FWP Biologist Puts Old Technology to New Use Tracking Origin of Illegally Planted Walleye

An old and tested technology was applied in a new way to track down the origin of the two illegally planted walleyes in Swan Lake in 2015.

The tool, perfected over the past year, could be used to catch people responsible for illegal introductions that can lead to lost recreational fishing opportunities, a collapse of ecosystems and altered food webs.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks fisheries biologist Sam Bourret was well versed in the application of using microchemistry analysis on the calcium carbonate structures of the inner ear bones of salmon — used to trace down their home streams — when he came to work in northwest Montana two years ago.

That summer other fisheries biologists were using gill nets to capture lake trout, another illegally introduced species, from Swan Lake when the two walleyes were found.  “It was a very alarming discovery,” Bourret said. “Walleye are a voracious predator that can easily alter a fishery.”  Click on the following sentence to access the full story.

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