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Colorado: Some cutthroat trout mysteries solved

What next for Colorado’s state fish?

A Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Photo courtesy Andrew Todd.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — After some genetic sleuthing and intensive scrutiny of historic fish-stocking records, a team of federal, state and university biologists said they’ve pinned down Colorado’s greenback cutthroat trout to just a single population — about 750 fish, all living in a four-mile reach of Bear Creek, a small Arkansas River tributary in the mountains west of Colorado Springs.

Greenback cutthroats — the Colorado state fish — were originally native to the South Platte drainage, but now appear to survive only in that single population outside of the species’ native range.

Biologists say native cutthroats in Colorado declined because of  pollution, overfishing and stocking of native and non-native species of trout. Continue reading

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