Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Montana Fishery
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Montana Fishery Project

Evaluate and refine benchmarks for lake trout and cutthroat trout populations in Yellowstone Lake

June 2021 - December 2024


Participating Agencies

  • National Park Service

Yellowstone Lake has been the site of intensive efforts to conserve native Yellowstone cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri and restore natural ecological function since invasive lake trout Salvelinus namaycush were first discovered there in 1994 [1]. Gillnetting was implemented in 1995 to suppress the lake trout population, but despite annual increases in gillnetting effort, the population expanded throughout Yellowstone Lake and increased in abundance until 2012, when the effort became large enough to curtail population growth [2]. The lake trout population of Yellowstone Lake is highly resilient to gillnetting, probably because of high early life history survival. Interstitial embryo predators, which are a common source of embryo mortality in the native range of lake trout, do not inhabit Yellowstone Lake.