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Record Removal of Lake Trout in Yellowstone Helps Make Way for Cutthroats

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Officials remove new record catch of invasive lake trout.

Yellowstone National Park is waging a war against non-native lake trout. And this year, they’ve made more progress than ever before.

The Casper Star Tribune reports 315,000 lake trout were taken out of Yellowstone Lake by net crews between May and October. “That’s more than we’ve ever caught,” Todd Koel, Yellowstone’s leader of native fish conservation told reporters. “It’s because we put out even more effort than we have ever before to catch them.”

Although he admitted there’s still a lot of lake trout in the 132 square mile lake.

Officials have been battling non-native lake trout in the lake since they were first discovered there in 1994. The lake trout are devastating as they feed heavily on the native cutthroats. In addition to netting, officials have also utilized electroshock fishing in the program that costs around $2 million a year.

“Each year we’re putting more and more effort out there and each year we’ve been killing a lot of fish,” Koel told reporters.

Even though officials have taken out almost 1.2 million fish in the last four years, the population of lake trout remains especially high.

The good news is cutthroat trout populations are starting to rebound in the lake as officials attempt to also reestablish artic grayling and westslope cutthroat trout in other parts of the park.

Until the populations of lake trout go down, the park will continue its efforts against invasive lake trout. “We’re still waiting for that crash in our catch,” Koel said. “We haven’t seen that yet, but the predictions are there that’s going to happen. So we’ll keep this up until it does.”

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Record Removal of Lake Trout in Yellowstone Helps Make Way for Cutthroats