Beware the (Evil) Lake Trout: The Glacier National Park Edition

by Mark McGlothlin on December 23, 2013

in Native Fish


Saturday the Missoulian highlighted the ongoing (and in fact escalating) discussions about management of non-native lake trout in Quartz and Logging Lakes in GNP, failing to provide even a tiny glimpse of the history of what is in reality a very complex regional issue.

The National Park Service has posted proposals for comment here on the project’s PEPC (Planning, Environment and Public Comment) page; click on the Document List link on the left (or here) to view the 114 page behemoth of an EA document providing the details.

These updated discussions are driven ostensibly (and rightly so) by efforts to protect native Bull Trout in the Flathead system watershed, though management issues in the Flathead will forever be colored by the 1968 Mysis shrimp debacle and the subsequent Lake Trout invasion. It’s a long and colorful story.

The Flathead TU has a pretty damned well-written and succinct summary of native fish issues in the Flathead available here as well as a more detailed history of changes and key events (dams play a fairly significant part) in the system here.

If you have any interest at all in native fish issues, here’s a living laboratory evolving as we speak; the Flathead TU docs are quick, ‘must-reads’ on the key issues. If the Flathead system story isn’t the most fascinating example of man tinkering with native fish populations (in a readily observable watershed system) in the world today it’s clearly in the top three.

And it’s not over yet.