Logging Lake is stuffed with invasive lake trout . . .
Glacier National Park’s Logging Lake is brimming with non-native lake trout, biologists have found. In 2015, biologists from the U.S. Geological survey netted 2,158 lake trout from the remote North Fork water.
“That’s a lot of fish,” Vin D’Angelo, fisheries biologist with the USGS said.
Initial netting last spring brought worries that the entire lake was full of lake trout and little else. They only caught 10 suckers, but hundreds of lake trout. The lake trout are killed and their air bladders are punctured so they sink back to the bottom of the lake, which avoids any conflict with bears and other scavengers.
But fall netting caught 864 suckers, D’Angelo noted. The idea isn’t to catch suckers, which are a bait fish, he noted, but at least biologists know they’re in the lake in healthy numbers. In fact, Logging Lake has turned out to be a fairly diverse body of water compared to other North Fork lakes. In addition to suckers species, it has a healthy population of westslope cutthroat trout, northern pike minnows and mountain whitefish. The lake trout don’t eat many cutts, because lake trout generally live in water that’s 50 to 70 feet deep, while cutts are a surface feeding fish.
Five days a week, a couple of guys get paid to gill net lake trout out of Quartz Lake . . .
The skull and crossbones hanging from the light pole on the back of the 18-foot fishing boat has worn to tatters.
So has the population of lake trout in Quartz Lake.
Twice a day, Kevin Perkins and Carter Fredenberg string 1,800 feet of gill net through the waters of Juvi Bay – their name for the most productive summertime corner of this 869-acre Glacier National Park lake where juvenile lake trout linger. They come to pillage. The name of their pirate boat is unprintable.
Looks like Glacier Park is seeing success in eliminating non-native lake trout from Quartz Lake . . .
Since 2009, biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey and Glacier National Park have been netting non-native lake trout from Quartz Lake to help preserve one of the Park’s last remaining strongholds for endangered bull trout. The effort, biologist Carter Fredenberg was pleased to report last week, appears to be working.
Last fall, biologists counted an historic high 66 bull trout redds in the upper stretches of drainage. Redds are spawning beds fish make in the stream bottoms. The more redds, the better the population is doing.
“That is extremely positive,” Fredenberg said during a public talk last week.
Glacier Park announced yesterday a number of fish conservation projects in the North Fork. These include a fish passage barrier to be constructed to protect Akokala Lake and lake trout suppression work at Quartz and Logging Lakes.
Bull trout numbers are down due to competition from non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. There’s some head-butting over the best fix for the problem . . .
Two biologists from two different government agencies agree on one thing — bull trout numbers in the Flathead appear to be stable. But they differ on the future of the native fish.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Tom Weaver says bull trout redd counts show a stable population over the past 10 years, and some spawning streams in the North Fork, particularly Coal Creek, saw a surge in numbers this year.
Biologists count spawning beds, called redds, each fall to gauge how many adults are returning to streams each year and the overall health of the bull trout population. The higher the count, the more robust the population. This year, biologists counted 225 redds in the North Fork and Middle Fork tributaries, compared to 229 last year and 189 one year earlier. But those numbers pale in comparison to the early 1980s when numbers ranged from 300 to as many as 600 in 1982.
The battle to keep non-native lake trout out of the Quartz Creek drainage continues . . .
Following National Park Service approval and an environmental analysis, Glacier National Park officials will move forward with modifications and improvements to the existing Quartz Creek fish barrier to try and suppress lake trout and other non-native fish from getting into Quartz Lake, the park announced Monday.
Located in the North Fork of the Flathead River drainage and the park’s North Fork District, Quartz Lake is believed to be one of the last remaining strongholds for bull trout in park waters west of the Continental Divide. The lake was believed to be the largest on the west side of the park accessible to lake trout but not yet colonized by them. However, lake trout were detected in 2005, threatening the long-term persistence of the Quartz Lake bull trout fishery.
Glacier Park is trying to keep non-native lake trout out of Quartz Lake . . .
Glacier National Park officials are seeking public comment on a project that would modify and improve a fish barrier designed to stem the invasion of lake trout in Quartz Lake.
Considered one of the last best strongholds for native fish in the entire Columbia River Basin, Quartz Lake’s native fish populations include bull trout, which are classified as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, as well as westslope cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish.
Native fish populations in Glacier National Park have been compromised by the invasion of non-native fish species into the park’s lakes and streams, and lake trout are being targeted as the chief culprit.
Invasive lake trout continue to cause problems for native bull trout . . .
An annual stream survey of native bull trout in the Swan River drainage revealed a continued decline in reproduction, while the number of spawning trout in the North Fork Flathead Basin also fell below average.
The Daily Inter Lake has a pretty interesting report on the progress being made to remove invasive lake trout from Quartz Lake in Glacier National Park . . .
It’s been rough and wearying work plying the waters of Glacier National Park’s remote Quartz Lake for unwanted lake trout, but the effort appears promising so far.
Since the experimental suppression project got under way in 2009, more than 1,500 non-native lake trout have been removed from the lake through spring and fall gill netting.
“All the signs are indicating that we are making a dent up there for sure,” said Clint Muhlfeld, an aquatic research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “We saw a pretty dramatic decline over the course of the spring sampling.”