For the first time in more than 35 years, the Nevada Department of Wildlife will be stocking Lake Tahoe with Lahontan cutthroat trout, the only trout species native to the Basin.
Over the course of the next few months, approximately 22,000 cutthroat will be planted in Lake Tahoe with the first stocking events completed this week at Cave Rock boat launch.
In response to a growing interest in the Tahoe area for the restoration of native species, an interagency team was created to explore opportunities to restore the cutthroat to the Basin. The team, consisting of biologists from the state, California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service, among others, identified the state's stocking efforts at Lake Tahoe as an opportunity to provide anglers with the chance to catch native Lahontan cutthroat trout.
“Our goal is to provide some variety in the sport fishing opportunities at Lake Tahoe,” said Kim Tisdale, the Western Region Supervising Fisheries Biologist at NDOW. “Traditionally, rainbow trout have been stocked to support recreational fishing during the summer months; cutthroat trout will give those fishing at Lake Tahoe a chance to catch a native trout which hasn't been available in those waters for a long time.”
The cutthroat trout were raised for over a year at NDOW's Mason Valley Hatchery and will be approximately nine inches in length when stocked. This plant in Lake Tahoe is experimental and staff will evaluate their performance in the lake as well as angler satisfaction with Lahontan cutthroat trout.
“It will be interesting to see how the cutthroat fare in Lake Tahoe and how anglers respond to them as it's been decades since we have stocked this native fish,” said Tisdale.
I hope it works. I've heard they have attempted to reintroduce them to the Truckee River, but that the German Browns ate them all. It would be nice to see a viable population come back and become self sustaining.
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Paul, thanks for posting.
They have restored them to their native headwaters, and the terminus lake for the Truckee (Pyramid). They just need to connect the dots.....
I suspect the next step will be to talk (or hopefully not talk) about eradicating all non-native fish from the Truckee river. No browns, bows, or brookies. (Since the cuts traditionally can't compete with them.)
Just indigenous Mnt.whitefish and cuts in the T would be PC, and EC (ecologically correct).
The Truckee now, is a world-class self-sustaining fishery and overall managed as a "wild trout fishery". (Read, no CA.tax dollars for stocking the T. NV. does stock near Reno, essentially put and take..)
A fisheries bio guy that I know, has sworn to this path of rehabilitating the T. "Maybe not in our lifetime, but it will happen".
I'll bet, by putting 22,000 cuts in the lake, the smallmouth (also invasive and a serious problem) will expand (in size and range) till they look like they'll explode.
Nothing better than a clueless cut for dinner.
6+lb smallies taste good too, taken from snow melt water. (Save a lake - Eat a smallmouth.)
Lake Tahoe is so messed up from past experiments (both by scientific, and bucket biologists), they would have to nuke it, to effectively reboot the whole system.
Since it took two tries of Rotenone for much smaller Lake Davis, I have my doubts it's even possible on this scale. We will see.
I did hear that a tagged fish from the headwaters was caught in the lake. And partly grown up (12lbs), so maybe we can have cuts around....a shortened run from Tahoe to the headwaters and back.
Since the Lahontan cutthroat originally (20lb++) ran from Pyramid up the Truckee to the headwaters, to really do this thing (and not just a stocking program), the damns would need to be passable, or removed. That probably won't be happening anytime soon.
The damns are what killed the original strain of cuts to begin with, leaving them unable to complete their spawn runs. Just like salmon and steelhead runs elsewhere.
Tom, the Piaute tribe/State did put them in the river (CA side), but in the bait section (instead of the catch & release section (???)), were they stay in a school (and look very lost), so everyone can have a fish dinner (including biggy brown).
Progress marches on!
I love the idea that they are trying to reintroduce the Cutts into other bodies of water but I don't see this working. As Jim said Derby Dam is IMO one of the main factors in the Cutts survival and they cannot get past it. The Browns will also cut thier survival rate down drastically. There are some BIG hungry browns in the Truckee. They tried planting cutts in Fallen Leaf Lake a while ago and have not seen many holdover fish there so I would be surprised to see them make it in Tahoe. We will see though.
Scientists use Tahoe to calibrate a satelite's temp settings (It never freezes over.).
Having tracked temps in the shallows, they know about how fast the smallmouth will spread around the lake.
(From where a bucket bozo put them in. Probably wanted to catch them off HIS dock, in a universe of one.).
The issue, is that the smallies live in warmer shallows here (as opposed to normal rocky deeper water), where all the fry from all the different species that spawn here, live.
Smallies hoover baby fish.
As long as SM are in the lake, a self sustaining population of bows, browns, or cuts for that matter, is in doubt.
Of course, a few stocked cuttie might give the dry fly guys something to do here.
Efforts to re-establish Lahontans have already been underway in the Walker and Carson drainages on the eastside down to Conway Summit. I remember catching an obviously stocked LCT at least eight years ago on th EW, CA side. I too doubt the viabilty of a new LCT population in the lake. Are these fish able to reproduce? What, if any, protections will they have if they do try to spawn? I would also like to see some stomach samples from the Macks, I bet they would like a cutt for breakfast. milt.