By Kirk Deeter
Catching a "native species" trout is a big deal these days because, frankly, it's easier to find non-natives in most waters. Of course, most of that is our own, intentional, doing. Brown trout were planted in Michigan in the 1870s, and now most of us can't imagine fly fishing in a context that doesn't include browns. A wild brook trout is a precious thing in the Smoky Mountains, but in the Rockies, we can't eat them fast enough. Same too for the historic lake trout in the Great Lakes. That's a Pacific salmon and steelhead fishery now. But scientists are able to use lake trout from Lewis Lake in Yellowstone National Park (where there were no lake trout originally) to supplement stocks in the Great Lakes.
Keeping tabs on any of this is enough to make your head swim. Some wonder aloud if it's worth fighting the upstream battle to keep native fish populations around at all, or if we should assume that genie is out of the bottle.