 27, at the Death’s Door Distillery in Middleton, WI. Trout Unlimited Vice President of Volunteer Operations Bryan Moore presented the award.
Wyoming Trout Unlimited is proud to have received this recognition, and as Mike Jensen, the Chair of Wyoming Trout Unlimited put it:
“This award is a testament to the outstanding effort of the Wyoming Council and belongs to all of the members of Trout Unlimited in Wyoming. It is the entirety of the incredible fisheries conservation work and outreach accomplished by the WU Executive Council, the leadership of all the 12 WYTU Chapters, and volunteers across the state that gained this recognition.”
We couldn’t agree more Mike. Congratulations to all of us at Wyoming TU!
Check out the new fall issue of the Trout Tale, WYTU’s official newsletter! We’ve got enough fantastic WYTU news that we’ve exceeded the size of file this site will allow us to store, so you’ll have to download it in two parts if you’d rather read it that way than through the Issu e-reader above! We hope you’ll enjoy it.
The summer issue of the Trout Tale is here just in time to kick off summer fishing. We’ve got some great content in this issue featuring articles about the Encampment River, Henry’s Fork of the Green River, the Wyoming TU Spring Council Meeting, and TU’s own Charlie Card joining the US Fly Fishing Team. Check it out!
If you’re like we are summer is the time to shove away from the desk and get out on the roads leading to the places fish live. To celebrate the start of summer Wyoming TU recently toured our media friends Louis Cahill and Bruce Smithhammer around the Wyoming Range and Little Mountain locals to showcase some of our work on behalf of coldwater fish. We’ll look forward to hearing more from Louis and Bruce about their experiences out there in the future. In the meantime we hope you’ll enjoy these shots and get out on the road yourself to enjoy some of the incredible fishing and amazing places that Wyoming has to offer. Also, who doesn’t love photos with a Wyoming TU Bucking Fish hat in them?
The Green River can use your help right across the border in Utah! If have the ability to show up and voice support for the stretch below the Flaming Gorge Dam being designated Wild and Scenic it could make a big difference for that amazing water that many of us in Wyoming love to fish.
“My name is Hillary Walrath and I work for Trout Unlimited in Green River, WY. I was recently appointed as the chairperson for Wyoming TU’s very first women’s committee. “What is that?” you might be thinking. As I’m sure you’re very well aware, fly-fishing (and fishing in general) is a very male-dominated sport and it can be intimidating for a woman to get into. As a result, women are far out-numbered by men when it comes to fishing and participating with Trout Unlimited. The purpose of this committee is to help make Trout Unlimited a place more welcoming to female anglers, grow the number of women in our ranks and encourage female volunteer leadership within the chapters and the Wyoming Council. But the committee is missing something crucial……WOMEN!
That’s where you come in. You are invited to join me and other fisherwomen from across the state to help decide the future of this committee (and make some new fishing buddies)! I have reserved several cabins and a meeting/dining hall at the Sinks Canyon Center outside of Lander, WY for August 9-11th, 2013. This location was chosen because it is centrally located for everyone and we can fish the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River out our front door. You can check out the awesome accommodations at their website here: http://www.cwc.edu/what/outreachcenters/sinkscanyoncenter. The plan is to get in on Friday night and get to know each other, fish Saturday morning and have an afternoon/evening discussion on what the committee should do and who would be interested in being a part of it. Then we will part ways Sunday morning. One more thing to add to this already awesome event: the Wyoming Trout Unlimited Council has graciously agreed to cover the cost! So, this event will be free for anyone who wants to be a part of this exciting new initiative.
