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Bio station examines netting, cascading effects

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Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 9:45 pm

How would Flathead Lake’s complex food web and ecology change if an aggressive netting project started removing 140,000 lake trout every year?

That is considered an important question that has yet to be answered, but it is a subject being addressed in a study being conducted for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes as part of an environmental review for a proposed lake trout netting project on the lake.

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          Welcome to the discussion.


          • Lucky posted at 7:01 pm on Fri, Mar 16, 2012.

            Lucky Posts: 18


            Yes, mysis caused the explosion in the lake trout population, but mysis aren't eating native fish, lake trout are. We don't have the technology yet to control mysis, but we do know how to control lake trout. It's been done elsewhere. If we can get lake trout down to manageable levels it may be possible to reintroduce kokanee, which were a much more popular fishery than lake trout will ever be.

            It amazes me that there is so much acrimony over wolves eating our native wildlife, but when the same thing happens in Flathead Lake, people support the aquatic wolves.

          • krispistofferson posted at 6:59 pm on Fri, Mar 16, 2012.

            krispistofferson Posts: 265

            corporation guy went to a lot of trouble trying to be clever and it was a miserable "fail". Give him another bottle of whiskey so he can give it another whirl.

          • campo posted at 6:11 pm on Fri, Mar 16, 2012.

            campo Posts: 136

            And no matter what the outcome, most will blame it on wolves.

          • amnotacorporation posted at 5:01 pm on Fri, Mar 16, 2012.

            amnotacorporation Posts: 154

            There needs to be a committee assembled to study this proposed netting strategy. After the committee members take years to look at all the possible impacts and after this panel of experts spends millions of funds on essential committee functions they will narrow down the solutions with the help of a magic eight ball. To decide on the final solution there will be a random selection of the remaining proposals individually placed into leather pouches. The pouches will be randomly tied to monkey's dressed in cowboy attire and the monkey's will be fastened to saddles that will be placed on the back of racing pigs. There will be a selection committee overseeing all of this so as to assure the randomness of the monkey-pig-pouch-solution placement. When all is ready the racing pigs will be released and then a pair of clowns using nets will capture a pair of pigs. After the two pigs are caught the two clowns will flip a coin to decide who gets to represent which monkey-pig-pouch-solution. The coin toss will be officiated by a local celebrity and they will also oversee the next phase of the operation.
            The clowns with perspective pouches holding the two competing solutions will be sat down and blindfolded. The winner of the coin toss gets to decide who goes first for this next secret phase of the decision making process. Then the celebrity judge will take a revolver, donated from a local sporting goods store, and load a single round into a chamber, spin it, close it shut and hand it to the first clown. This clown will then point the revolver to his left kneecap and pull the trigger. This will be repeated until one of the clowns either screams out in fear or screams out in pain, the first one to do so, his solution is the one to be tabled. Then next step is to un-blindfold the winning clown so that it can read out loud the solution that it was carrying.

            But before all this happens there will have to be multiple committees set up as to study the mental impact on monkeys being dressed in cowboy outfits, to study the mental impact on pigs who have monkeys strapped on their backs while being chased by clowns, as well as a committee set up to study the mental impact on monkeys who are strapped to the backs of pigs and then chased by clowns.

            Did I forget to mention that the participating clowns will be selected from a group of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials. Hopefully the clowns that are picked actually know how to read so we can finally get to implement a real solution this time around. We wouldn't want to go through this process again, because it might stir up some animal rights groups attention and they would most certainly file a lawsuit that would stall our decision making process.

          • rooter posted at 4:05 pm on Fri, Mar 16, 2012.

            rooter Posts: 171

            Flathead Lake- The Largest Science Experiment gone wrong west of the Mississippi.

          • rooter posted at 3:57 pm on Fri, Mar 16, 2012.

            rooter Posts: 171

            Lucky, The lake trout and salmon all lived together in Flathead Lake for years. It was the introduction of the Mysis Shrimp by the MT F&G= Montana Fun & Games Department that hoseded the salmon. Has to do with the depth / level of the where the Lake Trout, Salmon and the Mysis feed. What ever happened to the Grayling? The were in every river and stream when Lewis and Clark cam through.

            Flathead Lake- The Largest Science Expierenc gone wrong west of the Mississippi.

            Next thing you know the Enviro Wackos will want to reintroduce a breed Wolf that was never here either.

          • Lucky posted at 1:01 pm on Fri, Mar 16, 2012.

            Lucky Posts: 18

            If lake trout are being depleted by fishing contests, why does that decline not show up in the FWP population surveys every year? That data shows the population has been stable for 20 years. Commercial fishermen say they can't catch fish any more, but contestants in Mack Days seem to not have a problem boating 80-90 fish per day. The only place the decline shows up is in statements by commercial charter interests who have never shown any data to back up their claim.

            Tourists rarely fish Flathead Lake. More than 80% of the lake fishermen are Lake and Flathead county residents. The amount of tourist dollars generated by commercial fishing is puny compared to the overall tourist economy. Netting will still leave nearly a million lake trout in Flathead Lake and those fish will be healthier, grow faster and there will still be plenty to catch. Fishing pressure in Flathead Lake dropped by more than 50% after the lake trout ate all the kokanee.

            Lake trout are already taking wildlife out of Glacier Park. They have invaded 10 of 13 lakes in the Park connected to Flathead Lake and in many of those lakes the native fish are functionally extinct. The eagles are gone from Glacier because lake trout ate nearly 10 million kokanee on which the eagles and bears, and people, fed. Improving native fishing in the river will generate much more income for the economy than the small contribution of 9 commercial charter operators.

          • 888111 posted at 10:38 am on Fri, Mar 16, 2012.

            888111 Posts: 541

            these so called academics have screwed up the lake,no more eagles feeding on salmon,because there are no more salmon,we have lake trout that they want to net, and play god again,lets see how they'll screw this up

          • county resident posted at 9:56 am on Fri, Mar 16, 2012.

            county resident Posts: 26

            The Mack Days Fishing Competition has already depleted the Lake Trout numbers according to the commercial fishing interests who make a living taking tourists out on this lake. If the lake is netted with twice the Lake Trout being taken out as there is now, what will happen to the tourist dollars this fishing interest brings into the area?
            With Lake Trout taken out, Bull Trout endangered and Cutthroat Trout catch and release only, where does that leave the "Big Lake" as a source of Tourism? This would be like taking all the wildlife out of Glacier Park and still expecting the tourists to come and invest $$$ in our local economy!
            The Mack Days is a lot of work for the Tribal Fisheries, there is a lot of planning, fundraising, recordkeeping, etc involved. I just wonder if the "netting" is the easier way for them to get their federal funding without having to expend as much time and energy?

          • rooter posted at 9:37 am on Fri, Mar 16, 2012.

            rooter Posts: 171

            "Flathead Lake and its entire aquatic system is very complex" No Shite Montana Fish and Game! Did that ever cross your mind prior to the introduction of Mysis Shrimp. The Montana Fish and Game should be disbanded for this colossal failure. The next thing that will happen is state being overrun by the Big Bad Wolf.- another non-native reintroduction by a bunch of government idiots. Remember boys and girls- smoke a pack a day! SSS, Shoot, Shovel and Shut Up.


          AP Montana