The introductions of nonnative trout species has been identified as the biggest factor in the decline of RGCT in New Mexico. The Department releases an average of 300,000 cutthroat—mostly small fry—per year, Jacobson noted. And in the case of native trout, we need to work towards stocking them more and nonnative trout less. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has dedicated significant resources toward improving the conservation status of RGCT. The Rio Grande cutthroat was the first trout documented in the New World. I think it would be fun to take a trip to the Valles Caldera to fly fish for the Rio Grande cutthroat. Rio Grande cutthroat have the distinction of being the southern most subspecies of cutthroat trout. Rainbow trout probably were stocked in McKittrick Creek in the early 1900s when the Game, Fish and Oyster Commission of Texas was actively pursuing a rainbow trout stocking program throughout the state. Restoring RGCT to this area will both improve their conservation status and provide unique angling opportunities. Between 2007 and 2020, the Western Native Trout Initiative has provided $692,945 in funding to 24 projects to benefit Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout. The Rio Grande cutthroat trout once ranged over much of the upper Rio Grande basin in New Mexico and southern Colorado, according to Craig Springer, fisheries biologist for USFWS in Santa Fe. Brook trout can be caught at Cabresto Lake and the nearby streams. This beautiful trout is considered a minor subspecies of the Yellowstone cutthroat and is native to the Rio Grande, Canadian and Pecos River drainages of New Mexico and Colorado. Many fish commonly display vibrant red coloration along their lower flanks and all RGCT possess a distinctive red-orange slash along their jawline. READ the 2013 Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Conservation Agreement, Download this brochure about Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout by clicking on the link below. View the press release here. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Jicarilla-Apache Nation, the Mescalero-Apache Nation, and the Taos Pueblo tribe and conservation organizations such as the Western Native Trout Initiative and Trout Unlimited has collaborated to work on range-wide protection plans and completed numerous conservation projects for the species. The Gila trout is going to be tricky because I have little experience in that neck-of-the-woods. Rio Grande: Stream flow at the Taos Junction Bridge Monday morning was 167 cfs. Volunteers and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish stock the Rio Grande with Rio Grande Cutthroat trout. Depending on the experience an angler is after, one can day-trip from the truck or turn their search for RGCT into a remote wilderness experience. This finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R2-ES-2014-0042. Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout. READ MORE about New Mexico Game and Fish Department’s efforts to conserve Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout. rio grande gorge stocked with rio grande cutthroat trout TAOS – Department of Game and Fish personnel plan to stock the Rio Grande Gorge with almost 10,000 Rio Grande cutthroat trout March 24. of Game and Fish, U.S. In addition, RGCT from Seven Spring Hatchery are frequently stocked throughout the state to provide additional angling opportunities. (Provided by Colorado Fish and Wildlife) READ MORE more about Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s efforts to conserve Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout. Osie Samie. Where can anglers currently fish for Rio Grande cutthroat trout (RGCT)? The cutthroat's medley of colors and spots make it one of the most cherished fish among Colorado anglers. Unfortunately, RGCT currently occupy only 12% of their historic distribution due to interactions with nonnative trout species and widespread habitat loss. Competition with non-native trout, coupled with habitat loss, now limits the imperiled native trout to less than 10 percent of its original range. The Rio Grande cutthroat was the first trout to be discovered in North America by Europeans and was first described in 1541 by Spaniards crossing the southwest in search of gold. Fishing for trout was fair using small attractor dry flies. The historic range of Rio Grande cutthroat trout has been reduced over the last 150 years due to many landscape changes, including drought, water infrastructure, habitat changes, hybridization with rainbow trout and other species of cutthroat trout, and competition from brown trout and brook trout. Genetically pure populations of this rare native trout … It was stocked Dec. 29 with 515 rainbow trout and stocked again Jan. 5 with 546 rainbow trout.There should be plenty of trout to be caught now that the ice is safe for fishing. This project has increased the current distribution of RGCT by 12% and reclaimed 2% of their historic distribution since beginning in 2002. Rio Grande Cutthroat. After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, the U.S. Many RGCT populations in New Mexico are managed as “Special Trout Waters”. Current and historic distribution of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout (click for larger image). Fish and Wildlife Service Determines ESA Protection for the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout is Not Warranted. 