Some ideas for what this committee can do: have a few meetings annually to discuss and form events, such as an annual women’s fishing trip, that will promote women involvement with Trout Unlimited. The committee members can also be advocates for the casting for recovery program in Wyoming. This will involve taking local past program participants fishing occasionally. You can learn more about this amazing program here: http://castingforrecovery.org/wordpress/cfr-wyoming/ . Anyways, those are some ideas and I would love to hear more from you. If you can’t make the trip but would like to get involved, contact me. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com or call me at (307) 751-3621 to reserve your spot. The sooner you know if you can make the trip, the better so I can arrange extra sleeping accommodations if need be. Please rsvp for this event no later than July 1st , so I can plan meals accordingly. If you know of anyone else who would be interested, please pass this email along. This event is open to any woman who is interested in fishing and getting involved with TU. Thank you for taking the time to read this email and I really look forward to having tight lines with you this summer!
Currently all of the cabin space at the Sinks Canyon Center is full of attending women, but if you don’t mind pitching a tent at the Centrer please feel welcome to attend!
Many of you read our last post about Yellowstone Lake and the effort to save the Yellowstone cutthroat trout (YCT) population therein. As we wrote “opponents of the lake trout suppression efforts have made a number of claims that warrant a response.” We’re asking you to be part of that response by letting the Park Service know they have your support for the effort, including support for the removal of lake trout (LT) that threaten the YCT population. A minor but vocal few have criticized the National Park Service’s (NPS’s) actions to suppress lake trout via netting and ova suppression. They have suggested that the Park discontinue LT suppression in the name of ‘wild trout conservation’ (by which is meant, lake trout conservation in Yellowstone Lake). This would doom the majority of the remaining cutthroats in the system.
We are asking that you consider writing to Superintendent Daniel Wenk to voice your support for the efforts of the NPS (in conjunction with the USGS, TU, GYC and NPCA) to control the invasive LT in the system thus allowing the cutthroats to survive and repopulate.
Mail letters to:
Superintendent Daniel Wenk
Yellowstone National Park
P. O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
Please personalize your letter, especially include any past experiences that you may have had before LT invasion of the system (Yellowstone Lake and it’s tributaries including the upper Yellowstone River and the Thorofare River) and your desire to see the cutthroat population restored. We need to share what this system meant to the angling public before lake trout.
Points to consider could include:
1. The overall decline of YCT’s throughout their range (currently 43% of historical with ¼ of that suffering from hybridization). YL used to be the stronghold for the species with 4 million individuals, safe from climate change, habitat loss, development, hybridization. Current YCT populations are less than 10% of historical in the Lake.
2. The YCT is the only native trout to the YL system. The YL system was the single largest genetically pure remaining population of YCT’s anywhere. As such, it is a key population to the health of the species and needs our help to be recovered.
3. The YCT is the keystone species to an entire ecosystem. The decline in its population has impacted this entire ecosystem and some 40 other species.
4. The YCT in YL was a huge economic driver both as a popular sport fish but also a tourist draw to Fishing Bridge, Le Hardy Rapids, and elsewhere.
5. The LT is an invasive, no matter how it was introduced, that has not only decimated this YCT population but doesn’t fill the ecosystem needs that the YCT did. It is also not a replacement sport fish of the same caliber as the YCT.
6. The NPS is using the best available science, supported by a Science Review Panel of fisheries professionals from academia, governmental agencies, and non-governmental groups (TU, GYC and NPCA).
Overall, make your letter about your experience and not just a repeat of these points. For example, relate why you would or have visited Yellowstone specifically to fish for YCT’s or if you had a chance to witness the incredible spawning runs of cutthroat before the impact of lake trout. Or about why you would like to visit Yellowstone National Park with the YCT population restored. We need to show the value placed on this fishery the way it was by anglers like you who had a chance to know and love this incredible place and also by anglers who value the recovery of the Yellowstone Cutthroats to this system.
Thanks for your support of the Yellowstone cutthroat!
As many of you already know Trout Unlimited strongly supports the efforts of National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and others to recover the native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout (YCT) population associated with Yellowstone Lake and the Upper Yellowstone River.
As part of that conservation mission, TU strongly supports efforts to suppress the nonnative lake trout population in Yellowstone Lake. Opponents of the lake trout suppression efforts have made a number of claims that warrant a response. Here are some frequently asked questions, along with the facts:
Why do Yellowstone cutthroat trout need to be protected?
