Craig The protected strain of Colorado River Cutthroat trout will be getting a new home this summer.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife will remove other species of trout in a 1.8-mile section of Willow Creek and replace them with a pure strain of Cutthroat trout.
The Cutthroat trout is nearly endangered because of the out-competing nature of other trout such as Brook trout, the DOW reported.
The Brook trout, an introduced species, spawn in the spring, giving the species more time to develop in size, and can feed on the smaller, fall hatching Cutthroat.
Currently there is a pure, core conservation population of trout located in northern sections of the creek, but as the river winds toward Moffat County Road 38, the DOW found a mixed population of Brook trout and Yellow trout hybridizing with the cutthroat, DOW representative Boyd Wright said.
“We have a conservation strategy for Colorado River cutthroat trout with an agreement between multiple state and federal agencies with the goal to not only protect those populations, but also to expand them where there are opportunities,” Wright said.
The DOW will start the project in August when the water is at its lowest flow. A barrier will be installed first to prevent other trout from entering the area.
The project is estimated to cost $15,000.
Willow Creek, a catch and release, fly and lure only stream, will see no change in fishing regulations as result of the project.