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Old 10-24-2017, 05:16 PM
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Arizona Native Cutthroat Range

Can someone explain how the LCR is considered native water for the Apache trout and not the Colorado River Cutthroat?

I see that Apache were discovered in the creek around the turn of the century, but there was also a lot of human activity in the area prior to that. There are definitely creeks close by that drain into the Black/Salt, but that only makes me believe more that someone moved the fish into there since trout can't fly over peaks into other watersheds that drain into an entirely different direction.

Serious question-How does a fish (naturally and without the help of man) move across a mountaintop into another drainage?
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Old 10-24-2017, 06:51 PM
Seldomseen Seldomseen is offline
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A legitimate question and one I have wondered myself.

The only amateur response I could come up with would be take a quick drive along the eastern slopes of Mt Baldy form Sunrise to Big Lakes. In between, Lee Valley pinches the LCR between the White and Black drainages.

Considering the uplift of the Colorado Plateau, it is reasonable these could have been a single source at one time in this area.
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Old 10-24-2017, 07:55 PM
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Good question, very confusing, and no one knows.

In his books, Dr. Behnke has a proposal to your question which does not agree with mine.

I am thinking 100,000 to 1,000,000 years ago CRC ancestry and Gila trout intermingled through headwater transfers forming the Apache trout. The cutthroat mark was not transfered but I have not met anyone that thinks AT do not look like a cutthroat. The known range of GT surrounds the AT range on the West, South and East though there are very few, to none, GT existing in AZ anymore due to known reasons that mankindless caused.

No one knows for sure.
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Last edited by joe; 10-25-2017 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seldomseen View Post
A legitimate question and one I have wondered myself.

The only amateur response I could come up with would be take a quick drive along the eastern slopes of Mt Baldy form Sunrise to Big Lakes. In between, Lee Valley pinches the LCR between the White and Black drainages.

Considering the uplift of the Colorado Plateau, it is reasonable these could have been a single source at one time in this area.
I had considered that taking into account the bonneville/bear cutthroat lineage. Than I wondered how old the path of the Little Colorado is when you pass over that gorge in Cameron (on the reservation)
The Colorado river has been flowing for 50 million years+ If the path of the little Colorado is even close, it'd make sense that trout swam up it. I think the division between Lake bonneville and Bear lake took place only 15,000 years ago?
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe View Post
Good question, very confusing, and no one knows.

In his books, Dr. Behnke has a proposal to your question which does not agree with mine.

I am thinking 100,000 to 1,000,000 years ago CRCs and Gila trout intermingled through headwater transfers forming the Apache trout. The cutthroat mark was not transfered but I have not met anyone that thinks AT do not look like a cutthroat. The known range of GT surrounds the AT range on the West, South and East though there are very few, to none, GT existing in AZ anymore.

No one knows for sure.
The whole Gila trout surrounding the AT range is strange too IMO. It seams those waters are "muddy" with thoughts of GT and AT intermingling (according to research), but to me it would seam that they would have created their own subspecies by the time we began testing them?
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Old 10-25-2017, 09:15 AM
Bucksnort Bucksnort is offline
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Almostlost,

I watched a documentary, a few years ago, about how trout could have migrated over mountains. Specifically, they addressed how the green back cutthroat trout in Colorado could have migrated from the Pacific side of the Continental Divide to the Atlantic side. In Colorado, the Divide can exceed 14,000 feet. One possibility is ice dams. So I'm guessing trout could be caught in water where it freezes behind them not allowing them to move downstream; therefore only allowing them to move upstream and over the divide. With such harsh conditions one would wonder how this could happen.

Regarding harsh conditions and how trout could survive, many years ago, a friend took me to a "puddle" of water on the east side of the Divide which literally, as the crow flies, is a few hundred yards below the Divide at 12,100 feet (the puddle is at 12,100 feet). I say puddle because that's just about what it is. It has no name so we named it Lunker Lake because we were catching eighteen and twenty inch cutthroats from what looks like a small beaver pond. It isn't a beaver pond because I don't think beavers could survive above tree line. The deepest part of the puddle is about five feet. You can throw a rock across it. Lunker Lake is fed by a small stream, which you an step across, from a lake above it.

It always amazed us there were large trout in such a remote place so we put some thought in how they could survive winters. The puddle had to freeze except for the channel the feeder creek created. We decided the trout survived each winter by moving to the channel or moving upstream and finding safe places. It's possible the trout could have moved to the lake above then wind up in the puddle each spring but there are too many obstacles, including a rather high fall at the outlet to the upper lake.

It also baffled us as to how the trout found their way to Lunker. There are two possibilities. Below Lunker is a private lake which is loaded with large cutthroats. The stream between this lake and Lunker is narrow and steep but negotiable, in my opinion, by trout so this is one possibility. The other is that during spring runoff, the upper lake spills over at the outlet, which creates a fair amount of running water cutthroats need for spawning so they do their thing near the outlet where some wind up being washed over the top. Because they can't make it to the lake, because of the water fall, they eventually move downstream to Lunker.

We fished Lunker every year for about 15 years and every year the large trout were there so there was little or no winter kill. When you look at the topography above the upper lake, you can see trout could easily make their way to the small puddle (we did not explore this one) on a shelf above the upper lake and then keep going over the Divide on the south shoulder of Argentine Peak at an altitude of about 13,000 feet.

Well, that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Last edited by Bucksnort; 10-25-2017 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:29 AM
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Bucksnort and everyone else thanks for your replies but I ask this,

Are these theories more plausible than CRC swimming their way up it from the Colorado and therefore it is their heritage waters?

I believe there are creeks that enter into the Colorado below where the LRC does that are designated CRC waters.

Furthermore, what designates what lineage of fish the waterway belongs to? The CRC who is native to the Colorado river or the Apache who it seams nobody is quite sure how it got in there?
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:32 AM
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What I'm really getting at is can/should we have fish-able, native, wild, protected cutthroats in AZ?

It seams as though the Apache have not fared exceptionally well in that waterway.
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:18 AM
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I just reviewed a 1992 paper of Dr. B's which I was given by my native USA trout mentor back then.

"The natural distribution of cutthroat trout in the Colorado Basin did not extend into the Grand Canyon -- the San Juan River is the Southern limit of pleuriticus". Dr. Behnke

Dr. B said the source for both GT and AT entered the Gila River with the AT headwater transfering to the LCR. LCR headwater transfering is what Seldomseen was trying to infer.

So now I will concede to what Dr.B has published previously.
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Last edited by joe; 10-26-2017 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 10-25-2017, 12:38 PM
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I suppose you can throw it under the category of wishful thinking.
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