Battle to control lake trout in Yellowstone lake being slowly won?

It looks like progress is being made reducing the numbers of lake trout in Yellowstone Lake. The method is gill neting, however. This takes constant effort and money. The article mentions $400,000 a year, not much comparied to the benefits for human anglers and the many birds and mammals that feed on the Yellowstone cutthroat trout that the non-native late trout eat.

For those in not familiar with the matter. Yellowstone Lake and its upstream tributaries were home only to Yellowstone cutthroat trout until the late 1980s when lake trout got into the lake. Lake trout are usless to wildlife because they live deep and spawn deep. Worse, they eat cutthroat trout.

Lake trout are, therefore, an ecological disaster and financial loss to anlers who can only catch lake trout by using a boat and fishing deep. Those who prefer flycasting the lake and streams find success much reduced from the 1980s.

Here is a long article today in the Billings Gazette. “Gillnetting effort ‘making a dent’ in lake trout in Yellowstone Lake.” By Mike Stark.



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  1. love2fish Avatar

    I’m curious about gillnetting, what is that? I lived in Montana in the 80’s and am saddened that the native cutthroat species has suffered. Here in Indiana we are fighting the invasive Asian Carp that literally jumps out of the water by four feet when spooked and causes injury to boaters.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Gill nets are long drape-like nets with holes in the mesh that catch fish by the gills as they try to swim through them.

    Big holes catch big fish, like lake trout. The smaller lake trout and the cuthroat trout swim through them.

  3. love2fish Avatar

    Sounds humane. With Asian Carp, you need nets OVER the boat!

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I read about the Asian Carp — a menace in more ways than one for sure!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan