Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by Bruce Baker, Sep 23, 2017.
your fish could have come down from Alaska or Joe lakes.
I was going to suggest that. It would give you a great excuse to return - maybe even on work time! They certainly are very fascinating fish. I'd love to be the geneticist that found a whole new subspecies!
Thanks for the suggestion Sue. Although I'm in the warm water unit, it is within the inland trout program, so I could try and turn it into a work project. Funding is going to be an issue. I may have to see if some federal geneticists would be interested in running samples gratis if it can't be done in house.
How much do you think it would cost, Bruce? You might think about doing a presentation to SCPAG. Although they don't have money, many of the members are in clubs that do and some of them are passionate about cutthroat, not just steelhead. If they think it would be a good project, maybe they could help grease the skids with the powers that be and/or be willing to do some fundraising for it. In any case, I think it would be an interesting presentation.
Just make sure you get your friend from work who told you about the lake, in on any official work related sampling.
And volunteers; he'll need volunteers to do stuff. Important stuff. It will be difficult, all that important volunteer stuff that needs doing, but I volunteer!
The cool thing about cutts is how much they vary lake to lake, and even how they differ within a lake. I posted about this several months ago.
These three came from the same lake. The spots aren't as big, but...
The bottom one was the largest, and looked as if it could have just left the ocean- although this was a lake very, very isolated from that possibility. But what causes the coloration of the darker fish?
This one came from a lake about 1300 feet higher than the previous three:
This fish is almost blue... colored completely different. Many fish in this lake resembled this one.
It makes you wonder if isolation in certain lakes over a certain time frame could cause new, distinct subspecies to form, or if they simply have a vast color palette.
Add my 2 cents. Having some background in fisheries and a lot of time catching coastal cutthroats that run the spectrum of colors, I can point to what is pointed out on here from time to time, color is the worst way to identify a trout species as they can change colors quite efficiently to match their residence in water. Morphology, as mentioned above, is the key. "Subspecies" are often hybrids or simply seasonal coloration changes to the norm.
Just because an individual trout looks different in color and spots, that is not reliable identifying.. None. Also, since lakes have been planted with many rainbow before, a lot of hybridization has occurred. Many of the trout above look to my eyes as to have a lot of rainbow trout in them. Again, that means nothing until genetic testing.
Any lakes on the coast that appear to have a more "cleaner" strain of coastal cutthroat, have pretty traceable creeks and river to salt. With all the flooding, great opportunity for the fish to spash/climb barriers/reside in seasonal, vernal waters and spread their seed around in watersheds and jumping watersheds.
If one wants to find dark, heavily spotted coastal cutthroat, look for dark/cedar stained waters..bogs, beaverpond and the rare (for the coast) tannic stained creek.
That same fish, if coming from glacial river, started out silver and white and almost spot-free. Same individual fish can take on both extremes in the right conditions.
(not my photo)
Nice threads and photos !