3:51. The project is part of a long-planned strategy to restore the native Rio Grande cutthroat trout to waters where its numbers have dwindled toward the edge of extinction. They currently live in only about 100 headwater streams, occupying 10 percent of their former range. 5 years ago | 2 views. (PEEC Archival Photo) By Casey Harthorn, New Mexico Department of Game & Fish. The Greenback cutthroats inhabited Eastern Slope rivers and is of special interest to RMF because the chapter’ home waters are the site of major Greenback restoration and protection projects. The aquarium at the Los Alamos Nature Center features four species of fish that are native to the Jemez River: Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, Rio Grande Suckers, Rio Grande Chub, and Longnose Dace. Terminal fish barrier located on Rio Costilla This barrier prevents nonnative fishes from traveling upstream into newly established Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout populations. Wildfire risk assessments completed in 2013 found that 86% of RGCT populations exist in high wildfire risk areas. Broodstock kept at Seven Springs are genetically pure RGCT sourced from populations throughout the state. Click here to watch a short video produced by WNTI featuring Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout in southern Colorado. Blueheads and Bonnevilles – Weber River, Utah, Rio Grande Cutthroat Species Status Report, 2013 Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Conservation Agreement. Other projects focus on protecting current RGCT populations from nonnative fish by installing fish barriers and by monitoring the health of existing populations. They meet quarterly to bring together representatives of public agencies and private organizations and who, by their mission statement, are “committed to improving the security of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout (RGCT) in their historic range… to … An updated conservation agreement and 10-year plan to protect the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout was signed in 2013 with the goal of assuring the long-term viability of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout throughout its historic range and setting a conservation strategy for the near future. The Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii virginalis) historically occupied in various cool streams throughout the Rio Grande Watershed, including the Chama, Jemez Rio San Jose, the Pecos, and Canadian drainages.Today, they currently live in only about 100 headwater streams in Colorado and New Mexico (10 percent of their former range). More information detailing future projects can be found in the Statewide Fisheries Management Plan. The success of this project is attributable to the cooperation between agencies including; Turner Enterprises, Inc., the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and Trout Unlimited. This type of repatriation effort benefits RGCT in two ways; by creating a new conservation population of RGCT in Rito de los Frijoles and by duplicating the El Rito RGCT population on the landscape. However, the Service is asking the public to submit any new information that becomes available concerning the status of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout at any time. In 1541, a chronicler of the Coronado expedition noted truchas—trout—swimming about in a tributary to the Pecos River as the explorers made their way toward Kansas. A multi-agency effort to restore it still can inspire anger and concern. Rio Grande Gorge Cutthroat Trout Stocking. Greenback Cutthroat Trout. The hatchery raises cutthroat at low densities to ensure their survival and best obtainable health. Wildfire has the potential to significantly impact the conservation status of RGCT in New Mexico. They have a yellowish green-gray to gray body with scattered black spots, and a densely spotted tail. As a result of these changes, Rio Grande cutthroat trout populations are restricted primarily to headwater streams. Although long known to Native Americans, the first written account of RGCT came from Spanish explorers in 1541. The Rio Grand cutthroat trout has dwindled in its native habitat. ©2019 Western Native Trout Initiative. From the April 2014 Newsletter. Historically, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii virginalis) occupied all cool waters in the Rio Grande drainage including the Chama, Jemez, and Rio San Jose drainages, along with suitable waters of the Pecos and Canadian drainages. However due to the loss of populations across t… Though some RGCT populations are easily accessible, the majority are located in more remote areas. Historically, RGCT occupied streams throughout the Rio Grande, Canadian, and Pecos river basins. This decision showed how successful projects led by the Department and other partners have improved the conservation status of this iconic fish. Historically, Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout occupied all cool waters in the Rio Grande drainage, including the Chama, Jemez and Rio San Jose drainages, along with suitable waters of the Pecos and Canadian drainages. The Service found that the Rio Grande cutthroat trout is not in danger of extinction throughout its range or in a significant portion of its range now, nor is it likely to become so in the foreseeable future. RGCT occupy high-elevation headwater streams and lakes throughout southern Colorado and New Mexico. Popular areas for fishing include the Rio Costilla and upper Pecos River. These fish produce offspring that are used to establish and maintain wild RGCT populations throughout New