Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

It's a Cutthroat World Out There...

Recent Comments

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Syndicate

Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My AOL

FlyTalk
in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

July 04, 2009

It's a Cutthroat World Out There...

By Kirk Deeter

As this is the 4th of July, and a time to celebrate all things distinctly American, I ask this: How do you feel about cutthroat trout?  Maybe more to the point, how would you feel if, in order to save the existence of cutthroat trout, wildlife officials decidided to poison a river... killing an abundant population of rainbow trout, brown trout, and/or brook trout in the process, in order to save the cutthroats in their native habitat?

It happens. 

Truth is, a lot of those trout we've come to love and admire from coast to coast aren't "native" fish at all.  Browns? Introduced from Europe (German browns, and Loch Laven strains from Scotland).  Rainbows?  A Pacific Northwest species.  All of us steelheaders in the Great Lakes (and salmon fishers also) aren't catching native species.  We know that.

For that matter, all the tailwater trout junkies (myself certainly included) fishing the South Platte in Colorado, or the Madison in Montana, or Lees Ferry on the Colorado River in Arizona, or the Delaware in New York, or the White River in Arkansas, are reaping the rewards of artificial, manmade environments that happen to favor introduced species of trout.

Is that wrong? 

I don't necessarily think so.  But I also think there's something special about finding and catching a species that swam in American rivers before the time of Columbus.  And, by my book, it's worth doing what we can to keep them around.  Think about it... Lewis and Clark ascended the valley of the Missouri over 200 years ago... and they saw vast herds of bison on the land, and caught trout--cutthroat trout--by the bushel as they explored.  Sadly, the bison and the cutthroat have both been decimated to the point that they are now almost novelties...

Of course, if you argue on behalf of the cuttie, you almost have to do the same for other non-sportfish species like the humpback chub and pike minnow... all natives... all pressured to the brink by human manipulation of the environment. 

So what's it going to be?  Natural selection (including the influence of humans), or preservation at all costs?

I'm heading into the high country.  The backcountry of Colorado, where I hope to catch and experience the majesty of cutthroat trout with my friends from Trout Unlimited.  Truthfully, I'd trade 100 20-inch tailwater rainbows for just one 10-inch greenback cuttie.  But that's me.  What say you?

Deeter

 

Comments (15)

Top Rated
All Comments
from minigunner111 wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

hey 20 inch rainbows are fun do you live in colorado?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from minigunner111 wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

hey 20 inch rainbows are fun do you live in colorado?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Definitely agree on the cutthroat. If there's a chance of bringing the endangered ones back in their native rivers, great. Can't believe all the sub-species. How do you keep track of them all?

They have tried to reintroduce the grayling to Michigan. Always failed. A guy at MSU that is studying it again. Too bad they weren't ready when the last Pigeon River fish kill occurred (inadvertent private dam release for the 3rd time - there's a lawsuit pending this time) - would have been a good opportunity to try again.

By the way, brook trout are native to some Michigan waters. Quite appropriately, our state fish.

There's some incredible tailwater rainbows below Stagecoach reservoir. I ran into a lady who named each one. Of all things I caught a cutthroat just downstream.

Colorado high country in the summer with a fly rod and friends. I envy you.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from alabamahunter wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Living in the south, most of the fish are native. Largemouth and spotted bass, bream of various types, blue and channel catfish, crappie, etc... However, it is always a lot of fun to find a remote stream that contains redeye bass, and other various species found only in relatively cold creeks. They don't grow large and aren't always easy to find but redeye bass could very well be one of my favorite species to catch. The best way I have found to pursue them is to use a 1/32 oz. squirrel tail jig on an ultra-light rod. It is challenging but also rewarding. Not to mention the surroundings are normally beautiful.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Black bass aren't native to the Great Lakes either. To restock with native species would be, in almost all cases, an impossibility. We have a wonderfully, healthy environment today. Its also a worldwide environment. Carp, pheasants, brown trout, apple trees, its a new day. We have to do as the eagles and osprey and peregrines are doing and go with the flow. Peregrines eat pigeons and starlings, I guess we will have to be satisfied with rainbows and browns. I love cutthroats. I'm afraid they just can't out compete the non-natives in most of their former range though.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

If I'm not mistaken the cutthroat is the only true trout to America. Brookies are Char and Bows are Salmonids.

I think there should be a place for cutthroat just as there are still wild brook trout streams here in the East. I would hate to see the State of West Virginia start stocking my brook trout streams with bows and browns so I can easily understand why some would feel the same with cutthroat.

Unfortunately many of the rivers here in the East are too polluted or too warm to hold the original brook trout populations. I hope that's not a problem in the West.

