|Yellowstone cutthroat trout|
Photo from Hatch Magazine-
Stocked, wild, or native? These are labels that carry with them tremendous ecological distinctions. Generally speaking stocked and wild trout come from other watersheds at the least, and, at the greatest geographic extent, other continents. But native trout have evolved in those waters were they are caught and are an integral part of a foodweb that has evolved over millennia. This is where ecology begins to unravel when discussing the lineage of trout and the need for native trout conservation begins.
In watersheds throughout the United States native trout continue to lose ground. Trout Unlimited's recent State of the Trout report vividly presents the precarious position of native trout throughout the country. Give this a moment of thought as you identify the next trout you catch and ask yourself whether it is a native, wild, or stocked specimen. We are living through the sixth great extinction of the Earth's history and it's not done yet. The cumulative threats to native trout may cost us our single greatest asset to the sport of fly fishing.
You can also find my discussions on fly fishing and conservation issues at-