The world inhabited by the fishes of Grand Teton National Park seems to be a world apart. While the rivers, lakes, and ponds are wonderful visual features of the landscape, the processes and life forms that exist beneath the waters' surface are not so readily observed. For many of us the most familiar creatures of these underwater worlds are the fishes. Although sometimes the victims of "out of sight, out of mind" thinking, the fishes are crucial to the health of the regions ecosystem. The fish species present in Grand Teton come in a range of shapes and sizes. The species have a variety of eating habits. The mountain sucker feeds almost exclusively on algae; the cutthroat trout, named for its markings not its temperament, feeds mainly on insects and smaller fish. The species favor different zones in which to live within the waters. The Utah chub is typically found in warm, shallow, slow-moving water; the mountain whitefish prefers cold, deep, fast-moving water.
Despite their many differences, a common thread that connects the various fish species is their importance as a food source. Fish are the primary food of several species of birds, mammals, and other fish. The threatened bald eagles are dependent on fish for their survival. Many other animals, including human beings, consume fish as a secondary food source. Fish in turn control plant and animal, especially insect, populations through their eating habits. Because of their unique physiology the well being of fishes worldwide is precarious. Pollution, loss of habitat, and overfishing are continuous threats.
Grand Teton National Park has a worldwide reputation for its excellent trout fishing. Interestingly, of the five species of trout present in the park only one, the Snake River cutthroat trout, is native to the region. In total there are more than a dozen species of fish that make the waters of Grand Teton National Park home. Native Species Snake River cutthroat trout Utah sucker Longnose dace Redside shiner Paiute sculpin Mountain whitefish Speckled dace Mountain sucker Mottled sculpin Non-Native Species Rainbow trout Eastern brook trout Lake trout Brown trout Utah chub Arctic grayling Bluehead sucker.