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Canary In The Mine

leah kirk

                This week I received an advanced copy of “The Imperiled Cutthroat: Tracing the Fate of Yellowstone’s Native Trout” (Patagonia, June 2016) by Greg French, that has a message of considerable importance to southern trout fishermen. One of Australia’s best-known fishing writers, tells the story of the Yellowstone cutthroat trout: its discovery, biology, decimation, modern-day allure and uncertain future.

Although set against the dramatic backdrop of Yellowstone National Park, comparisons to Australia, New Zealand and the southeastern US are inevitable—Antipodean fisheries managers greatly influenced trout recovery programs in Yellowstone, and the outcomes greatly influenced the way trout fisheries are managed in and outside of the U.S. It is a cautionary tale too, ending up in Mongolia, which is as pristine as Montana used to be in Custer’s time and in immediate danger of repeating the same old mistakes.

The book reminds anglers everywhere that hatcheries are far from a panacea for ailing fisheries. Fostering both angler participation and conservation of the natural environmental almost always delivers far better outcomes—and at a fraction of the cost. French’s other books include Trout Waters of Tasmania, Frog Call, Artificial, and Menagerie of False Truths. He also co-wrote the acclaimed documentary "Hatch” and companion DVD "Predator."