LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — A little summer snow couldn’t stop Colorado Parks and Wildlife from conducting its greenback cutthroat trout spawning operation. It was snowing and just 34 degrees at Zimmerman Lake on Wednesday, but CPW officers hit the water anyway.
THE SPAWN MUST GO ON
Even in a blizzard 🌨️ a summer blizzard on the last day of June 🤨
— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) July 1, 2020
“Aquatic Biologists are always prepared for variable weather when working at 10,000 feet, but they certainly were not expecting blizzard conditions when they arrived at the lake early in the morning on June 30,” CPW officials stated.
“It is fun and rewarding work for the biologists, even though the weather isn’t always ideal,” said Boyd Wright, CPW Native Aquatic Species Biologist.
CPW Cutthroat Trout Research Scientist Kevin Rogers and the Northeast Aquatics team collected spawn and mark recapture data from the greenback cutthroat trout “broodstock” population at Zimmerman Lake.
The team captured the fish using live “trap” nets that were deployed the previous afternoon (when it was sunny and warm). Eggs were collected from females and mixed with milt (sperm) from males. The fertilized eggs were driven in small one-gallon coolers to CPW’s Salida Isolation Unit, operated by the Mt. Shavano Fish Hatchery, where they are either reared to fry to be stocked back out into the wild at other reintroduction sites, or raised to one year of age to be stocked back into the wild and replenish the broodstocks at Zimmerman Lake and the Leadville National Fish Hatchery.
The broodstocks at Zimmerman Lake and the Leadville National Fish Hatchery, and associated hatchery operations, represent the backbone of efforts to recover the Federally Threatened State Fish of Colorado, the Greenback Cutthroat Trout.