Otoliths Used to Source Yellowstone Lake Trout

July 10, 2006 By: Marshall Cutchin

Biologists think they have discovered the source of the lake trout that have been decimating the cutthroat trout population in Yellowstone Lake. The evidence comes from matching otoliths with lake trout in nearby lakes, and it seems that “bucket biologists” were likely responsible for transporting trout into Yellowstone Lake in 1989 and 1996. “By comparing the age of the fish to the location of change in the otolith, the scientists found that lake trout most likely moved from their original habitat twice, once in 1989 and again in 1996. Further, by comparing the early strontium/calcium levels of suspected transplants with fish that lived their whole lives in either Lewis or Heart lakes, the scientists concluded that the source of the Yellowstone Lake lake trout was most likely Lewis Lake.” Cory Hatch in the Jackson Hole News and Guide.