The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is ready for the Colorado River Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project in the high Uinta Mountains. The project is scheduled for a couple of weeks after Labor Day along a stretch of the Sheep Creek drainage above the ten thousand foot level. The Utah DWR will be using rotenone to kill all of the non-native fish on the eight and half mile stretch of the streams and lakes, including brook, rainbow and Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Regional aquatics manager for the division Trina Hedrick says they’ve been waiting a long time for the right conditions. She says adequate funding, the required 60 personnel and fish in the Utah hatchery ready for restocking are all in place.
Ron Stewart is the conservation outreach manager for the northeast region. He says the Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, also called the C-R-C-T, is native to that small region of Utah, Wyoming and Colorado and has been struggling to survive.
“It’s a species that has been inter-bred, it’s also had competition and things and so there’s not very many of them left, and so they have been petitioned to be placed on the endangered list”, he says.
Stewart says now is the time to take advantage of increased catch limits in the high elevations of the Sheep Creek drainage.
“There is an increased limit going on and so they can come out and fish eight fish out of Spirit Lake as opposed to the four that would be the normal”, he says.
Stewart says stream fishing for brook trout in the treatment area are also double the normal limit. He says twenty years of work to restore the CRCT are finally paying off this fall and the drought is actually helping a bit with the project with lower stream flows so a second rotenone treatment may not be needed. Stewart says rotenone has been used around the world for more than 40 years and is harmless to mammals. Potassium permanganate is applied to neutralize rotenone-treated waters below a barrier to protect fish not involved in the restoration project.