Wyoming Game and Fish – Partners in Conservation

Mark Smith of Wyoming Game and Fish, shows off a wild trout to Cody middle school students.

Wyoming Game and Fish Biologist Mark Smith shows Cody middle school students a live trout while explaining how they are managed in the Shoshone River.

It is clear that Wyoming is blessed with incredible wildlife and fisheries. Many of us believe that these resources are one of the things that make Wyoming a special place to live. That we have this quality of fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing is not by happenstance, and is in no small part due to the efforts of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Sadly, the Department that we so rely upon to keep our wildlife and fisheries healthy has endured heavy cuts in the last year. Right now many cherished and valuable programs have dissapeared or are disappearing due to budget shortfalls caused by inflation. For instance the annual Youth Hunting and Fishing expo, opportunities for the average hunter to hunt/fish on private land (Access Yes program), and the ability of the Game and Fish to respond quickly to agriculture and industry needs. Of increased interest to anglers, Wyoming Game and Fish will stock 1,000,000 fewer fish this coming year in Wyoming waters.

These are all impacts which are of concern to Wyoming TU. We partner with Wyoming Game and Fish on many projects around the state, and believe in the wealth of quality work the agency does to faithfully manage and conserve Wyoming’s fisheries and to educate Wyoming’s people about the resource. In addition, Wyoming’s tourism economy, which is based on our wildlife and fish, generates $1.1 billion dollars annually, second only to the oil and gas industry in revenue. With that in mind, we believe it makes sense to strengthen one of our state’s strongest sectors rather than reduce funding to the agency that ensures there are plenty of fish and wildlife for hunters, anglers, & wildlife watchers.

Thankfully, we can address this situation positively with your help. Wyoming Trout Unlimited endorses two important bills headed to the Legislature during the upcoming session, both of which will help fund our Game and Fish Department. These two bills– one modestly increasing 10% license fees for resident and non-resident hunters and the other funding health care insurance for Game and Fish employees through Wyoming’s General Fund, are critical to keeping Wyoming’s wildlife management intact. Both bills represent short term fixes Game and Fish funding and will start to address inflation’s having caught up to the Department’s budget since the last license fee increase in 2008.

It is critically important to contact your Representative and Senator and request that they restore funding for our Game and Fish Department to ensure our children and grandchildren have the same opportunities that we’ve enjoyed to fish and hunt.
Please ask your elected officials to:

*Support introduction of the Game & Fish Fee increase
*Support the Game and Fish Department request for General Fund money for Healthcare Benefits.

To find your Representative and Senator, click here: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LSOWEB/LegInfo.aspx

For more information on what you can do please contact Scott Christy, Wyoming Coordinator for TU at 307-332-7700 ex: 12 or schristy@tu.org

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Bringing in the New Year with the Winter Issue of the Trout Tale

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!

WYTU Winter 2014 Newsletter_Part1

WYTU Winter 2014 Newsletter_Part2

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Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 9.28.20 AM

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 9.27.41 AM

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!

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Wyoming Trout Unlimited Wins!

WY NLC Rep. Jim Broderick, TU CEO Chris Wood, WY Council Chair Mike Jensen  Photo courtesy of Heidi Oberstadt/Photographic Memories, LLC by the Oberstadts

WY NLC Rep. Jim Broderick, TU CEO Chris Wood, WY Council Chair Mike Jensen
Photo courtesy of Heidi Oberstadt/Photographic Memories, LLC by the Oberstadts

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!

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Fall 2013 Trout Tale

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.

WYTU Fall 2013 Newsletter Part 1

WYTU Fall 2013 Newsletter Part 2

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The Trout Tale – Summer 2013

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!

You can also get a .pdf version of the newsletter here.

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Summer Road Trips in Wyoming

Photos by Steven Brutger

Photos by Steven Brutger

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?




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Be a Voice For the Green River Tonight


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.

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Wyoming TU Women’s Committee Retreat

Sarah A. of Lander, Wyoming with a local brown trout.

Sarah A. of Lander, Wyoming with a quality local brown trout.

Wyoming Trout Unlimited is pleased to announce it’s first ever Women’s Committee Retreat in Lander Wyoming this summer and we encourage Wyoming women to attend! Our talented Women’s Committee chair, Hilary Walrath, shared the following message with details:

“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 hwalrath@tu.org 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!



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Yellowstone Cutthroat Can Use Your Voice!

Vast numbers of Yellowstone cutthroats spawning in a Yellowstone Lake tributary before lake trout were found in the lake.

Vast numbers of Yellowstone cutthroats spawning in a Yellowstone Lake tributary before the decline.

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!

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