Short casts: Cutties on the brink, Gonzaga steelhead, mud snails in Michigan

Some unsettling news this week from NPR—the fish first identified by European newcomers to the northern Rockies is in peril. West slope cutthroat trout (and, let's be honest, cutthroat trout throughout the American West) are in trouble. NPR reports that earlier springs, dryer weather and invasive species, like non-native rainbow trout, are pushing the fish that Meriwether Lewis first caught using a deer spleen for bait to the brink.

As ecologist Clint Muhlfield notes, "Extinction is permanent. Once native genomes and adaptive traits are gone, they're gone forever."

It's prime time for steelhead in southeast Alaska, and the coach of the national runner-up in the NCAA basketball tournament got away recently for a littel R&R and some seriously big chromers in the waters of the Tongass National Forest. 

Gonzaga University head basketball coach Mark Few is a steelhead angler in addition to being the coach of the heralded "Zags" hoops team that came within a whisker of bringing a national title to Spokane for the first time. Nice catch, coach.

It's official. The noxious New Zealand mud snail has arrived in the fabled waters of the Michigan's northern lower peninsula, infecting waters like the Pere Marquette, the Au Sable and the Boardman. Citizen scientists in Michigan will monitor these and other rivers and streams over the 2017 season to help biologists determine the extent of the invasion. 

Check out the video below to learn more about the New Zealand mud snail and the key to halting its spread: simple prevention by practicing good stream hygiene. Wash your waders and boots carefully, Let them dry and inspect them before and after each use. 

— Chris Hunt

 

 

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