FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), with the assistance and support of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the United States Forest Service (USFS) has completed stocking Colorado’s native greenback cutthroat trout in Zimmerman Lake in Northern Colorado. This is the first re-introduction of the trout to their native range.
The fish stocked are a result of spawning efforts at both the CPW’s Poudre Hatchery and the USFWS’ Leadville National Fish Hatchery in 2012. There are approximately 3,200 fish reared from those efforts, 1,200 of which are now stocked at Zimmerman Lake. These fish are just over one-year old and will average about 4.” Around 1000 fish have also been moved to each of the two hatcheries for future brood stock.
Zimmerman Lake will be the only other wild population outside of the Bear Creek brood population itself and will begin to provide redundancy and security from fire, floods and drought that have been realized in the Pikes Peak area the past two years and could affect Bear Creek population.
“We are thrilled to finally be stocking Colorado’s native greenback cutthroat trout in its native waters,” said Doug Krieger…..”It’s been a long journey and much has been learned that will benefit native cutthroat trout conservation in Colorado.”
In 2012, a University of Colorado study found that Bear Creek located just west of Colorado Springs held the last remaining known wild population of greenback trout that were actually native to the South Platte River basin. In the late 1870′s some cutthroats from the South Platte basin were transplanted to Bear Creek, where they have existed for the past 130 years or so.
Since 1995, Zimmerman has been managed to produce native cutthroat broodstock and has become an important asset in Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s cutthroat trout conservation efforts.
The fish stocked in Zimmerman Lake this year will mature as three-year olds in 2016 when CPW anticipates having the first opportunity to attempt a wild spawning operation.
“The Zimmerman Lake greenback cutthroats will provide us with our first feedback on how well these fish do outside of Bear Creek,” said Ken Kehmeier,….”It is an exciting proposition to have these native fish back where they belong and we are excited to manage them for future generations.”
Additional greenback cutthroat trout introductions into the South Platte River basin are planned for the next five years.
The current regulations at Zimmerman Lake require fishing by flies and lures only and all fish have to be returned safely back to the water immediately. This regulation remains in effect and will be monitored closely for compliance.
For more news about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us
For more information about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us.