CODY - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has postponed a proposed project to restore native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the upper Porcupine Creek drainage east of Lovell.
The proposal to treat approximately 20 miles of stream on the Bighorn National Forest above Porcupine Falls to remove brook trout and restore Yellowstone cutthroat trout was brought to the public in 2012. Game and Fish held a public meeting May 2013 and accepted written public comments on the proposal for a two month period.
“Given the level of interest the public has shown in this project, we have postponed the project in order to continue to work with anglers to identify ways in which the project can be adapted to better meet their needs and desires,” said Sam Hochhalter, Cody region fisheries biologist.
Hochhalter said that Yellowstone cutthroat trout conservation and restoration is a priority for Game and Fish. “In the Bighorn Mountains, Yellowstone cutthroat trout currently occupy less than ten percent of their historical range. Fisheries biologists have been exploring streams throughout the area to identify cost effective areas where the species can be reintroduced. Porcupine Creek above Porcupine Falls has been identified as a prime candidate for such a project,” Hochhalter said.
Yellowstone cutthroat trout are the only trout native to the Big Horn Mountains and were known to occur in the Porcupine Creek Drainage below the falls prior to the introduction of nonnative trout in the last century. Yellowstone cutthroat trout have been identified as a species of greatest conservation need in Wyoming. Primary threats to the species are the introductions of hybridizing species such as rainbow trout and competing trout species such as brook trout.
(Contact: Sam Hochhalter (307) 527-7125)