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Yellowstone Cutthroat

Yellowstone Cutthrouts Reintroduced in Greater Ecosystem

Game and Fish officials are breeding Yellowstone cutthroats at two Wyoming fisheries for stocking in the state. The Billings Gazette has a story on efforts to stock Dead Indian Creek, which feeds the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River out of the Sunlight Basin, with these cutthroats. Cutthroats were native to streams like this, but over the years rainbow trout and nonnative trouts pushed aside the cutthroats.

It’s not an easy process. The tributary is long — running from North Absaroka Wilderness to the Clarks Fork Canyon — and is bisected by a falls; cutthroats were found above the falls but not below. Two years ago the creek was chemically treated below the falls to kill all fish. There’s evidence the cutthroats have moved below the falls to repopulate the now open area, but to speed things along the stocked cutthroats are being introduced. Most recently 900 cutthroats were released; eventually 5,400 will populate the creek.

Image of Yellowstone cutthroat trout at Le Hardy Rapids by Harlan Kredit; courtesy of the National Park Service.

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