Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush)

Three large fish swimming in along the rocky bottom of a clear lake

Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush)

Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) is known for its trout fishing. In the park, lake trout are quite the thrilling catch, weighing up to 60 pounds! They go by many nicknames – paperbelly, lake char, mackinaw – and are the largest species in their genus, Salvelinus. These fish are non-native in GTNP, but their environmental impact seems to be less drastic here than in Yellowstone Lake nearby.

The Great Lakes in Michigan and Yellowstone Lake have opposite problems when it comes to lake trout. Overfishing and the introduction of invasive lamprey dangerously thinned the native lake trout population in the Great Lakes in the 1950s. Conversely, after their introduction to Yellowstone in 1890, lake trout populations exploded and devastated the native cutthroat trout population in Yellowstone Lake, causing far-reaching damage to the lake’s natural ecosystem. Huge efforts in both the Great Lakes and Yellowstone Lake have been made to correct these population counts.

Written by Shawna Wolf
PC: YNP on Flickr https://flic.kr/p/pe6WeX