“Once Considered Extinct” Greenback Trout Naturally Reproducing in Colorado

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October 2022’s biggest trout-related story coming out of Colorado was news of a new state record brook trout – a catch that supplanted the state’s longest-tenured record.

In September, however, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced that the greenback trout – a species considered to be on the verge of extinction despite a decade of intensive efforts – is naturally reproducing in northcentral Colorado’s Herman Gulch.

Considering that the species was “once considered extinct,” this is a significant win for the CPW. The press release notes that in 1937, the greenback trout, along with the yellowfin, were thought to have been wiped out due to a mixture of mining, fishing pressure, and predation.

Colorado governor Jared Polis told CPW, “despite more than a decade of setbacks and frustrations, CPW staff worked as a team across departments and across regions, stayed focused on the goal and now we gave [sic] this great news. It’s a great day.” 

The excitement was well-received when the Colorado Parks and Wildlife noted on its Facebook page that “🚨 THIS IS HUGE 🚨 GREENBACK CUTTHROAT TROUT ARE NATURALLY REPRODUCING IN COLORADO!”

After more than a decade of intensive efforts to rescue the greenback cutthroat trout from the brink of extinction, we have discovered that the state fish is naturally reproducing in Herman Gulch, one of the first places we stocked it in its native South Platte River drainage. The longterm survival and natural reproduction of the greenbacks discovered is a major milestone for our recovery efforts and a huge win for conservation. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (via Facebook)

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