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Colorado Fish Species

Arctic Char
Arctic Grayling
Bigmouth Buffalo
Black Bullhead
Black Crappie
Blue Catfish
Bluehead sucker
Bonytail Chub
Brook Trout
Brown Trout
Channel Catfish
Colorado Pikeminnow
Colorado River Cutthroat
Common Carp
Creek Chub
Cutbow Trout
Cutthroat Trout
Emerald Shiner
Flannelmouth Sucker
Flathead Catfish
Flathead Chub
Freshwater Drum
Gizzard Shad
Golden Shiner
Golden Trout
Grass Carp
Green Sunfish
Greenback Cutthroat
Hybrid Striped Bass(wiper/palmetto)
Lake Chub
Lake Trout
Largemouth Bass
Longnose Sucker
Mountain Whitefish
Northern Pike
Orangespotted Sunfish
Rainbow Trout
Redear Sunfish
River Carpsucker
Roundtail Chub
Sacramento Perch
Smallmouth Bass
Snake River Cutthroat
Spottail Shiner
Spotted Bass
Striped Bass
Sunfish (Bream)
Tiger Muskie
Tiger Trout
White Bass
White Crappie
White Sucker
Yellow Bullhead
Yellow Perch
Yellowstone Cutthroat

Greenback Cutthroat
These cutthroat, like their cousins the Colorado River cutthroat are extremely colorful and many consider them to be one of the most beautiful trout.  Their appearance is similar Colorado River cutthroat trout, so much so that it appears that Colorado River cutthroat were mistakenly stocked for the Greenback cutthroat trout in restoration efforts.  Greenbacks are intensely colored with large and pronounced spots heavily concentrated towards tail region. However, despite their name, the back is not pronouncedly "green."  Like all cutthroat they have distinctive orange to reddish slashes under the lower jaw.  The olive backs shade to a shades of yellow along the side and the underside often takes on a brilliant reddish color during spawn.  Most are 12 inches or smaller.  Eighteen inches is considered the maximum size, although historically it reportedly grew close to ten pounds.
These fish have adapted to spawning high elevations, as such their eggs hatch quicker than other cutthroat species.  While spring spawners, due to the higher elevations spawn may occur in late July or even early August. A red is built in a gravelly area, where the female lays her eggs.  The male simultaneously deposits his milt over the eggs. The fertilized eggs are then covered with gravel. Fry survival is influenced by stream temperature and high altitude streams tend to have lower fry survival.
In lakes cutthroat feed on plankton and aquatic insects.  In streams a variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects make up the bulk of their diet.  Larger fish, over 12 inches will feed on small fish and crayfish.
 Greenback cutthroat trout’s native distribution was along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains from Wyoming to New Mexico. Today it exists east of the Continental Divide in the Arkansas and South Platte Rivers, primarily in small, isolated headwaters.  Like most trout species, Colorado River cutthroat require clear, cold water of streams, rivers, and small to medium sized lakes. Rocky Mountain National Park is this endangered species strongest toehold.  This easternmost subspecies of cutthroat trout currently occupies less than 1% of its original range. Greenback’s linage is thought to be from the Colorado River cutthroat. Both are subspecies of the Yellowstone cutthroat.

Greenback Cutthroat in Colorado

The greenback cutthroat trout was designated the official state fish of Colorado in 1994.

Courtesy of NDIS Colorado Division of Wildlife

Found in only a handful of headwater streams in the Arkansas and South Platte river drainages, the greenback cutthroat is the rarest of the three native varieties. All native cutthroats are adapted to cold, clear, oxygenated streams of moderate gradient. Overhanging branches, undercut banks and eddies behind rubble which provide feeding and resting stations are required habitat. Cutthroat are readily taken by bait or fly. A well-presented fly cast just ahead of a cutthroat in open water may well bring an impulsive, strike. Spots on greenbacks are larger than on the Colorado River variety. Greenbacks have the highest lateral line counts of the three varieties native to Colorado.

Status: CDOW WRIS Species, Federally Threatened, State Threatened

Most Recent Greenback Cutthroat Forum Posts
Iced Dream Lake 02.15.21 by John John
Greenbacks! 07.20.18 by Branch Doctor
RMNP=Chris fly fishing... 09.11.17 by TeamGR3
Secret Greenback Cutthroat Lake! 08.25.17 by MooseDancer
"Secret" Greenback Cutthroat Lake 08.25.17 by MooseDancer
What Zimmerman greenbacks? 07.10.17 by deadpoint07
Ice fishing Greenbacks in RMNP 03.13.15 by Cichlidfish
A New Obsession: Cutthroats 10.30.14 by fargingicehole
Greenback Cutthroat Articles, Blogs, & Podcasts
Blog: Skip the Dunkin Donuts 08.05.14 by Alan Peak
Blog: Rocky Mountain National Park Waters Added 05.17.14 by Tom McInerney
Blog: History, High Mountains, and Cutthroats! 06.28.13 by Ben Swigle
Blog: Boomerang Tool Co. Grip 11.07.12 by Joshua Christensen
Blog: 4 Apps Every Angler With A Smartphone Should Use 02.09.12 by Joshua Christensen
Blog: Clouser Pattern Detailed - New Article 12.16.11 by Matt Snider
Blog: Become a pro 09.30.11 by Joshua Christensen
Blog: Launches California 09.27.11 by Matt Snider
Recent Colorado Greenback Cutthroat Photos by Fish Explorer Members
by John John - by eholm - by ND Transplant - by John John - by John John - by John John - Fern Lake by riper69 - by riper69 - by riper69 - by riper69 - by riper69 - Above silver plume by John John - Odessa Lake by John John - Greenback from shoreline by riper69 - Little surprise on an HD by anglerwannabe - another greenback by anglerwannabe - greenback by Kev-o - by Kev-o - by riper69 - August by riper69 - August by John John - Greenback Cutthroat at Spruce Lake RMNP 9/1/2014 by John John - Spruce Lake RMNP 9/1/2014 by John John - Ypsilon Lake August 2016 by John John - Ypsilon Greenback August 2016 by John John - Dream Lake Greenback Cutthroat 1/15/2017 by John John - Dream Lake 1/15/2017 by Kev-o - by John John - Greenback at Primrose Pond 8-14-2015 by John John - by John John - Greenback at Loomis Lake 8-14-2015 by John John - Loomis Lake from outlet 8-14-2015 by fargingicehole - by fargingicehole - by tomygun - by more fish than u - 40acher lake on the grand Mesa by Brodizzle - Fern Lake!! by slayintrout - by Vanish - Fantastic Rainbow Striped Greenback Cutt by Vanish - Another RMNP Greenback by Vanish - Super Red Greenback
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