Game and Fish plans to remove brook trout to restore native fish

Mar 15, 2013

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department plans to remove non-native fish from a stream in the Bighorn National Forest, in order to restore a native fish that has nearly died out.

The agency would use a chemical to kill off brook trout and then re-stock the stream with Yellowstone cut-throat trout, which are native to Wyoming.

Assistant Fisheries Management Coordinator Mark Smith says cut-throats have not been able to compete with brook trout, which were introduced to the state in the 1930s. He says nearly 90 percent of the cut-throats in the Bighorns have died off already.

“If we’re content to stand by and do nothing, eventually we’re going to run out of these unique fish,” Smith said. “And so we feel like it’s the right thing to do for the people of Wyoming, both for the present public as well as future publics, to really be proactive about trying to conserve these fish.”

Game and Fish is inviting the public to weigh in on the plan at a meeting on March 26th in Lovell. If the project goes forward, Smith says it would likely take several years to remove all the brook trout from the stream.