Simms turns t-shirt inventory into cash for Yellowstone Cutthroat trout

Jan. 8, 2015


Rich Hohne, Simms (406) 922-1243

Chris Hunt, Trout Unlimited (208) 406-9106


Simms turns t-shirt inventory into cash for Yellowstone Cutthroat trout

BOZEMAN, Mont.When a shipment of new apparel arrived at Simms headquarters last spring bearing long-sleeved shirts that didnt match any of the colors in the companys catalog, Simms employees found a way to turn the vendor error into cash for Trout Unlimiteds work to bring Yellowstone cutthroat trout back from the brink of elimination in Yellowstone Lake.

We didnt want the order to go to waste, but we couldnt sell the shirts through our catalog because the colors were not what we intended to sell as part of our line, said Rich Hohne, a marketing official with Simms. We knew we still had great shirts, so we called TU and offered to sell the shirts through a special offer, and give 50 percent of the proceeds to fund the telemetry work being done on Yellowstone Lake.

The sale, which took place over the course of several weeks last summer, generated almost $7,000 for TUs telemetry work. The money will be used to buy more equipment used to track and monitor the movements of invasive lake trout in Yellowstone Lake. Data generated from the equipment will help the National Park Service and its contract netters remove lake trout from the lake, which will hopefully help the lakes native cutthroat trout continue rebounding from a severe population crash.

Lake trout are not native to Yellowstone Lake, and they eat cutthroat trout. According to the Park Service, by 2011, more than 90 percent of the lakes spawning population of Yellowstone cutthroat trout were gone thanks to lake trout predation. Work in recent years to remove lake trout–about 300,000 lakers have been netted and killed in each of the last three summers–is producing hopeful results in the lake, with more cutthroat trout of all age classes turning up in sampling efforts, and more native fish returning to Yellowstone Lake tributaries to spawn.

Working with TU is always top-of-mind for the Simms team in Bozeman. So when we were faced with a way to move these shirts, we wanted to help out a fishery thats near and dear to us here in our backyard, said Simms President and Owner K.C. Walsh. This project is of critical importance, and were pleased that we could do something to help TU improve the fisheryand the fishingin Yellowstone.

TUs work in the park is entirely volunteer-driven, and largely based out of the East Yellowstone Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Cody, Wyo., with significant help from state councils in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The telemetry equipment includes transmitters that are implanted in live lake trout, which are then released back into the lake. The transmitters within the Judas fish send signals to telemetry stations situated throughout the lake, and help Park Service biologists identify thoroughfares the non-native fish use, as well as spawning waters and other commonly used areas. This helps biologists identify the best netting locations and the best areas to target lake trout eggs in the fall. Efforts on the latter front began in 2014Park Service biologists both electrified lake trout eggs and used suction to pull eggs out of the spawning cobble off of Carrington Island in the lake.

Were very grateful for the donation from Simms, said Dave Sweet, a TU volunteer who has spearheaded TUs work to build a strong telemetry network throughout Yellowstone Lake. Direct funding like this is very helpfuland we need more of it, frankly. It will buy some important new equipment that will help us remove lake trout and give our native cutthroat trout a fighting chance at recovery.

Trout Unlimited is the nations oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization, boasting more than 150,000 members from coast to coast. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and keep up with all of our work by reading our blog.

About Simms Fishing Products: Established in 1980, Montana-based Simms is the preeminent manufacturer of waders, outerwear and technical fishing apparel and accessories. Simms 65,000 square foot facility in Bozeman is the countrys only manufacturing facility for fishing waders. The full line of Simms gear is available at specialty and large format retailers across North America as well as For more information on Simms, please visit Media contact is Rich Hohne (406-922-1243 or