‘Monster’ Lahontan cutthroat begin historic Truckee migration

‘Monster’ Lahontan cutthroat begin historic Truckee migration


The high flows we have on the Truckee this
year have allowed the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex to pass the native Lahontan
cutthroat trout further up the river this year than we’ve seen them in over 80 years. This is a trout species that was once thought
to be extinct. So to have them back in the river system is
a culmination of 20 years of hard work with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and the hatchery
complex, ever since we started raising these fish from our broodstock in 1995 and stocking
them in the lake in 2006. So behind me is Numana Dam. This is about 12 miles upstream from Pyramid
Lake. Last year, we were able to get fish up to
this point and document how successful they were at reproducing. This year, we’re able to pass fish above Numana
Dam, and we’re studying how they’re using the river further upstream. What we’re hoping to learn this year is when
and where they’re spawning, what kind of habitat they’re using, how far up they’re going, how
quickly they’re going, and how long they reside in the river. We believe that there’s a good chance that
we’ll see large cutthroat trout moving upstream in the Truckee as far as Derby Dam in the
next year or two, and we’ve addressed that by creating some special regulations that
will protect those spawning fish when they move upstream. I think this is a big step for the state of
Nevada to change the regulations to protect these fish as they come up the Truckee River. They belong in the river, they’re native here. There will be anglers pursuing this from all
over the world for the challenge, and just for the opportunity to catch a native species. It’s going to take us a little while to get
there, but it’ll be an important component of this fishery, and it’s an opportunity that
isn’t available anywhere else in the world to anglers, is to actually go into a river
environment some day and catch large adult cutthroat trout that are unique to this area,
and should be a really exciting fish to contact. It’s an amazing fishery in the Truckee River
anyway, I mean, it’s world class just like out here at Pyramid Lake. But to just get the natural ones spawning
up there would be just unbelievable. You know, the Pilot Peak has definitely drawn
an eye back onto how massive these fish can be and what they used to be, and I think we’re
well on our way to producing more trophy fish. Working through the National Fish Passage
Program, the next step will be partnering with the Truckee Meadows Water Authority to
remediate a series of four dams along the Truckee River. These remediation projects are scheduled over
the next five years to improve ecosystem health and river connectivity along the fish’s 120-mile
range. We’re very excited to partner with the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s a win win for both agencies. This project, at the end, it’s going to benefit
everybody, all the users on the river, including the fish. So if we can get this fish, the state fish
of Nevada, to run the entire length of the Truckee River, all the way up to Lake Tahoe,
that would be an amazing accomplishment. I hope to one day see, you know, a family
looking over and seeing these fish, these large fish from Pyramid Lake, all the way
up there where they belong.

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