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Fish & Aquatics
Fish & Aquatics
Brown trout underwater by Wayne Lewis
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CPW Biologists Make Annual Trip up Bear Creek to Conserve Rare Greenback Cutthroat Trout

Aquatic biologists made their annual trek up Bear Creek in Colorado Springs on June 12 in search of rare greenback cutthroat trout, also known as Colorado’s state fish.

“The Bear Creek greenback cutthroat trout are an incredibly unique and special fish,” said Cory Noble, CPW aquatic biologist who teamed with Kevin Rogers, CPW aquatic researcher, to lead the spawning effort.

“Collecting the eggs and milt from these fish will help us to conserve and recover the species throughout its native range," Noble said. "They will help infuse vital genetic diversity into our other brood sources and ultimately into the fish that we stock out on the landscape.”

The valuable milt will be taken to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife hatchery in Leadville where it will be used to fertilize the eggs of captive females.

The spawning operation is a continuation of extensive work CPW aquatic biologists, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, Trout Unlimited, Great Outdoors Colorado, El Paso County, the city of Colorado Springs and other local government agencies have done to recover and conserve the species.

Read the full CPW Biologists news release. Find out information on Greenback Cutthroat Trout and CPW’s aquatic research projects.

Video courtesy of Denver Post.

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Conservation. Preservation. Recreation.​

Fisheries management predates all other wildlife management activities in Colorado. The first Colorado wildlife law passed in 1861, and it addressed overfishing: “It is unlawful to take trout by seine, net, basket or trap.” The first wildlife official in Colorado was Colonel Wilson E. Sisty, who became the State Fish Commissioner in 1877.

Today, Fish Hatchery Technicians are responsible for the aquaculture of 56 separate strains of fish, and raise and stock over 90 million fish every year. Hatchery employees contribute to the preservation of threatened and endangered species such as boreal toads and pike ​​​​minnows. 

​​​​​Colorado Parks and Wildlife also has an Aquatic Research Section that conducts scientific investigations to develop the necessary knowledge, techniques, and procedures to effectively manage Colorado's aquatic wildlife.

​CPW has various educational materials available. Using sound, video, text, logic, and computer skills, the Fish Hatchery Game portrays some of the work of a 'typical' CPW fish hatchery. Working through the game, middle and high school educators and students are presented interesting (and often challenging) math and biology concepts in a meaningful, relevant and fun way.​​​​​

 Species Profiles



Colorado has over 40 species of aquatic mollusks, ranging in size from less than a quarter of an inch (2-3 mm) up to nearly 8 inches (190 mm). These include representatives of 8 gastropod families (snails and limpets with one shell) and 3 bivalve families (clams and mussels with two shells). Visit the Species Profiles page to learn about mollusks, fish and much more!

>> Read More

Anita Martinez, aquatic biologist (now retired) holds up bass


The Aquatic Research Section provides a combination of field and laboratory experimentation to answer statewide fisheries management questions, improve efficiency in production and management of aquatic species, and provide centralized fisheries management functions related to data management, stream habitat,  and brood stock development.​

 Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout

Nestled in the rugged mountains of southwest Colorado lies a remote, privately owned ranch that shelters the pristine waters of Haypress Lake. Each June, Colorado Parks and Wildlife fishery biologists set up a spawn-take operation at Haypress to collect roe and milt from Rio Grande cutthroat trout.

 Fall Spawning Runs

Watch Colorado mountain whitefish, brown trout, and kokanee salmon spawning runs from beneath the water.