Suggestion for another "field trip"

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 10:00:10 07/10/15

In Reply to: Has anyone been to Axolotl Lakes...recently? posted by Beej


I have not been any closer to the subject lakes than drive by's on the road between Ennis and Virginia City, so I have no firsthand knowledge.

I did a quick search of Montana FWP web resources to see if I could find any info on fish restoration activity in that area. I drew a blank, but I think the reservoir of data accessible via that route is only about 20 years deep. That leads me to believe that either there has not been any fishery manipulation of the resource at the highest lake, or if there was, it occurred prior to 1995. Another thought is that I have not read of any early white occupation stocking of grayling in the region, since those were native. Most of the efforts on "improving" the fisheries centered on European trout that were not native to the Northern Rockies. It is possible that the grayling at the highest lake were there all along, and it finally got discovered by fisheries-conscious folks. In the modern era, if anyone were to manipulate a fish population in that lake in a drastic way, I would think they would have to go through the EIS process.

Here's my suggestion for a "field trip". Next time you make a Costco run or have other business in Bozeman, swing by the FWP Region 3 office at 1400 S. 19th Street. You may already be familiar with the building. If not, it is south of College, on the east side of 19th St., just west of those big open grassy areas on the MSU campus. There are lots of very nice people that work in that building. Unfortunately, one of the nicest, Pat Flowers, who used to run the show, retired a year or two ago. Anyway, I would suggest you do a walkabout in that building, scouting out their resident fisheries experts. If anyone is knowledgeable on that highest lake (outside locals and hard core fishermen), they are likely resident in that building.

As long as we are talking salamanders, here's a Yellowstone salamander story for you:

Back in the summer of 2000, a wicked thunderstorm swept through Mammoth one hot, humid afternoon. For 5 or 10 minutes, it was a deluge of near-Biblical proportions. Then it ended as suddenly as it started, and the sun came out. On the Upper Terrace, specifically in the runoff channel from Canary Spring, dozens of tiger blotched salamanders emerged from their flooded recesses in the travertine formation. Unfortunately for them, they got cooked in the hydrothermal flow, and over the next several weeks, they slowly got calcified (their exteriors), turning into ghostly white salamander shapes. I know several of us Mammoth interps got photos, and so did Jim Peaco.

Keep us posted on any additional info you unearth on those axolotls.


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