Lake Chub

Lake chub being held by an angler
Lake chub

NPS

 

Though native to the Missouri and Yellowstone river drainages in Montana and Wyoming, the lake chub (Couesius plumbeus) is not native to Yellowstone National Park waters. It was most likely introduced by bait fishermen into Yellowstone Lake, McBride Lake, and Abundance Lake in the Slough Creek drainage.

Description

  • Dull gray or blueish gray.
  • Rarely more than 6 inches long.

Behavior

  • Inhabits cooler lakes and streams, prefers small creeks to large rivers.
  • Spring spawner.
  • Compete with small trout for food, but likely provide fodder for trout over 16 inches.

Distribution

  • Established but uncommon, in Yellowstone Lake. Removed from Lake Abundance in 1969.
  • Well-established in the Slough Creek drainage.
 
An underwater view of a spotted fish with a red slash on its neck and side swims above pebbles

Fish and Aquatic Species

Native fish underpin natural food webs and have great local economic significance.

Young cutthroat trout in a shallow creek

Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program

Explore the National Park Service science program for fish and aquatic species.

Spawning lake trout

Lake Trout

Lake trout prey on Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

Rainbow trout in the hands of an angler

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout are native to North America in waters which drain to the Pacific Ocean from northern Mexico to Alaska.

Head and body of a brown trout laying on the ground

Brown Trout

The brown trout is the only nonnative fish species in Yellowstone that is not native to North America.

Eastern brook trout swimming

Eastern Brook Trout

Eastern brook trout was the first nonnative species introduced in Yellowstone—stocked in the (then fishless) Firehole River in 1889.

Two shells sit on a dime and are about the same height as the coin

New Zealand Mud Snails

New Zealand mudsnails are invasive and have a significant detrimental effect on Yellowstone.

Two speckled fish with black tails swim in a colorful streambed

Whirling Disease

Whirling disease can infect some trout and salmon.

Brightly-clothed people in a river near a steaming thermal feature

Red-rimmed Melania

Red-rimmed melania, a small snail, was discovered in a warm swimming area.

Angler fishing in Yellowstone

Fishing

Cast your line for 16 species of fish.

Zebra mussel infestation

Clean, Drain, & Dry

Learn how you can help prevent damaging aquatic invasive species from reaching Yellowstone.

 

Resources

Bigelow, P.E. 2009. Predicting areas of lake trout spawning habitat within Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming. Doctoral dissertation, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.

Gresswell, R.E. 2009. Scientific review panel evaluation of the National Park Service lake trout suppression program in Yellowstone Lake, August 25–29, 2008: Final report, October 2009, Edited by USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center. Bozeman, MT.

Koel, T.M., P.E. Bigelow, P.D. Doepke, B.D. Ertel, and D.L. Mahony. 2005. Nonnative lake trout result in Yellowstone cutthroat trout decline and impacts to bears and anglers. Fisheries 30(11):10–19.

Koel, T.M., P.E. Bigelow, P.D. Doepke, B.D. Ertel, and D.L. Mahony. 2006. Conserving Yellowstone cutthroat trout for the future of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: Yellowstone’s Aquatic Sciences Program. Yellowstone Science 14(2).

Middleton, A.D., T.A. Morrison, J.K. Fortin, M.J. Kauffman, C.T. Robbins, K.M. Proffitt, P.J. White, D.E. McWhirter, T.M. Koel, D. Brimeyer, and W.S. Fairbanks. 2013. Grizzly bears link non-native trout to migratory elk in Yellowstone. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280:20130870.

Munro, A.R., T.E. McMahon, and J.R. Ruzycki. 2006. Where did they come from?: Natural chemical markers identify source and date of lake trout introduction in Yellowstone Lake. Yellowstone Science 14(2).

Wyoming Water Project. 2014. Science supporting management of Yellowstone Lake fisheries: Responses to frequently asked questions. Trout Unlimited: Lander, WY.

Ruzycki, J.R., D.A. Beauchamp, and D.L. Yule. 2003. Effects of introduced lake trout on native cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake. Ecological Applications 13:23–37.

Last updated: April 18, 2017

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Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

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