A tiny stream south of Jackson is going to get a do-over.
Game Creek, better known for its hiking and biking offerings, is slated for rotenone poisoning by Wyoming Game and Fish the next two summers to remove brook trout and restore the stream as a Snake River cutthroat trout nursery.
Game Creek is a small tributary to Flat Creek, a stream that flows out of the National Elk Refuge through Jackson and into the Snake River more than 5 miles south of town. Game Creek was 100% cutthroat trout in the 1950s and ’60s until Game and Fish began stocking the stream with brook trout to give anglers opportunities to catch different fish, said Diana Miller of Game and Fish in an online presentation.
Another event also spelled doom for cutthroat in the creek.
“The construction of the new highway (191) in the ’60s led to the installation of a culvert on Game Creek that was not passable to cutthroat trout from Flat Creek that were trying to move up to spawn,” Miller said. “Then we really saw a difference in the brook trout population.” By the 2000s, Game Creek was entirely a brook trout stream.
In recent years, the old culvert where the creek passes under the Highway 191 has been replaced with a culvert that allows cutthroat to access Game Creek.
“This provides support for a self-sustaining population of cutthroat trout in the future,” Miller said. The hope is trout will once again spawn up the creek.
After the brook trout are killed out of the stream with rotenone, Game and Fish plans to stock Snake River cutthroat trout back into the creek with the idea of having catchable trout in the stream by 2022.
“This small stream will be helping to provide even more of these native fish to both Flat Creek and the Snake River,” she said.