Wildlife, Wonders & Wilderness
2013 End of Season Lake Trout Suppression Report
NPS and contract netting crews worked through the government shutdown period as planned. The shutdown did not impact the last couple weeks of the 2013 lake trout suppression season in October.
The 2013 netting season ended with more than 300,000 lake trout eliminated. This total was similar to 302,000 removed in 2012. Interestingly, the 2013 season saw the employment of an additional gill netting boat and contract crew, bringing the total to four boats versus three in 2012. But the additional boat meant more than a simple 25% increase, because the new boat was far more efficient and the number of total net nights (100 yards of net soaking for a 24 hour period) was closer to 50% greater than last season.
While additional data entry and analysis of the final numbers are needed, it is clear that the trend is most encouraging. There is also an increase in the number of immature Yellowstone cutthroat trout being caught and observed by netting crews and recreational anglers. There is good reason to believe the aggressive suppression program targeting the lake trout population is beginning to pay dividends.
A more comprehensive report on the 2013 season will be available in the coming months.