We are the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana. We are working hard to protect native trout. One of the largest threats to native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout is predation by non-native lake trout. Lake trout prey on nearly all fish species present in Flathead Lake, and they have hit bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout especially hard.
To counter the threat posed by lake trout and other non-native species in Flathead Lake, the Tribes have undertaken a combination of fisheries-population-management tools, including fishing by recreational anglers and gillnetting. The lake trout and lake whitefish fillets we sell are gillnetted, the way many salmon are harvested from the Pacific Ocean. The program is expensive; it requires multiple boats, extensive fishing gear, numerous personnel, and most importantly, it must go on perpetually. To help offset costs, the Tribes established this company, Native Fish Keepers, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation to market the gill netted lake trout and lake whitefish.