Many of our Cutthroat Chapter members have had the pleasure of fishing for cutthroat trout in the legendary Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park. I have listened with great envy to these stories of 50+ fish days and sometimes catching them with barely more than a hook. Most of those stories are of trips before 1994 when the lake trout was mysteriously introduced into Yellowstone Lake. Since then, the National Park Service has been trying to remove the lake trout as they have decimated the Yellowstone cutthroat trout population which is sending not yet fully realized ripples through the entire ecosystem.
As if the lake trout wasn’t enough, there is a new threat in the form of a human who has established a campaign to stop the lake trout suppression in the name of ‘wild trout conservation’ (by which is meant, lake trout conservation in Yellowstone Lake). I don’t think there is any need to explain how absurd this is. But if you need some information, attached are several documents explaining why this is absurd.
Our request of you is to take action and write a letter that includes your experience(s) on Yellowstone Lake prior to the decline of the cutthroat trout population. The details of where to send your letters as well as some guidelines as to what to include in the letters are listed below.
Our members are some of the most active so we’d like to thank you in advance for your action.
Call to Action:
The Yellowstone cutthroat trout (YCT) of Yellowstone Lake (YL) need your voice. A minor but vocal few have criticized the National Park Service’s (NPS’s) actions to suppress lake trout (LT) 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. Please write 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 your individual and chapter 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 and your desire to see that restored. We need to share what this system meant to the angling public before LT.
Talking points might include:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Bottom line, make your letter about your experiences, 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. 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 who value the recovery of the Yellowstone Cutthroats to this system.
We’ve attached some copies of the correspondence about the new threat as well as a TU Fact Sheet about Yellowstone Lake trout. Please feel free to review by clicking on their respective links. Thanks again for your support!