Georgetown Lake study attempts to understand trout, kokanee growth

Katie Furey wielded the sharp knife as deftly as a sushi chef.

She carved from each vacant-eyed specimen a pink tissue sample. She slit the fishes’ white bellies to extract stomachs to later analyze their contents.

The fish had been weighed and measured and their carcasses retained for later retrieval of an “otolith” – calcium carbonate structures found inside the heads of bony fish – and vertebrae.  

Inspection of an otolith can help determine a fish’s age. The vertebrae can help identify which strain of rainbow trout has been captured due to previous marking via administration of tetracycline.

Two grebe paddling nearby chortled. A chilly wind blew.  

No one can say for sure, but the numerous rainbow trout, brook trout and kokanee salmon netted from Georgetown Lake on May 24 did not know they were giving their lives for science.

A gillnet was deployed May 24 to capture trout and kokanee at Georgetown Lake. 

Duncan Adams, The Montana Standard

Furey is a graduate student in wildlife management at Montana State University, with a focus on fisheries. She worked that afternoon at the Red Bridge

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