Pilot Peak Strain Lahontan Cutthroat Trout in Pyramid Lake
Back in the late 1970’s a taxonomist named Bob Behnke collected trout from a small stream in the Pilot Mountains along the border of Nevada and Utah. He studied the physical traits of this population and described them as being related to the original Pyramid Lake stock in a paper he published in 1978. During the 1980’s a biologist with the State of Utah by the name of Bryce Nielson, working with a private landowner, built ponds at the end of the creek and moved fish from this tiny creek into the ponds. In 1995 the Lahontan NFHC, began pursuing genetic analysis and broodstock development of this population in the hopes of utilizing this stock for recovery of the lake form and to enhance recreational fishing. New genetic tools were becoming available at this time that would allow geneticist to extract DNA from museum mounts. It was a few years later before a geneticist from UNR, Mary Peacock PhD, was the first to successfully extract DNA from museum specimens collected from 1872-1911. Through her work we have determined that the Pilot Peak
strain is indeed related to the Truckee River basin populations. In 2006, the Lahontan NFHC, in partnership with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe began stocking Pilot Peak Lahontan Cutthroat Trout into Pyramid Lake. Over 780,000 juvenile Pilot Peak LCT have been stocked in a variety of locations around Pyramid Lake. All of the Pilot Peak LCT stocked by Lahontan NFHC are adipose fin clipped, and over half are tagged with dorsal floy tags. These floy tags give each fish its own unique number. When an angler reports the tag number to biologists, valuable information on how the fish is growing can be added to the knowledge of this unique strain of LCT. If the angler releases the fish with the floy tag, any future recaptures can be reported. Preliminary results from the floy tag data shows the Pilot Peak LCT grow approximately .46 inches per month. If you return the fish to the lake, please leave the tag in the fish so we can continue collecting this important information.
January 14, 2013