Colorado Fisherman Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I caught some cutthroats out of a high mountain lake last summer. There were definately two different types of cutts, but I'm not sure what kind they were. Here's some pics: I guess the first two to be colorado river cutts, the bottom two to be rio grande cutts. The first 4 fish were caught out of the same lake, the last pic is a greenback just for reference.


Colorado River Cutt?


Colorado River Cutt?


Rio Grande Cutt?


Rio?


Greenback


The lake with mystery fish
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
513 Posts
The forst two have some rainbow genes in them. This is very apparent on the first fish by the spotting on the head or skull of the fish. Any cutthroat species with pure genetic lines will not have any spotting on the head. This is a trait of rainbows.

Genetically Rio Grande's and Colorado River Cutthroats are very closely related. It is almost impossible to tell them apart by just looking at them. You have to get into specific scale counts along the lateral line, or how many pyloric caeca they have.

The DOW has done a pretty good job over the years about what species of cutthroat they stock or reintroduce/manage for. For example greenbacks are only in the S. Platte and Arkansas drainages. Colorado River Cutthroats only in the Colorado River drainages, and Rio Grande only in ....

Figure out what drainage you lake is in, and I will bet the cuttroat subspecies is correct.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Wow, great info - thanks! I guess that these "cuttbows" aren't like the ones that I'm used to seeing. I believe the cutbows stocked by the DOW are snake river cutt/bow crosses. They're still fun to catch, whatever they are!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
513 Posts
I do not know if the DOW stocks cuttbows. I just figured they were naturally occuring.

You could also notice that the greenback and fish #4 are very similar if #4 was in seasonal spawning colors like the greenback.

The fish in your pictures still look like they have alot of cutthroat in them. It could be that the fish in #1 had a grandmother, who's grandfather was a rainbow. Anyway something like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,509 Posts
Thanks for the info from the ClackMiester!...
 
I

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
ClackaRam Those arent the only places with greenback cutthroats and also yes the DOW does stock cuttbows not very many places though. Nice fish Basshunter looks like a good day on the water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
513 Posts
Irishman- Guaranteed that Greenbacks are only in the South Platte and Ark drainage's.

What other waters are cutbows stocked into if you do not mind sharing.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,399 Posts
I know cutbows are stocked 11 mile and spinney
 
M

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
well, im not sure what drainage you would call it, but rocky mtn nat park is loaded with greenbacks, trying to repopulate it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
935 Posts
Even experts cannot determine whether Rio Grande, Colorado River, and Greenback cutthroats (the only trout native to Native/Endemic to Colorado, incidently) simply by looking at the fish.  If they know where they came from, they can know based on that.  Otherwise, the variation in appearance and the other characteristics usually used to determine differences among trout that they overlap among the three subspecies, and so location is everything.

Several attempts have been made to find genetic differences as well, but only the most recent have been successful, because they finally selected the right genes to look at (genes that are consistently different among the three species.

It's also possible that you do have various stages of hybridization in the lake, if there are rainbow and cutthroat trout, and some of your hybrids are second or third generation (rainbowXcutthroat hybrids are fertile and spawn with the parent species), while some are more recent, or by chance have more rainbow genes in them.  Your first pictures looks like a fish with some rainbow trout influence.  The third and fourth look like they have more cutthroat in them.

Further, it is not true that no pure cutthroat has spots on it's head. I can show you lots of pictures of pure greenbacks (verified pure population) and there is so much variation in spotting pattern, that you cannot use spots or coloration as a reliable guide to differentiate species.

I've been researching Colorado cutthroats for my graduate degree for four years, now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
391 Posts
So how do i tell if the fish im going to harvest is a cutbow or a greenback?I catch a lot of what i thought were greenbacks in the indian peaks wilderness area(mostly above eldora ski area).There are no signs there and i see a fair amount of harvest up there.Im a catch and release guy,but if these are greenies than they should put some signs saying that those are greenbacks and should be catch and release only.I just see alot of gray area on this subject.
                                 
           
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
I agree lynmack, with the catch and release of cutthroats in Indian Peaks. Most of those lakes take quite a hike to get to and are very small. I fish Woodland and Skyscraper, and although I don't know the stocking shedules for those lakes, I'm sure it can't be too often. I am pretty sure though, from the looks of your picture, that you are catching a species of cutthroat, and not cutbows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
935 Posts
Cuttbows are not protected. Only fish that have been verified to some level of genetic purity as cutthroats are. In most cases, these pure fish are found only above some natural or artificial barrier that prevents nonnative fish from moving upstream, and so are the only fish you will find in the waters where you can catch them. Most these waters are closed to fishing, but some are catch and release, and this should be noted in the fishing regulations. In some cases, the fishing regulations are not explicit enough to know. For instance, where a stream has a barrier one mile up, cutthroats only above the barrier, and a mixture of trout below, the regulations may only say: "All cutthroat trout must be released unharmed immediately" or something like that. In these cases, you do find pure natives below the falls, as some fish move downstream. These fish are technically protected, but this is where the gray area is. Most of the pure populations are kept that way due to isolation above barriers and to either no fishing or C&R regulations. It is largely understood that some of these fish will move downstream, and may be harvested unknowingly by anglers (technically illegal).

The DOW also doesn't put signs in many places, because there are those who would sabbotage their greenback restoration efforts by killing the native fish or by introducing nonnative trout. Not everyone appreciates our native fish heritage. Some just want to catch and keep fish everywhere possible.

One of my favorite greenack streams is packed with thousands of fish, but none of the anglers I have ever run into have known that EVERY fish they catch there is a greenback cutthroat. Even when they know they are cutthroats, they are surprised to learn they are greenbacks. Because the regulations say merely that they must release all cutthroat trout, and there are no informational signs, many fish are harvested illegally, there. Fortunately, the population is large, so it can take a little bit of such pressure, but I still don't like to see the harvest.

It looks as though Greenbacks will be considered for delisting in the coming decade, and if delisted the state will have more freedom to manage them and will probably begin to allow some harvest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
391 Posts
Thanks Cutthroat,but still hard to define whether these are greenbacks or not.My understanding is that (snake river excluded)if the cutts are on the east slope they are greenbacks,west they are colo river cutts.Where i fish im only a mile from the divide,climb over the crest and Granby is on that side.Also i read that they took the greenbacks off of endangered so they could do testing and hatchery work,i read that the population wasn't that much more but there hands tied if they were under endangered status.Thanks for the great info!!I have learned alot from you and clakaram on this subject.

                                       lyn
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top