BEAR LAKE, Utah (ABC4) – In an effort to better understand the impact that lake trout have on the underwater ecosystem at Bear Lake, researchers are analyzing the effects of a project two decades in the making.

Approximately 20 years ago, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources began stocking Bear Lake with a small population of sterile lake trout. In June, the division, along with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will extract a percentage of the trout from the lake, which sits right on the border of the two states, to monitor and evaluate the lake trout impact.

Monitoring lake trout is important because the fish is a predatory species. If unchecked, the lake trout can overrun other fish populations in a particular body of water. Typically, lake trout can migrate to new homes through colonized connected lakes. Trout in Stanley Lake however, are reproducing at a rapid rate. The sterilized trout from Bear Lake are hoped to quell the issue in Idaho.

As part of the study, 400 sterile lake trout will be transferred from Bear Lake to Stanley Lake in Idaho using a system of gillnetting equipment in early June.

“The large nets and short timeframe will allow us to collect more fish, while minimizing any impacts to the lake trout collected, as well as to any other fish that we may catch in the nets,” Idaho Department of Fish and Game Regional Fisheries Manager Greg Schoby says in a press release. “Aside from the 400 lake trout being relocated, all other lake trout will be released back into the lake after the project so anglers can continue to fish for them.” 

The project is not anticipated to have an effect on the angling available at the popular fishing spot.

Earlier this year, Travis Hobbs broke the state catch-and-release Bear Lake Cutthroat trout record with a  31-inch fish.

Courtesy of Utah Wildlife