Mexico. Anglers can find RGCT throughout the Northern portions of New Mexico. Likely fished by the ancient Anasazi civilization, they were also the first trout to be identified in the New World by early explorers. About 10,000 cutthroat trout will be stocked in the Rio Grande later this year during the Department’s annual Rio Grande gorge stocking event. They are generalist feeders, eating a variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects as well as the occasional fish. Consider the Rio Grande cutthroat, for example. If the fish themselves weren’t enough to convince you to go fishing, RGCT live throughout the most scenic locations in the state. In 2008 the US Fish and Wildlife Service was petitioned to list RGCT under the Endangered Species Act, but their listing was deemed unwarranted in 2014. Photo: Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout loaded on backpacks destined for stocking in Rito de los Frijoles, Bandelier National Monument. Cutthroat survival: Stocking the Río with native trout They were all patiently waiting for the same thing—a bag of fish, but these were no ordinary fish. For example, the Las Conchas fire of 2011 cleared Rito de los Frijoles of nonnative Brook Trout and its habitat was recently deemed suitable for RGCT reintroduction. The majority of opportunity lies in the northern part of the state throughout the Rio Grande basin and Pecos River basin. We are always happy to help. Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout being reintroduced to Comanche Creek . Rio Grande cutthroat trout Greenback cutthroat trout: O. c. stomias (Cope, 1871) Native to the Arkansas and South Platte River headwaters on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado; it is designated as threatened (1978). Volunteers are needed to help carry the native fish down into the gorge by packing them in on foot. The Río Grande cutthroat trout, the state fish, is now a rare species and needs all the help and attention it can get. Projects have ranged from barrier construction/restoration to keep non-native trout out of conservation waters, habitat restoration, genetics analysis, and public outreach and education. A nice sized Rio Grande cutthroat trout from small creek in Northern New Mexico. Taos Pueblo, Rio Grande Gorge and Earthships, New Mexico. Catching a Rio Grande Cutthroat trout is a one-of-a-kind experience. Although it’s the state fish of New Mexico, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout is imperiled. Photos courtesy of Kevin Terry. Ron Loehman, Conservation Chair. Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii virginalis)Data: Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Status Assessment - 2008 Conservation Agreement for Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout - 2013 Partners: Colorado Parks and Wildlife, New Mexico Dept. Rio Grande Gorge Cutthroat Trout Stocking. Native trout in Colorado are of three cutthroat subspecies: Colorado River, Rio Grande, and Greenback. RGCT are brilliantly colored, with brass colored sides transitioning to green and bronze toned backs complete with sparse spotting patterns. Native trout don’t live in ugly places! Fish mature at ages 3-5 and typically spawn in late May to early June during times of receding snowmelt runoff. The Rio Costilla Project is one of the largest native fish restoration projects undertaken in U.S. history. Abstract. Rio Grande cutthroat trout: O. c. virginalis (Girard, 1856) Native to New Mexico and southern Colorado. Rio Grande cutthroat trout – a native subspecies of New Mexico – are as integral to the land’s history as its ecosystems. Due to the small waterbodies they inhabit, RGCT do not usually attain large sizes with mature fish generally reaching a maximum length of 10-12 inches. Rito de los Frijoles was stocked with RGCT transferred from El Rito in 2018 with the help of volunteers and cooperative agencies. Costilla Creek: The Department has implemented the final phase of a project to expand Rio Grande cutthroat trout in 120 miles of the Costilla watershed in northern New Mexico. Headwaters of Cow Creek, Pecos River drainage. U.S. Rio Grande cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarkii virginalis, can be found in high elevation streams and lakes of the Rio Grande, Canadian, and Pecos River drainages in Colorado and New Mexico, giving it the southern-most distribution of any form of Cutthroat Trout.It now only occupies just 12 percent of its historic habitat in approximately 800 miles of streams. Both of the photos below are of Lake Fork Conejos Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout. Photo credit: Frank Weisbarth. The NMDGF is continually working to duplicate at-risk RGCT populations on the landscape through fish transfers and wild-spawning efforts. Rio Hondo: Stream flow Monday morning near Valdez was 25.7 cfs. The Rio Grande cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki virginalis), a member of the family Salmonidae, is found in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado in tributaries of the Rio Grande.,. The Rio Grande Cutthroat has officially been designated as the New Mexico State Fish. The final phase of the Costilla Project is scheduled for completion in 2020 after the final stream treatments are conducted and RGCT are reintroduced to the system. The Rio Grande cutthroat trout, New Mexico’s state fish, once ranged from southern Colorado to southern New Mexico, but today occupies only 10% of its former range. 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