CPW begins spawning operations for cutthroat trout lineage rescued from the wildfire ravaged Hayden Creek watershed

Aerial photograph of Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery. Photo via Western State Colorado University.

CBS Denver:

The first batch of semen and eggs have been harvested from 158 unique cutthroat trout that now thrive the Roaring Judy Hatchery in Gunnison.

They lived near Canon City a year ago.

In July of 2016, The Hayden Pass Fire started from a lightning strike. In days, with the help of strong winds and dry conditions, it evolved into a 26-square-mile event that forced the evacuation of 140 homes…

Workers from Colorado Parks & Wildlife and the United States Forest Service made what was called “a desperate dash” to Hayden Creek. They waded into the water, temporarily immobilized the fish with a small electric shock, and netted them.

Nearly 200 fish were caught.

They may be the last survivors of a specific species of cutthroat first discovered in the late 1800s.

Ichthyologist David Starr Jordan collected a pair of trout specimens in 1889 from Twin Lakes, near Leadville, according to the CPW. Today, those specimens reside at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

In 1996, CPW biologists discovered the Hayden Creek cutthroat contain unique genes matching those of the museum specimens.

Of the nearly 200 trout rescued from the creek, 36 were sent to Newlin Creek near Canon City in hopes they would reproduce naturally.

The other 158 were taken to the Roaring Judy Hatchery where, June 12th, spawning operators began.

Seth Firestone, hatchery manager, said roe was stripped from 10 female cutthroat and mixed with milt from 10 males the first day. Action continued June 19 and the staff is hopeful for more success the week of June 26…

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