Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Adieu et c'est la vie

Starting now and continuing for a few years, the non-native-but-wild cutthroat trout present in an unnamed drainage are going to be euthanized or relocated in an effort to help conserve an even more endangered native fish. Limits are high, and a mandatory-kill law, like the one at Yellowstone Lake, was apparently on the table (though decided against). Non-native trout removal is happening nationwide and it is what it is.

But liberal limits and a fish trap are certain not to guarantee elimination of the big, beautiful fish, which are currently planting and fertilizing eggs. And there are undoubtedly hundreds more - maybe thousands - that are too young to spawn this year, thus making them difficult to capture. Fisheries management is an inexact science and managers admittedly don't really know how to handle this situation in a multiple-use/conservation-minded area keeping as many folks happy as possible. It's an experiment that will be evaluated when it's over.

So we fished. Within 15 minutes, Liz landed three around 20 inches - it probably goes without saying that the level of "sport" was low (we didn't fish over redds or anything, but we might as well have). These fish were absurdly aggressive - in some holes, two casts was an extended dry spell. But this trip was more about having fun while helping conserve a unique fish in an incredible place, than it was about sport-fishing. We have no illusions about our success.
Big smile now...
Fish til you giggle...
Gratuitous
Like a boss


And they tasted great...

At the fishing access site...
Caviar!
If you recognize this fishery, have at 'er and help conserve an endangered fish. Keep in mind, however, that it's small water and a fragile ecosystem that probably wouldn't appreciate throngs of anglers.

We hate to lose this tremendous fishery, but if not for the efforts to rid the big and beautifuls, the creek would be closed this time of year and we'd never have the opportunity in the first place.

Regardless, we indulged for one weekend. It was something most lifelong fly anglers will never experience, and we appreciated every second and every fish. Hopefully this was not a final goodbye.
Copyright Liz Juers
More photos

6 comments:

Kevin Frank said...

You left out why exactly this is being done. I get to help out another species. But what species? Salmon?

Joshua Bergan said...

Tmi, imo.

Satoshi Yamamoto said...

My understanding is Cutthroat needs be eliminated? (looks like Westsloper)
What's the native species for protection? Bully?
I don't understand as most of Cutty species are under some levels of concerns in nationwide (aren't they?).

Joshua Bergan said...

Your understanding is correct, Satoshi. I don't want to say the species being protected as they're rare enough that that'd give a big clue. I'm not concerned about too much pressure on the fishery as the fish are going to be removed anyhow - I just don't want to have a big part in hoards of anglers traipsing over this area since it is a sensitive ecosystem.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's probably one of the best Cutty fisheries I've ever seen/heard of. Bummer they have to go. It would be cool to see how big they could get in years to come. How long have they been invasive in this area?

Joshua Bergan said...

Ridiculous is the best word for it, we all agreed. I don't know that they'd get too much bigger - they're all about the same size so I think the biomass is maxed out. Surveys only show them up to about 24. They've been around for decades.