Yellowstone cutthroat in Yellowstone Lake are the largest genetically pure population of the subspecies on Earth; if they are not restored, the likelihood of listing under the ESA and more restrictive regulations increases substantially. YCTs serve a critical role in the lake ecosystem, providing an important food source for bear, osprey, eagles, and many other species. (Lake trout, by contrast, live primarily in deep water, only entering the shallower parts of the Lake to feed on cutthroats or to spawn. They rarely, if ever, ascend the tributaries. Thus, they do not serve as a food source for other predator species.) Moreover, YCTs have important human values: The YCT population has been a historic draw for Park visitation and an economic driver for tourism and recreation.
So why are Yellowstone lake trout a problem?
Since the discovery of lake trout in Yellowstone Lake in 1994, the once abundant Yellowstone cutthroat population has declined dramatically to less than 10 percent of their historic numbers. Of all the possible factors leading to this decline, biologists and fisheries managers have overwhelmingly pointed to one as the main culprit—predation by lake trout. Suppression of lake trout has been called for by an independent, expert scientific panel that was first convened in 1995 and has reviewed the matter several times, most recently in 2012, when the panel called for doubling suppression efforts.
Couldn’t the cutthroat decline be explained by other factors?
There is no scientific evidence suggesting that whirling disease, drought, fire or some other cause has resulted in the drastic drop in Yellowstone cutts in Yellowstone Lake. All studies point to lake trout.
Haven’t lake trout been in Yellowstone Lake for more than a century?
The oldest lake trout in the Lake has been found to be only 21 years old, half of their typical life span. This indicates the population established itself around 1990, which is corroborated by the fact that the first verified lake trout catch was in 1994. In addition, a scientific study of these first catches indicates that these lake trout spent their early years in a different water body, most likely Lewis Lake.
But is there proof that they’re eating cutthroats?
Extensive studies and analysis in the 1990s revealed that fish comprised 95 percent of the diet of age 4+ lake trout in Yellowstone Lake, and most of the consumed fish were Yellowstone cutts. Prior to the introduction of lake trout to Yellowstone Lake, there were no fish predators eating YCTs; the drastic reduction in Yellowstone cutts since the lake trout population became established is irrefutable.
Why can’t the lake trout and cutthroats coexist? They do in other Park lakes.
That’s true, but fish biologists say that’s because those lakes have more varied fish populations. In Heart and Jackson lakes, which also have non-native lake trout, the presence of many more fish species for lake trout to eat has likely moderated their impact on Yellowstone cutts in those lakes. In Yellowstone Lake, essentially the only fish in significant numbers for lake trout to eat are YCTs.
Why should the Park Service be spending millions on lake trout suppression when other services are being curtailed? Isn’t the effort too expensive?
The lake trout suppression effort costs about $2 million/year. In contrast, the YCT fishery was bringing in an estimated $30 million in economic activity in the early 1990s when populations were still robust. From an economic perspective, it makes sense to save the YCT fishery.
Is the lake trout a “bad fish,” then?
No. Many anglers seek out opportunities to catch lake trout, a popular game fish in their native waters of the Upper Midwest. But in the Intermountain West, several states (including Wyoming, Idaho and Montana) are trying to suppress them because of the damage they cause to native fisheries. And in the West (most notably Yellowstone Lake), native cutthroat trout provide better opportunities for anglers and far greater economic benefit for local communities.
Have the lake trout removal operations been successful?
The suppression efforts are showing important signs of progress, with improved YCT numbers. While lake trout in Yellowstone Lake cannot be completely eradicated, the Scientific Review Panel believes that if present culling efforts continue, YCTs can rebound to the more robust population levels recorded in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This would be an important victory for YCT conservation. Now is the time to redouble our YCT restoration efforts—not call them off.
For more information, contact:
Wyoming Trout Unlimited
Wyoming Trout Unlimited
(307)-332-7700 x. 12