Hitting the Reset Button in the Name of Native Trout

How Wyoming is clearing the way for Cutthroat reintroduction in their streams.

Jackson, Wyoming

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is hitting the reset button on a small stream called Game Creek. Game Creek flows into Flat Creek, which then flows out of the National Elk Refuge, and joins the Snake River just below Jackson.

If you would have fished this creek 70 years ago, you would have caught nothing but healthy, native Snake River cutthroat trout, but since then the state introduced brook trout to give anglers the opportunities to pursue different species. This was the first nail in the coffin for Game Creek cutthroat. The second was the construction of a highway in the ’60s that disconnected Flat Creek from Game Creek, effectively cutting off Game Creek from the cutthroat running up it to spawn. This gave the new tenants of Game Creek the opportunity to expand and out-compete the native cutties, and by 2000, Game Creek was nearly 100% Brook Trout water.

But Wyoming Game and Fish aim to change that. The agency plans to use rotenone (a fish poison) to kill of any remaining brook trout in the creek, and once they are out, stock the creek with its original inhabitants, Snake River cutthroat trout.

Since the introduction of Brook Trout, Wyoming and other western states have been battling an uphill battle against the Brook Trout’s manifest destiny dreams. Wyoming, for instance, allows each angler to harvest 16 Brook Trout per day, and other states have even more aggressive regulations. These states are working to incentivize anglers to aid in the removal of the tenacious Brookie.

Source: Idaho Falls Post Register

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