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Thread: Native Cutthroats

  1. #1

    Native Cutthroats

    I've been inspired by my friend Chris S from West Virginia to try my hand at catching all of the native Salmonids in their historical drainages. I'm not at the point of making special trips to catch a native species yet but will make the effort when in the neighborhood. On a recent trip to Yellowstone NP to do some volunteer work I added a few days to the trip to add a couple of new species.

    The first stop was for the Bonneville Cutthroat out on the Bear Creek drainage. After driving to Kemmerer Wyoming from Denver I camped on the Thomas Fork of Salt Creek in the national forest near the Salt River pass summit. The next morning I spent a few hours on the Thomas Fork catching a half dozen or so Bonneville Cutts. Landed one decent one of about 11" but most were in the 5-7" range. Small but quite beautiful.



    Bonneville Cutthroat



    Bonneville Cutthroat from Thomas Fork

    The Thomas Fork is a beautiful small stream averaging less than 10 feet in width. The stream had several large patches of aquatic plants that were in full bloom. Quite serene.



    Thomas Fork of Salt Creek



    Close up of aquatic plant bloom


    That afternoon I drove on over to the Greys river for a shot at the Snake River Cutthroat. Found a nice dispersed campsite for the next two nights. Over the next day and a half caught a dozen or so Snake River or fine spotted cutts.



    Snake River Cutt from Greys River


    The rest of the week was spent in Yellowstone NP working with a PhD candidate and the Yellowstone Volunteer program fishing the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek. The projects main purpose is to put passive and radio tags in Rainbows, Cutthroats and Cuttbows in order to track their movements in the Lamar drainage, especially during spawning runs in the spring. As well as installing the tags we also collected weight, length and fin clippings for DNA analysis to check for hybridization.

    Sometimes it's hard to concentrate on fishing is such a beautiful valley.



    Fishing with Pronghorns



    Bison crossing the Lamar River


    We tagged about 30 fish during the week.



    Kurt suturing up a Cuttbow after installing a radio tag



    One of the nicer Yellowstone Cutts from Soda Butte


    We had one day off during the week to explore the park. Naturally I spent it fishing. This time went to the northwestern corner, Specimen Creek, for a shot a West Slope Cutthroat. I hiked in a couple of miles with no success only to find out the next day that a barrier had been put in about 3 miles in to keep the Rainbows in the Gallatin from hybridizing with the West Slope Cutts which were above the barrier. I guess I'll have to make a return trip next year. I still need to catch a Colorado River and a Yellowstone Cutthroat outside of the park in order to complete the Wyoming Cutt-Slam; all four native cutthroats in Wyoming.

  2. #2
    smallstreams.com supporter and plankowner
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    Great report.....and a fun goal. Always nice to work on a fisheries projecdt.

    BTW, the aquatic plant is aquatic buttercup....likely Ranunculus aquatilis: White Buttercup/White Crowfoot.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ksbioteacher View Post
    Great report.....and a fun goal. Always nice to work on a fisheries projecdt.

    BTW, the aquatic plant is aquatic buttercup....likely Ranunculus aquatilis: White Buttercup/White Crowfoot.
    Thanks for the flower ID

  4. #4
    smallstreams.com plankowner ags's Avatar
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    Brought back memories from the 60's through 90's ......... Great post with interesting information and comments.

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