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To boost bull trout numbers, FWP plans to kill nonnative lake trout in Swan Lake

Bull trout.
Joel Sartore/ National Geographic & Wade Fredenberg/ USFWS
Bull trout.

State and Federal wildlife officials are making plans to kill lake trout in the Swan Lake drainage.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would work together to reduce lake trout in Swan Lake over the next 6-10 years.

The agencies say core populations of native bull trout are at risk of extinction in coming decades due to competition and predation by nonnative lake trout. Officials propose to use a variety of methods to reduce lake trout, including gillnetting and killing fish eggs. Work would start on Swan Lake first and then expand to neighboring Holland and Lindbergh lakes.

FWP previously reduced lake trout in the region from 2009-2016, but the population has rebounded. Officials say lessons learned from that effort and ongoing lake trout removals in Washington and Idaho will lead to better results.

Public comment on FWP’s proposal is open until June 28. The Fish and Wildlife Service’s comment period ends July 11.

John joined the Montana Public Radio team in August 2022. Born and raised in Helena, he graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts and created the Montana history podcast Land Grab. John can be contacted at
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