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Trouts Journal

Q and A: Guess The Scientific Sub Species

Ivan Orsic / Jun 21, 2012

Q: Guess the Scientific Sub Species

The staff at Trout’s had a chance to explore a few headwater creeks this weekend. We were lucky enough to run into this rare and protected Colorado native. Any guesses on the scientific name?

A: oncorhynchus clarkii pleuriticus (AKA: Colorado River Cutthroat Trout)

The Colorado River Cutthroat Trout is a subspecies of the more common cutthroat trout, of which there are 14 recognized sub species. The Colorado River Cutthroat is native to the Green and Colorado River basins, just west of the Continental Divide. These fish were once very common across this area of Colorado but today scientists believe they occupy only 13% of their historic habitat. Due to the waning population size and decreased range of these fish, the Colorado River cut is designated as a “species of special concern” in Colorado and resources have been dedicated by the state for conservation efforts. The Conservation Agreement for Colorado River Cutthroat is and consortium of federal and state agencies to provide a long term plan to help reduce and/or eliminate the threats to the the Colorado River cut. Trout Unlimited also has a team who are chartered to protect their habitat and thus their future. These fish are not necessarily easy to find, but when you do they will crush a dry fly with reckless abandon. The Colorado River Cutthroat is a rare and valuable state treasure and should be caught, handled, and released with care. For more information about this sub species check out this site.

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