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Cutthroat issues

There remains serious question whether the westslope cutthroat trout is truly the original native fish of Montana and if poisoning lakes and streams to kill the current diversified fisheries we enjoy for a monoculture strain is proper.

Still available to view online is "Murky Waters" Range Magazine winter 2000 and Dead Wrong - You Tube, for background on this misguided effort please look at them.

A letter I received from FWP Bruce Rich 8-21-1998 stated "The Yellowstone Cutthroat was not native to the headwaters of the Missouri River but only to the upper Yellowstone River drainage."

Fisheries experts report differently just the opposite of FWP. Robert J. Behnke, Native Trout of Western North America "the cutthroat trout of the headwaters of the Missouri River was first described by Lewis & Clark and was common in Yellowstone Park. Activities later of a fish hatchery operated on Yellowstone Lake for many years spread the YCT to many drainages in western North America."

Professor CJD Brown, fisheries expert at MSU, stated in his book Fishes of Montana that the YCT is native to Montana and first reported by Lewis & Clark (1803-1806) near the falls of the Missouri River.

The YCT was also described as "yellow bellied" or "black spotted," and "the cutthroat trout at the headwaters of the Missouri River" in Fishes of Wyoming, which also states it was named Salmo lewisi by Girard (1856).

Colorado fisheries experts state "at least 12 subspecies have been recognized by different authorities it is unlikely that the races can be correctly separated into subspecies today."

Then in 1998 during the Cherry Lake-Cherry Creek fish poisoning failure "Murky Waters" we began hearing about a westslope. Yes thousands upon thousands of dollars were donated to the Anaconda hatchery by the out-of-state landowner at Cherry Creek to produce this strain for the Cherry Lake-Cherry Creek boondoggle in public water. Now today FWP will recreate it in French Creek. I have to conclude we have been led down primrose paths by FWP and they continue.

— Jack Jones, Butte

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