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Fish Sampled in Jackson Area Lakes

June 15, 2020
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Jackson biologists net some dandy fish!

Jackson - Fisheries managers with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in cooperation with Grand Teton National Park began their summer field season with the annual fish sampling of Jackson Lake. Each year, nets are placed in Jackson Lake to monitor fish health and population trends. Nets were placed in the evening just before dark at four different locations and then hauled in early the next morning. The catch is recorded by species, with each fish being weighed and measured. Fish are also given a brief health screening with managers primarily checking for gill lice as part a separate research project.

The fish netting effort is conducted for three consecutive nights weather permitting. Once the busy field season is over, the resulting data will be analyzed and compared with previous years to determine population trends for the various species over time.

The fish species caught were lake trout, Snake River cutthroat trout, brown trout, mountain whitefish, Utah chubs and Utah suckers. The largest fish netted were a 36-inch (20 lb) lake trout a 22-inch brown trout and a 15-inch cutthroat.

The larger lake trout receive a uniquely-numbered tag placed behind their dorsal fin before being released. Efforts to tag lake trout in Jackson Lake have been ongoing since 1987, and sixteen new fish were tagged during this sampling. This allows managers to track a fish’s movements, growth rates and survival when the fish is recovered again, either by an angler or their own capture efforts.

Currently, there are three different colors of tags that can be found in fish from Jackson Lake and some carry a reward for reporting the tag number along with length and weight of the fish. A reward for reporting yellow tags is $5 and pink/red tags are $25. Green tags do not have a monetary reward, but all anglers are urged to report tagged fish to supplement the growing dataset for lake trout in Jackson Lake. If anglers plan to release the fish, the tag can be clipped off, or a good photo of the tag where the numbers are legible is great also.

The Jackson fish crew will continue to conduct similar fish netting efforts on area lakes until rivers and streams clear and they can begin sampling those waters.

- WGFD -

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