Now comprised of 1500 members, CCTU is also the largest TU chapter in Colorado. The cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) is a fish species of the family Salmonidae native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean, Rocky Mountains, and Great Basin in North America. Historical accounts discuss CRCT as large as seven pounds inhabiting the larger rivers of the Upper Colorado system, but the majority of these lacustrine and fluvial populations were extirpated because of dams, overfishing, interbreeding, and habitat loss. Like all trout, Colorado River cutthroats require cold, clear, unobstructed water – a more and more scarce commodity. Since 1856. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources took this video of these fish that were released into the creek as part of an ongoing native trout restoration project. Spots are large, and uniformly distributed on the body and caudal fin, both above and below the lateral line. Numbers of Colorado River cutthroats were reduced through hybridization and competition with introduced non-native trout, like the brook trout and rainbow trout. Copyright 2021, The Orvis Company Inc. Toby Mourning, manager of the Durango fish hatchery for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, takes eggs from a rare San Juan cutthroat trout. The upper reaches of Hermosa Creek boast the largest continuous stretch of native Colorado River cutthroat trout in the state thanks to a dedicated conservation effort that dates back to … As was the case with many cutthroat subspecies, however, the arrival of European settlers in the West led to massive … Between 2007 and 2020, the Western Native Trout Initiative has contributed $484,876 to 15 projects benefiting Colorado River Cutthroat Trout. The Colorado River Cutthroat historically occupied most cool water habitats of the Colorado River watersheds in Colorado, southern Wyoming, eastern Utah, extreme northwestern New Mexico and northeastern Arizona. CCTU is the oldest TU chapter in Colorado and was the just the seventh chapter established nationally. Rivers fed by dam releases, or “tailwaters” will stay ice free all winter, and are always a good place to search for feeding trout. The relative scarcity of food at high altitudes means that they aren’t all that choosy, as well. All documented US populations . As trout get ready to spawn, their colors tend to get brighter. Colorado River Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhyncus clarkii pleuriticus) – Orvis News - FishingsBest. CCTU is the oldest TU chapter in Colorado and was the just the seventh chapter established nationally. Green Back Cutthroat Trout: Rare; found in small mountain streams and lakes along Colorado’s Front Range. Due to completion with other species and habitat degradation it is estimated that this cutthroat occupies less than 5% of its historical … Read the 2006 Colorado River Cutthroat Trout Conservation Agreement, Click here to read the 2010 Colorado River Cutthroat Trout Rangewide Assessment, Read more about Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s management of Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, Read more about Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Colorado River Cutthroat Trout Conservation, Click here for more information about Utah Division of Wildlife Resource’s Colorado River Cutthroat Trout Conservation Strategy, Read more about Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Cutthroat Trout Research. However, to the surprise of Coloradans, the fish made a strong comeback in the 1960s – or did it? Considered one of the more beautiful trout in North America, the Colorado River cutthroat trout (Oncorhyncus clarkii pleuriticus) once inhabited the high-elevation streams and lakes of the Green and Colorado River basins in parts of five states. Some of the better known species include the Bonneville, Lahontan, Rio Grande, Colorado River, Snake River, Greenback, and Yellowstone to name a few. Colorado River Cutthroat Historically, Colorado River Cutthroat Trout were found throughout portions of the Colorado River drainage in Colorado, southern Wyoming, eastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, and northwestern New Mexico. The Colorado River Cutt is one of the most colorful, and will often exhibit a bright golden yellow body with a brassy green back and an orange tint along the belly. In fact, they were the only trout found in those drainages. Any cutthroat trout caught while angling streams that are tributaries to the Green or Colorado rivers will be accepted as a CRCT for the Utah Native Cutthroat Slam. Where the fish are still found, anglers prize CRCT for their willingness to eat flies, the beauty of their high-country habitat, and their spectacular colors. My love of cutthroat trout has definitely