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Thread: Not everyone loves the Lake Trout...

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    Member tjm's Avatar
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    Default Not everyone loves the Lake Trout...

    By KIRK JOHNSON
    Published: August 24, 2011

    YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - The first "Judas fish" have been released.
    As the Biblically inspired name suggests, the fish - surgically altered lake trout, implanted last week with tiny radio transmitters on a gently rocking open boat by a team of scientists here - are intended to betray. The goal: annihilation.

    "Finding where they spawn would be the golden egg," said Bob Gresswell, a research biologist at the United States Geological Survey, and leader of the Judas team, a strike force in the biggest lake-trout-killing program in the nation. The idea is that the electronic chirps will lead trout hunters into the cold, deep corners of Yellowstone Lake, where the fish might be killed in volume. "The eggs could be killed before they hatch, maybe with electricity, or suction," Dr. Gresswell said.

    That millions of dollars would be spent to eradicate a fish that many people love, and love to eat, is only the beginning of a paradoxical new chapter for trout, long a silvery symbol of America's wide-open spaces.
    States in the Great Lakes region, by contrast, where lake trout are a native species, dream of rebuilding the stocks that were overfished, and only about 100 miles south of here, Wyoming state wildlife officials are in fact still breeding lake trout in a hatchery and happily releasing them into local waters.

    Motivation is where it starts, since the goal here in Yellowstone is not the killing itself, but rather the saving of another trout species entirely, the cutthroat, which grizzly bears, egrets, eagles and martens, among others, depend upon for food. Lake trout, which park officials believe were introduced by fishermen a few decades ago, gobble up the cutthroats (named for the slash of red under their jaws). And lake trout, unlike the cuts, as they are called, hide in the deep and do not venture into streams and tributaries to spawn, where bears and other animals can catch and eat them.

    So death to the lake trout is the rallying cry. And come death does, to hundreds of thousands of fish in recent years, through an entanglement of gill nets, or a quick slice of the fillet knife and now, through the Judas fish program, at the scientific frontier.

    Americans have tried in varying ways to manage fish and nature. Back in the late 1800s, for example, industrialization and settlement were wiping out many species, and a politically powerful new constituency of recreational fishermen, many of whom patterned themselves after leisure-class titans like the steel baron Andrew Carnegie (whose treasured rod and reel were handed down to his heirs), arose in force to demand that streams and lakes be teeming with fish, and especially trout.

    But hands-on management in the name of wildness itself rather than human appetite or aesthetics - the core distinction of what is happening here - is a change in how people relate to nature in set-apart corners of the world like Yellowstone.

    The theme is echoed elsewhere, in worries over the Asian carp or sea lamprey in the Great Lakes, or even the rainbow trout, a species native to the Pacific coast, which was spread all over the world by hatcheries, especially after World War II and often to the detriment of native fish.

    The decline of recreational fishing in the United States since its peak in the late 1970s is adding its own twist, scientists, environmentalists and anglers say. Between 1991 and 2006, according to the most recent figures from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the percentage of Americans 16 and older who fish declined to 13 percent from 21 percent.

    At the same time, the environmental movement, which in its earlier years was closely aligned with the hunting and fishing communities, became more urban and less connected to the idea that nature should be harvested or consumed.

    Here at Yellowstone, that has led to a coalition of partners standing shoulder to shoulder for killing the lake trout, of which visitors are of course encouraged to catch and eat as much as they like, on behalf of a protected fish, the cutthroat, that is strictly catch and release. Eco-system watchdog groups like the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and the national clean-waters angler group, Trout Unlimited, for example, are raising money to help Yellowstone kill its lake trout.

    "The whole population is more urban, and urban folks tend to be more mutualist - looking at humans and animals coexisting, as opposed to animals being there for utilitarian use," said Steve L. McMullin, an associate professor in the department of fish and wildlife conservation at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Va., who studies fishing demographics.

    Some people remain doubtful that what is happening here can succeed, or be controlled. Ecosystems are too complex, they say, and since even the most ardent trout hunters concede that lake trout reduction in perpetuity will probably be necessary, questions swirl about the long-term balance of nature, and whether a system can really be called natural at all if humans must remain at the helm to make it work.

    "We may think we know what we're doing, but the outcomes are going to be unpredictable no matter what," said Anders Halverson, an aquatic ecologist and the author of a recent book, "An Entirely Synthetic Fish," about how the rainbow trout took over waters all around the world through deliberate stocking.

    The superintendent at Yellowstone National Park, Daniel N. Wenk, says he thinks the park has no choice but to fight for the cutthroats, which he described as the keystone species for a mostly still-wild ecosystem.

    "What we're trying to do is restore the opportunity for nature to literally do its thing," Mr. Wenk said in an interview in his office at the park headquarters. "That's different than trying to impose something on a system."
    On the dock, some people lament the waste, with tons of desirable protein being killed and sinking back to the lake bottom to decay. Park managers said, though, that distributing trout fillets for food, in a remote place like Yellowstone, would raise costs and legal liability concerns, and thus reduce resources for the cutthroats.
    Some lake trout fishermen, meanwhile, even those who support the return of the cutthroats, are scratching their heads. "Lake trout are better eating, and we fish for the eating," said Que Mangus, a real-estate appraiser in Cody, Wyo., who came in off the lake on a recent afternoon in his small boat, having caught no fish at all.

    The Judas fish, meanwhile, are still roaming wild and deep, at least for now. The first tracking buoys are scheduled for deployment this week, at which time the chirping flow of data from the lake bottom, and the hunt, will intensify.
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

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    Unbelievable...Whats next the rainbow because it feeds on salmon eggs and fry...

