Effort launched to save Yellowstone Park's cutthroat trout

Effort launched to save Yellowstone Park’s cutthroat trout.
Associated Press.

I hope this tips the balance. The disasterous effect of the alien lake trout on Yellowstone’s cutthroat trout, coupled with whirling disease, is perhaps the most serious ecological problem in the Park, and a great loss to people who want to fish too.






  1. Drew Avatar

    has anyone approached Ted Turner about this? This project seems to align with many of his efforts in ecology in surrounding areas near the park.

  2. SmokyMtMan Avatar

    Losing this fish would be an ecological disaster. Those spawning runs were one of the major food sources for Grizz in Yellowstone.

    It shocks me so little attention and money are focused on this problem.

    Put ‘wolf’ in the headline, and we would get 1000 posts from around the world.

    Who cares about a fish? Apparently very few, since this issue attracts little attention by either YNP or environmentalists.

    So much of our biodiversity is slowly slipping through the cracks. If the American people can’t even bring themselves to care about the current bison issue enough to pressure managers into stopping their slaughter, I expect these trout will be extinct in the wild in 10-20 years.

    We have 99% of this blog willing to lay down and die for the wolves, but who will shed a tear over the disappearance of this fish?

    Very few, apparently.

  3. vicki Avatar

    I am hopeful that the high snow level will help the cutthroat. I am pretty certain that lake trout stay deep. The additional water may help the cutthroat in their efforts to avaoid lakers, and make it easier for them to make it up stream to spawn.
    I hope they continue gill netting. I also hope the higher levels of snow will hep to seperate the cuts from the macs, then there will be fewer cuts in gill nets too.
    I am an avid angler. There is not a weekend between April and October when I haven’t got a flyrod in hand. I am also a supporter of Trout Unlimited. They had a fund raiser at the a retailer in Denver a few weeks ago. I walked up and handed them all the money I had taken to spend on fly tying stuff. (My husband laughed, he says it’s good we took a credit card.)
    They were selling hotdogs etc. When I handed the man my cash, I aksed my son if he wanted a soda or hotdog. My son replied “No thanks, I’d rather have fish to catch.” An insightful quote from a teen.
    I am just as concerned about trout as wolves or bison. I think they are all so inter-connected. This year I have managed to round up some teens for a bison related field protest.
    I advocate about wolves often.
    Although I agree that the trout have not gotten the attention they deserve, taking attention from the other species in need would not help the trout either. There is a definite lack of attention about all conservation issues.
    I will make sure to direct more of my attention to the cuts. Thanks for the reminder:)

  4. Jim from Wisconsin Avatar
    Jim from Wisconsin

    I agree with SmokyMtMan about the crisis facing the Cutts in Yellowstone Lake but the recent delisting of the wolves is a pretty hot topic at the moment… There has been many press articles in various papers about the trout over the years which I have followed and Ralph does a pretty good job of keeping us updated. I agree that more should be done to save this fantastic fish. I am against commercialization of the national parks – but I wonder if there were a limited type of commercial fishing that could be allowed in order to help reduce the effect of the Lakers. It wouldn’t drain the money from the operations already trying to reduce the number of Lakers and could possibly free up some resources for more research for other techniques that may also help the situation. It doesn’t seem like the funding for the research mentioned in the article from the Gazette could go very far and we need to put more into things like that for the long run. Commercial fishing could possibly help by returning a percentage of their profits into research programs, staff and equipment to help out. Just some thoughts, that’s all.
    I got to experience some great fishing on Yellostone Lake and tributaries back in the 70’s and early 80’s and it is a shame that I or no one else will most likely ever see anything like that again!! The combined effects of the drought, the Lakers and whirling disease had an extreme effect and maybe the bigger snowmelt creating higher water levels(as vicki mentioned) along with more resistance to the disease and hopefully a few years of less extreme drought might help them out. I will keep my fingers crossed!!!


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