spilled over to my passion: fly fishing. Presently, all populations of Colorado River cutthroat trout are found in habitats over 7,000 feet elevation, and in Wyoming above 8,000 feet. 9th in the a.m. Colorado series: Colorado River Cutthroat Trout Colorado River cutthroat on the fly. Cutthroat trout are under siege from a number of threats; the most serious are habitat loss and degradation, caused by dams, livestock grazing, roads, logging, mining, water withdrawal, and increasingly, climate change. Hermosa Creek Trail is an 18.4 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Durango that features beautiful wildflowers and is rated as moderate. These fish have taken me across the West and to date, I have angled Colorado River, Bonneville, Bear River, Yellowstone, Fine Spot, West Slope, Coastal, Greenback, Lahontan (and if you are a splitter, also Humboldt), Rio Grande, and Paiute cutthroat trout in their native ranges. In sections of freestone river that stay ice free the angler can capitalize on the trout's lethargic winter nature, by concentrating on fishing calmer, deeper water. To forestall listing, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming entered a three-state agreement to lead an aggressive reintroduction program. Makes me want to go catch some CRCT! These fish have taken me across the West and to date, I have angled Colorado River, Bonneville, Bear River, Yellowstone, Fine Spot, West Slope, Coastal, Greenback, Lahontan (and if you are a splitter, also Humboldt), Rio Grande, and Paiute cutthroat trout in their native ranges. The Unusual Story About Saving the Colorado … Colorado River cutthroat trout requires cold mountain streams or lakes that can provide adequate habitat during various stages of its life history, including spawning, rearing, adult and overwintering. Colorado’s State Fish, Greenback Cutthroat Trout are native to the Arkansas and South Platte River basins in Colorado’s Front Range mountains, and a few South Platte tributaries in extreme southeastern Wyoming.It was listed as endangered in 1973 but downlisted to threatened when a recovery plan began in 1978. The effort to restore Colorado River cutthroat trout in Hermosa Creek dates back to the early 1990s when wildlife managers used a natural waterfall on the creek’s east fork as a protective barrier. ©2019 Western Native Trout Initiative. This beautiful, feisty Trout was thought to be extinct in the 1930s. Their coloration varies from population to population, but they typically have greenish-brassy colored backs, which transition to a orangish-yellow or bronze-gold color along the sides. Like all trout, Colorado River cutthroats require cold, clear, unobstructed water – a more and more scarce commodity. In lower-lying rivers and lakes, however, the trout can grow to several pounds. Rio Grande cutthroat trout still can be found in streams that drain into the San Luis Valley, while a lineage that used to call the San Juan basin … The Cutthroat Chapter of Trout Unlimited (CCTU) was formed in the South Denver metro area in the early 1960s. Glad conservation efforts allow anglers a unique opportunity to catch a beautiful, native trout. Some of the better known species include the Bonneville, Lahontan, Rio Grande, Colorado River, Snake River, Greenback, and Yellowstone to name a few. This June 17, 2018, photo provided by Colorado Parks and Wildlife shows a Colorado River cutthroat trout that officials identified as a unique type or "genetic lineage" that was thought to be extinct. The Colorado River cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki pleuriticus) is a subspecies of cutthroat trout native only to the Green and Colorado River basins, which are west of the Continental Divide. All photos below are courtesy of Kevin Rogers. The Bear Creek referenced in the press release is located in Colorado Springs but references the greenback cutthroat trout, which is the official Colorado state fish. The Cutthroat Chapter of Trout Unlimited (CCTU) was formed in the South Denver metro area in the early 1960s. The official state fish of Colorado is the infamous Greenback Cutthroat Trout. Cutthroat Trout Cutthroat trout encompass large group of related salmonoids that populated most of the western United States. The cutthroat-slam programs of both Wyoming and Utah require anglers to land a Colorado River cutthroat to complete the collection of native fish species. If you’re heading out for CRCT, bring a box loaded with ants, beetle, and grasshoppers, as well as traditional mayfly and caddisfly patterns. They are opportunistic feeders, focusing mostly on aquatic and terrestrial insects, although larger specimens will eat smaller fish. We arrived at 7 a.m., quickly assembled our rods, did a little filming, then hit the stream. Greenback Cutthroat. Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki) January 2007 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Management Leaflet Number 47 Wyoming Bureau of Land Management Subspecies of the cutthroat trout including the lahon-tan cutthroat (top), westslope cutthroat (middle), and Colorado River cutthroat (bottom). The original range of the CRCT was an inverted U shape, comprising the drainages of the Colorado and Snake River and included large sections of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico, along with a small sliver in northeastern Arizona. Historically, the Colorado River cutthroat's range included portions of large rivers, such Tactics and FliesBecause they live mostly at high altitudes, where the growing season is short, CRCT often don’t grow very large, and a twelve incher is a trophy. In fact, they were the only trout found in those drainages. Numbers of Colorado River cutthroats were reduced through hybridization and competition with introduced non-native trout, like the brook trout and rainbow trout. In sections of freestone river that stay ice free the angler can capitalize on the trout's lethargic winter nature, by concentrating on fishing calmer, deeper water. To compound the problem, men replaced the dwindling numbers of CRCT with other species, such as brook, brown, and rainbow trout, which outcompeted the natives, driving the CRCT from much of its range. The CRCT is also one of the subspecies of cutthroats that make up the Wyoming Cutt-Slam, the Utah Cutthroat Slam, and the Western Native Trout Challenge. Native trout in Colorado are of three cutthroat subspecies: Colorado River, Rio Grande, and Greenback. CRCT seem especially fond of terrestrial patterns, perhaps because high-altitude streams often lack abundant food sources. In my job I work primarily with native cutthroat trout, so I'm constantly thinking about cutthroat trout and projects that will improve their populations. Currently, however, Colorado River Cutthroat trout occupy approximately 16 percent of its historic range, primarily in isolated, small headwater streams. After Western settlement in the late 1880s, the Colorado River cutthroat trout were fished to the point of extinction. The range of these fish has decreased due to a variety of habitat factors, and extensive recovery efforts are underway by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife. On our guided fly fishing outings we regularly catch feisty rainbow trout, native cutthroat trout, including several subspecies (Snake River Cutthroat Trout, Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, Rio Grand Cutthroat Trout, and Greenback Cutthroat Trout) as well as huge cut-bows, the elusive brown trout, and beautiful brook trout. Cutthroat trout are under siege from a number of threats; the most serious are habitat loss and degradation, caused by dams, livestock grazing, roads, logging, mining, water withdrawal, and increasingly, climate change. Now comprised of 1500 members, CCTU is … ReintroductionThe upper reaches of Hermosa Creek—north of Durango, Colorado—serve as a good case study of a CRCT recovery program. An important fluvial population survives in the Little Snake River drainage, where the fish swim up into tributaries as soon as runoff subsides. In the 1990s, the USFWS considered listing CRCT as “endangered,” but this would have created restrictive protections in states where the species remained. Any cutthroat trout caught while angling streams that are tributaries to the Green or Colorado rivers will be accepted as a CRCT for the Utah Native Cutthroat Slam. The Greenback cutthroats inhabited Eastern Slope rivers and is of special interest to RMF because the chapter’ home waters are the site of major Greenback restoration and protection projects. Although the three fish pictured above are all Cutthroat Trout, they are remarkably different. Wood’s lab has worked with Colorado Parks and Wildlife on multiple different fish projects, including when in 2007, in conjunction with University of Colorado post-doc Jessica Metcalf, it discovered that CPW’s stock of supposed greenback cutthroat trout — which happens to be Colorado’s state fish — were actually Colorado River cutthroat trout. Toby Mourning, manager of the Durango fish hatchery for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, takes eggs from a rare San Juan cutthroat trout. Habitat changes and non-native species have restricted Colorado River Cutthroat Trout to about 13% of its native range in Wyoming. My love of cutthroat trout has definitely spilled over to my passion: fly fishing. Cutthroat Trout. Caught the Colorado Cutthroats in SW Wyoming. Settlers to the region in the late 1800s found the fish to be a valuable food source, which resulted in overfishing that decimated fish populations. 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