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    Quote Originally Posted by akdube View Post
    Unbelievable...Whats next the rainbow because it feeds on salmon eggs and fry...
    They are a non native trout. Get rid of them!

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    Member hooternanny's Avatar
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    many run's in ak are not natural, that is why pebble 'via lake illiamna' is such an issue. it's the biggest natural run.

    but to restore the cutthroats so they can migrate and feed other species is ineffect to serve to greater good, or judas betral and turning jesus over, to crusifiction, etc.

    i realize the lakers being slaughtered and left to float to the bottom is a bitter swallow for avid fishermen in that area, but it will serve a greater good. thats why they are doing it. right?

    i hope whatever they do- and this is what they have choosen- that they are happy with it. because there is not going to be any fish left here once we all get done fighting over them
    edit signature here

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    Better than an ingest of non-native pike that wipe out an entire healthy species of trout.

    Pick your poison. Nice read T.

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dano View Post
    They are a non native trout. Get rid of them!
    Exactly, they are an illegally introduced species just like those pike that ADFG are trying so hard to get rid of.

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    They won't get them all out. They might get them to a manageable level. Unfortunately, the anglers won't attempt to catch them anymore due to low fish count and the population will go unchecked until we have to spend lots more money again. A troubling cycle at least. I almost believe that it would be cheaper to overstock the cuts so the fly guys can have their catch and release fishery. Make them buy an additional use tag to fish there.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akdube View Post
    Unbelievable...Whats next the rainbow because it feeds on salmon eggs and fry...
    not where salmon are, for the most part of salmon's range the rainbow is there, however outside of their natural range they will be and in some cases already have been exterminated but not because they eat salmon eggs and fry, but because they take the place of native cuttys.

    The lake trout in Yellowstone Lake are a lot like the foxes on the Aleutian Islands that killed all the Canada geese...
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Good analogy, pm. I disagree with where they say it would cost too much to make the fish available to the public. They are launching boats from public boat launches to go out and net trout. They are landing the same boats at said boat launches the same day. They should be able to put fish in totes and make them available to the public; then whatever's left, dump in the streams flowing out of the lake that so badly need the fish nutrients.

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    Here is a thought, seeing how "Man" is trying to "re-manage". What about floading the waters with a food source to compete with the cutts so that the lakers will eat an introduced "bait fish" and the cutts have a better chance to survive? Keep the lakers for the catch and keep fishers and probably increasing there size inturn increaseing the effort to catch-em?????

    Just a simple minded approach from a simple minded fisher.

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    Steve, how are you and the family? Been a while since we have visited.

    George

    P.S. tried to send this via PM but your box is full.

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    Member Raffpappy's Avatar
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    Very interesting article. I hope their plan is successful. Several years ago, a buddy and I used to get Yellowstone cutts on hike-in trips into the Cabinet Wilderness of western Montana. My understanding was they weren't native to these pristine mountain lakes we were fishing, having been flown in and stocked by chopper. They were, however, quite possibly the prettiest fish I've ever caught. Absolutely gorgeous!

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    Interesting in Yellowstone that with an overabundance of elk, they solved it by bringing in a non native species, the Canadian grey wolf, which has now caused wide spread damage to surrounding wildlife and livestock populations, and have no plan to control wolf numbers, yet with the introduced lake trout they are going in full force to attempt eradication.

    Lake trout are a valuable food source to humans, elk, deer, cattle and sheep are important food sources for people, yet the managers are fine with letting their introduced pets create hardship for people and create further hardship on people by eradicating lakers. Bottom line; nature would be far better off without people messing it up, so human casualties to the environmental religion are just fine

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Wolves were native until they were wiped out, they were reintroduced due to the important component they play in the ecosystem.

    Both Idaho and Wyoming have wolf hunts now, outside of the national park.

    People can catch lake trout outside of the national park.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Wolves were native until they were wiped out, they were reintroduced due to the important component they play in the ecosystem.

    Both Idaho and Wyoming have wolf hunts now, outside of the national park.

    People can catch lake trout outside of the national park.
    This is true at face value but as is often true digging deeper shows that it is more boiler plate biology. A wolf is a wolf or is it? The Montana native canis lupus irremotus was a medium sized wolf that has since been replaced with canis lupus occidentalis
    a notably larger wolf subspecies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    This is true at face value but as is often true digging deeper shows that it is more boiler plate biology. A wolf is a wolf or is it? The Montana native canis lupus irremotus was a medium sized wolf that has since been replaced with canis lupus occidentalis
    a notably larger wolf subspecies.
    thats twice today i tried to rep ya but couldn't. both were on things i did not know. thanks 4 helpin edyoucading me sum Liddle bits.
    edit signature here

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Wolves were native until they were wiped out, they were reintroduced due to the important component they play in the ecosystem.

    Both Idaho and Wyoming have wolf hunts now, outside of the national park.

    People can catch lake trout outside of the national park.
    Idaho has a wolf hunt, Wyoming does not. They are working on getting a wolf hunt and will have one soon but as of now you can not hunt for wolves in Wyoming.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Wolves were native until they were wiped out, they were reintroduced due to the important component they play in the ecosystem.

    Both Idaho and Wyoming have wolf hunts now, outside of the national park.

    People can catch lake trout outside of the national park.
    Where did I ever mention local state management? I'm talking about the dichotomy of thought within federal management of Yellowstone. They replaced the wiped out indigenous wolf subspecies with a larger subspecies from Canada, rather than allow hunting of the animals within the park. So now that there's a problem with their introduced species of wolf, they won't address it. The people outside the park had to sue the Federal government, in a case which finally won in the Supreme Court, to be able to hunt the wolves once they spread beyond the park's boundaries. But when it comes to a fish that was introduced, the federales are all about killing them off in any way possible.

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