I hope you enjoy your trip Deet. I had to nix my Hex hatch trip this year for work but I'll be out to CO in August and TenkaraUSA and I are hitting the Sierras for some good old fashion high mountain trout fishing next week.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

i all for cutthraot but to poison a whole system? seems a little extreme.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian W. Thair wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Habitat and species restoration are noble thoughts. With a whole stew of habitat changes, reversal isn't a simple "undo." However, we won't know until we try. For the sake of the lovely Cutt, yes, try to do it. Kill off every fox, rabbit, cane toad and brumbie in Australia? Not gonna happen.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 268bull wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Sure, it sounds great and a noble thing to do. Then it happens to your favorite river, which happens to be moments away from your driveway, thus convenient to you. Then your favorite ( save the river group ) decides that restricting baits makes good sense also. No more artificial baits, aaannd, only specific natural baits! You know, this would be better if it was fly fishing only. Oh, that eliminates you spinning fisherman. And don't forget hook makeup either. Then there's the spawn, all fishing is shut down till that's complete. Look, I rant no further. It is a noble thought, but needs to be done caustiously and slowly. I've seen it done here in Oregon and IMHO overzealously. It's taken the fun out of fishing for a lot of people and benefitted few.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

It's unacceptable to allow native species to be killed off because of our actions, so in this case, go for it. I take great pleasure in killing a whole boatload of lakers in cutthroat waters.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dyobcire wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

Hard to say one way or the other in all cases, as opposed to specific rivers, but I certainly treasure the westslope cutts in my part of Washington, and would consider them a priority to protect.

But you make a great point about the pikeminnow, I dont really know what to think about that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

Buckhunter - they are all salmonids or family Salmonidae. The char and brook along with many others are related under the genus Salvelinus or the "char". The bows, cutthroats, and about half the salmon species are related under the genus Oncorhyncus. The brown along with about the other half of salmon species are under the genus Salmo. Sorry if that sounds nit picky but I had to learn way to many latin names in college to not correct it.
They have tried in some areas here in Appalachia to rotenone streams and kill off browns and rainbows to make way for native southern strain brookies where feasible. It has worked to some extent, but as other have pointed out much of their former habitat in now unsuitable. If the little brookies can only be restored to high mountain streams through it will be somewhat of a feat. It will also means you can still catch big bows and browns at lower elevations and have some native fish, diversity, and all that good stuff higher on the mountain.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

I hate wasteful spending, period! It takes a lot of effort to fix a stream in order to get it to hold cutties. And if you take a look at everything else going on today. It's a waste of life to poison a stream just to create habitat for a particular species of fish. If Coors dumps waste into the river, they effectivly have to pay for the animals they kill, but it's alright for certain other folks to do the same. I see the same thing happen all the time on animal planet, folks drop off unwanted pets, perfectly good pets, just for them to be euthenized. While officers are taking in sick dogs and rehabilitating them at the cost of unknown dollars so we can watch the feel good story involved with a down and out animal overcomming adversity and the bad guys to win a spot in a home with a great family. I feel the same about the cutties. How long after they come back will it be before two brookies get in the stream and start wreaking havok on their habitat. And make sure those DOW officers do their DNA testing to make sure they get the right strain if they are going to kill off and waste un-counted fish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

Love the Cuts, posted a couple pics of 2 we caught (and released) on the Lochsa in Idaho last Friday....Enjoy, native cuts in pristine clear clean moutnain water, nothing better....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

I understand wanting to preserve cuthroat trout but in doing so, killing an abundant amount of other trout seems to be a little too much of a cost for what they want to achieve.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from MLH wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Definitely agree on the cutthroat. If there's a chance of bringing the endangered ones back in their native rivers, great. Can't believe all the sub-species. How do you keep track of them all?

They have tried to reintroduce the grayling to Michigan. Always failed. A guy at MSU that is studying it again. Too bad they weren't ready when the last Pigeon River fish kill occurred (inadvertent private dam release for the 3rd time - there's a lawsuit pending this time) - would have been a good opportunity to try again.

By the way, brook trout are native to some Michigan waters. Quite appropriately, our state fish.

There's some incredible tailwater rainbows below Stagecoach reservoir. I ran into a lady who named each one. Of all things I caught a cutthroat just downstream.

