YNP officials are currently poisoning the remaining fish in the upper Gibbon River. Parts of the upper reaches have been closed to allow for final applications of Rotenone, a poison that affects the fish’s gills.
Fisheries officials have ben working on this area to restore Artic Grayling and Westslope Cutthroat trout. The high elevation, cool water, and natural barriers make this area perfect to restore native fish.
Ironically, this upper watershed, and many other watersheds in Yellowstone Park were devoid of fish. No trout or grayling were ever naturally in the watershed. The area currently being addressed is around the Virginia Cascades and Wolf Lake Trail to Little Gibbon Falls.
Back in the day, YNP officials stocked the stream in introduce trout. Rainbow trout were the fist to be planted above and below Gibbon Falls. The falls is a natural barrier that will not allow any other fish to migrate upstream.
As a kid visiting the park in the 1960’s, I remember helping park staff stock the river. I carried buckets of mature brown trout and rainbows down the banks and into the river. Fly Fishing Only was the restriction in that area.
Once the current fish population is gone, the grayling and Westslope Cutthroat trout back into the watershed. Several lakes in the watershed will also be replanted once the Brown, Rainbow, and Brook trout currently living here are gone.
This is not the first project to reintroduce or protect native fish species. The East Fork of Specimen Creek, Goose Lake, Grayling Creek and Yellowstone Lake are being managed.
Fish be back soon!
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