Cutthroat Trout Management Concepts Cutthroat Trout Management










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 edge.

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.