Date of this Version
North American Journal of Fisheries Management 42:857–873, 2022. DOI: 10.1002/nafm.10772
Henrys Lake, Idaho, supports a popular fishery for Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri and Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout × Rainbow Trout O. mykiss hybrids. A majority of the adult population of fish in Henrys Lake are of hatchery origin that were stocked as fingerlings. The fishery is closed to angling during the late winter and spring months, but fisheries managers are considering opening the fishery year-round with catch-and-release- only regulations or with a two-fish bag limit during the extended season. However, there is concern that the proposed management actions may negatively affect the current fishery. Therefore, we developed an integrated catch-atage model to estimate population parameters for trout in Henrys Lake and used a simulation model to evaluate alternative management actions. Results of this study suggest that catch and release of both Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout and hybrids would increase and that abundance of trout in the spring (i.e., the start of the traditional season) would decrease under both proposed bag limits. Losses in abundance can be mitigated by stocking additional fish as long as no more than approximately 1,520,000 Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout are stocked annually. If catch-and-release-only regulations are implemented during the newly proposed season, total harvest is expected to decrease compared to the current fishery due to additional catch-and-release mortality. Ultimately, managers will need to prioritize harvest or catch-and-release opportunity, both of which provide additional utility to anglers, when choosing how to proceed with bag limit regulations.