Beardslee trout are alive and kicking in Lake Crescent.
Should they ever disappear, the Beardslee — found nowhere else on Earth — would be gone forever.
That was the thinking two summers ago when Olympic National Park closed the lake to all but catch-and-release fishing.
In that time, the Beardslee has thrived.
Beardslee trout are the prized residents of this glacier-carved lake bracketed by the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains.
Large Beardslees, once targeted for their beautiful blue-skinned backs and delicious meat, now swim free of human predators.
But there’s some doubt whether the fish is still at risk and if the lake should remain catch-and-release.
Recent counts of egg beds — called redds — suggest the Beardslee has quickly rebounded from a critically low stage in the spring of 2000.
Olympic National Park counted only 35 redds that year, the fewest ever observed.
However, this year’s redd count of 159 was the highest since the tallies began in 1989. The annual average is 71.The rest of this story appears in today’s Peninsula Daily News sports section. Click on “Subscribe” to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.