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

Montana Fishery Project

Lake Trout Suppression in Yellowstone Lake: Developing Benchmarks for Harvest and Sampling Design to Measure Efficacy.

February 2010 - June 2014


Participating Agencies

  • Natural Resources Preservation Program (NRPP)
Lake trout suppression in Yellowstone Lake, YNP, Wyoming

1) Develop a sampling design that will allow NPS to assess the effectiveness of lake trout suppression. A project currently evaluating the efficacy of lake trout removal has identified inadequacies in sampling that limit the ability to detect how the lake trout population has responded to suppression. Sampling has not been a NPS priority through the duration of lake trout suppression, but is necessary for evaluating the effectiveness of the program. The sampling design will allow NPS to objectively assess if harvest benchmarks are being met and to adapt the removal program to meet specific management goals. 2) Use population models to determine the level of harvest required to cause a decrease in lake trout population size. The lake trout suppression program is not currently driven by quantifiable benchmarks because the level of harvest needed to successfully reduce lake trout abundance has not been determined. Benchmarks for harvest will be obtained from analyses that will build upon existing studies of population characteristics. Harvest benchmarks set by population models will allow NPS to quantify the number of lake trout that need to be removed by the fishery, as well as fishing effort required to attain given levels of removal. Population characteristics obtained with the newly developed sampling design will provide parameters which can be used in population models to assess whether the fishery is meeting benchmarks in future years.