Catching our First Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout!

Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 1:45pm

Author: 

Nessarose Schear

Hiking in all of our gear
This week we electro-fished the wonderfully named Jackass Creek in Grand Targhee National Park. The sites we were surveying had only been electro-fished once before and the notes on how to find the sights were pretty vague. One description informed us that the beginning of a unit was near a “large split pine”. There were around a million large split pines on the creek. Luckily, we had some GPS coordinates. Unluckily, the first day, we plugged in the wrong coordinates and spent around an extra hour crashing through the woods before we realized we had hiked way too far carrying all of our heavy gear. Oops. On the bright side, the wildlife sightings were great! We saw a baby skunk, some snakes, a bird’s nest, and best of all; Matt found a full set of epic moose antlers!!
Yellowstone Cutthroat!
     
Hands down, the stars of the show at Jackass Creek were the Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout.  These were the first YCT we’ve caught this summer and they are stunning fish. We learned that the population at Jackass creek is unique because it is the only pure and original YCT population left in the Henry’s Fork Watershed. The rest of the watershed has non-native brook or rainbow trout mixed in, or has been seeded from Yellowstone Lake. The fish we caught were incredibly wild and very difficult to measure and keep in the bucket. We also caught more of them than had been caught the last time this creek was surveyed, so that is potentially very good news for the cutthroats.  It was exciting to explore  this remote part of the watershed full of bear signs and cutthroats. 
Matt and the Antlers
Bird’s Nest