Thursday, October 22, 2009

Colorado Cutthroat Trout stage a Comeback

PRICE, UTAH--The Colorado River cutthroat trout is the only historically native trout species in the Colorado River Basin. The Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has been making efforts to preserve this native species and prevent its potential listing as threatened or endangered.

In 2000, DNA testing discovered a population of pure strain Colorado cutthroat trout in the White River near Soldier Summit. Following this crucial find, the DWR determined to preserve and propagate this pure blood strain.

A brood lake was needed where spawning could occur without hybridization from other trout species. Duck Fork Reservoir above the town of Ferron in Emery County was selected as the best water body for this purpose.

After all other trout had been removed, the pure strain Colorado cutthroats were transplanted from the White River. The first transplant occurred in 2003, followed by a second transplant in 2004. The Duck Fork Reservoir population was started with 850 fish from the White River.

Success has been realized over time. In June, approximately 64,000 eggs from Duck Fork Reservoir were collected. The eggs were fertilized on site and then taken to the Fountain Green Fish Hatchery. Since then, the hatchery successfully reared approximately 30,000 3-inch sized fish.

This October, 10,000 finger-sized cutthroats were replanted into Duck Fork Reservoir; another 10,000 were used to restock the White River, which provided the original stock for transplanting. The remaining fish will be stocked into Millsite Reservoir above the town of Ferron.

Native cutthroat trout are expected to thrive in Duck Fork Reservoir for years to come. Hundreds of thousands of eggs will become available for expanding the range of this species to drainages in southeastern Utah. The restoration will provide unique and exciting fishing opportunities for anglers and safeguard the species from potential endangerment or extinction.

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