Colorado high country in the summer with a fly rod and friends. I envy you.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Black bass aren't native to the Great Lakes either. To restock with native species would be, in almost all cases, an impossibility. We have a wonderfully, healthy environment today. Its also a worldwide environment. Carp, pheasants, brown trout, apple trees, its a new day. We have to do as the eagles and osprey and peregrines are doing and go with the flow. Peregrines eat pigeons and starlings, I guess we will have to be satisfied with rainbows and browns. I love cutthroats. I'm afraid they just can't out compete the non-natives in most of their former range though.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

i all for cutthraot but to poison a whole system? seems a little extreme.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from minigunner111 wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

hey 20 inch rainbows are fun do you live in colorado?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from minigunner111 wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

hey 20 inch rainbows are fun do you live in colorado?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from alabamahunter wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Living in the south, most of the fish are native. Largemouth and spotted bass, bream of various types, blue and channel catfish, crappie, etc... However, it is always a lot of fun to find a remote stream that contains redeye bass, and other various species found only in relatively cold creeks. They don't grow large and aren't always easy to find but redeye bass could very well be one of my favorite species to catch. The best way I have found to pursue them is to use a 1/32 oz. squirrel tail jig on an ultra-light rod. It is challenging but also rewarding. Not to mention the surroundings are normally beautiful.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

If I'm not mistaken the cutthroat is the only true trout to America. Brookies are Char and Bows are Salmonids.

I think there should be a place for cutthroat just as there are still wild brook trout streams here in the East. I would hate to see the State of West Virginia start stocking my brook trout streams with bows and browns so I can easily understand why some would feel the same with cutthroat.

Unfortunately many of the rivers here in the East are too polluted or too warm to hold the original brook trout populations. I hope that's not a problem in the West.

I hope you enjoy your trip Deet. I had to nix my Hex hatch trip this year for work but I'll be out to CO in August and TenkaraUSA and I are hitting the Sierras for some good old fashion high mountain trout fishing next week.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian W. Thair wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Habitat and species restoration are noble thoughts. With a whole stew of habitat changes, reversal isn't a simple "undo." However, we won't know until we try. For the sake of the lovely Cutt, yes, try to do it. Kill off every fox, rabbit, cane toad and brumbie in Australia? Not gonna happen.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 268bull wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

Sure, it sounds great and a noble thing to do. Then it happens to your favorite river, which happens to be moments away from your driveway, thus convenient to you. Then your favorite ( save the river group ) decides that restricting baits makes good sense also. No more artificial baits, aaannd, only specific natural baits! You know, this would be better if it was fly fishing only. Oh, that eliminates you spinning fisherman. And don't forget hook makeup either. Then there's the spawn, all fishing is shut down till that's complete. Look, I rant no further. It is a noble thought, but needs to be done caustiously and slowly. I've seen it done here in Oregon and IMHO overzealously. It's taken the fun out of fishing for a lot of people and benefitted few.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 4 years 41 weeks ago

It's unacceptable to allow native species to be killed off because of our actions, so in this case, go for it. I take great pleasure in killing a whole boatload of lakers in cutthroat waters.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dyobcire wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

Hard to say one way or the other in all cases, as opposed to specific rivers, but I certainly treasure the westslope cutts in my part of Washington, and would consider them a priority to protect.

But you make a great point about the pikeminnow, I dont really know what to think about that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

Buckhunter - they are all salmonids or family Salmonidae. The char and brook along with many others are related under the genus Salvelinus or the "char". The bows, cutthroats, and about half the salmon species are related under the genus Oncorhyncus. The brown along with about the other half of salmon species are under the genus Salmo. Sorry if that sounds nit picky but I had to learn way to many latin names in college to not correct it.
They have tried in some areas here in Appalachia to rotenone streams and kill off browns and rainbows to make way for native southern strain brookies where feasible. It has worked to some extent, but as other have pointed out much of their former habitat in now unsuitable. If the little brookies can only be restored to high mountain streams through it will be somewhat of a feat. It will also means you can still catch big bows and browns at lower elevations and have some native fish, diversity, and all that good stuff higher on the mountain.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

I hate wasteful spending, period! It takes a lot of effort to fix a stream in order to get it to hold cutties. And if you take a look at everything else going on today. It's a waste of life to poison a stream just to create habitat for a particular species of fish. If Coors dumps waste into the river, they effectivly have to pay for the animals they kill, but it's alright for certain other folks to do the same. I see the same thing happen all the time on animal planet, folks drop off unwanted pets, perfectly good pets, just for them to be euthenized. While officers are taking in sick dogs and rehabilitating them at the cost of unknown dollars so we can watch the feel good story involved with a down and out animal overcomming adversity and the bad guys to win a spot in a home with a great family. I feel the same about the cutties. How long after they come back will it be before two brookies get in the stream and start wreaking havok on their habitat. And make sure those DOW officers do their DNA testing to make sure they get the right strain if they are going to kill off and waste un-counted fish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

Love the Cuts, posted a couple pics of 2 we caught (and released) on the Lochsa in Idaho last Friday....Enjoy, native cuts in pristine clear clean moutnain water, nothing better....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

I understand wanting to preserve cuthroat trout but in doing so, killing an abundant amount of other trout seems to be a little too much of a cost for what they want to achieve.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

bmxbiz-fs