Greenbacks Return Home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by allynkratz on July 14, 2016 in Slideshow
On July 12, 2016 Don Logelin and Allyn Kratz were honored to be one of the few tasked with the job of backpacking the very rare Colorado Greenback Cutthroat Trout into the Lost Creek Wilderness Area.
These ~600 Greenbacks from the Class of 2015 had been slated for placement into another hatchery, however a problem arose and the decision was made to place them in this Wildlife area early. Rock Creek was scheduled to receive individuals from the Class of 2016 in September.
A last minute phone call from Jeff Spohn, CPW Biologist caused us to move out quickly in order to participate in this very special event. This is the very first population of Greenbacks to be place back into their home range for the purpose of becoming a self sustaining population.
These ~600 indiduals were made up of a combination of parentage: Leadville Hatchery X Leadville Hatchery and Wild X Leadville Hatchery Trout. Each year milt is collected from Bear Creek males to use in fertilizing hatchery created eggs in order to increase the genetic diversity of the resulting trout.
The Hatchery truck drove into the Wilderness area as far as it was possible and from that point the trout needed to be backpacked into their new home.
Each backpack of trout were hiked into a different location on the stream so as to increase their chances of survival.
Twenty trout were placed in a double plastic back, Oxygen was added and then sealed. These bags were then placed into the back packs to be transported by human mules to the location of their new home. Each location was the distance it takes the water to flow in 15 minutes of time to provide for separation and reduce competition.
Rock Creek is much larger and much more fertile than the only other wild location in which these fish are found, Bear Creek. Soon after we released these trout into the stream, they could be observed catching insects right off the surface. These trout are destine to grow large and strong and will provide some future angler the thrill of a lifetime.
These trout were beautiful with the light overall color, greenish blue back and red slash on their throat.
It has been reported that the cousins of these trout in Lake Zimmerman have grown to over 16″ at age three.
Once the trout were transported up the stream to their release point, the plastic bag was removed from the backpack and placed into the stream. This will allow the temperature of the trout and the water in the bag to reach equality. Water from the stream was then added to the bag to begin that acclimation. Then the moment arrived when the bag was slowly upended to allow the trout to leave the bag and enter their new home. The site selected for this release was an area of slower water to allow the trout as much advantage to this change as possible. This also allowed us as observers to watch the trout explore and begin to feed on the native insects.