The effects of lake trout on the ecology of the Yellowstone
ecosystem are vast, but so are its effects on the economy of the
local communities around Yellowstone. Yellowstone trout fishing
is among the top in world due to large cutthroat trout, the ease
of capture, and beauty of the fish and the scenery around it. Fly-fishing
alone brings in $4 million dollars annually into the GYE economy.
In 1994, 237,730 angler days were reported on
all park wide waters, 33% of those days were spent on Yellowstone
Lake (Varley and Schullery 1995). Extrapolating out the reported
numbers represents an estimated 115,069 angler days spent on Yellowstone
Lake (Varley and Schullery 1995). The success of these anglers was
very high. More than two thirds of the anglers landed a cutthroat
trout, the trout averaged greater than 15 inches in length (Varley
and Schullery 1995). This great success of fishing has led people
to want to fish at Yellowstone and spend their money on fishing
tackle and hotels in nearby communities.
The fisheries value in Yellowstone Lake and its tributaries
was estimated as $36 million in 1994 (Kaeding et al. 1995). If this
value were expanded for 30 years of fisheries harvest, assuming
no impacts by lake trout, it would have a value of over one billion
dollars ($1,080,000,000) for the local economies of the GYE.
If managers fail to take effective action
and lake trout represent 70-80% of trout biomass in lake than
the 30 year projection is of $439,950,000 (Varley and Schullery
1995). This represents a loss of $640,000,000 for the local
economies of the GYE (Varley and Schullery 1995).
Some money will be generated for the local economies
by the presence of lake trout. Martin and Olver, 1980, report that
in Canada and in the North Eastern United States that lake trout
is the most important sport fish. The fish can get up to 54.4 kg
(119.7 lbs.) and, like other salmonids, is a voracious fighter on
the line (Marcus et al. 1984). However the fishery for lake trout
is for a select group of people. Cutthroat trout are available to
anyone with a rod and real that can get close to a stream or lake
With the lake trout you have to get out in
a boat and troll with a downrigger. This "deep fishing"
eliminates fly-fishing and anyone who does not have a boat
from the fishery. Because of this, the economic production
due to lake trout being in Yellowstone Lake will pale in comparison
with the economic losses the introduction is causing.
Yellowstone Lake invasive species control program
right now has a budget of approximately $300,000. Over 30 years
it will cost the government $9 million dollars to control the lake
trout. However the returns on that $9 million will be 27:1 (Varley
and Schullery 1995). The lake trout of Yellowstone are important
economically. The loss of Yellowstone cutthroat trout would be very
hard on local economies of the GYE.