Wednesday September 28, 2022


Greenback cutthroat trout, the state fish of Colorado that was once thought to be extinct, are now spawning in their native watershed, Gov. Jared Solis announced on Friday.

The state of Colorado has had “on-again, off-again” success trying to restore greenback cutthroat trout to their native range within the South Platte River watershed. A genetically pure population of the fish was found in Bear Creek on the shoulders of Pikes Peak in 2012 in the Arkansas River drainage — the fish were likely planted there more than a century ago by a mountain lodge owner to create a recreational fishery for visitors. Before that, other relict populations were located, and stocking efforts were underway as early as the early 2000s. Unfortunately, the brood stock for those earlier efforts turned out to be genetically tainted with Colorado River cutthroat trout ancestry.

But last week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced that the first-ever documented spawning of greenbacks from the genetically pure Bear Creek lineage has occurred in Herman Gulch west of Denver.

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