Netting and Sampling in Swan Lake

By Beacon Staff

Another round of netting fish in Swan Lake aims to nail down the number of lake trout swimming into the bull trout fishery. Starting on September 9th, and running until the 23rd a group of state and national agencies are conducing a “depletion population estimate.” They’ll net fish, and remove all the lake trout sampled. By taking the lakers out, the average catch rate will drop – from this rate of decline biologists can find out how many fish there were.

The same study was done in the fall of 2007. The goal is to get a count of the number of lake trout in the system, and figure out a way to reduce their numbers.

Buoys set up around Swan Lake mark net locations and Biologists ask that boaters and anglers to give them a wide berth. Lake trout were first spotted in Swan Lake in 1998. Biologist fear if their numbers grow, the number of kokanee, bull trout and other fish in the lake will dwindle.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Forest service, Montana State University, Montana Trout Unlimited, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tries, an the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation are the agencies involved.