Tag Archives: Spawning

Raising Colorado’s Brown Trout – North Delaney Butte Lake

Despite Colorado’s abundant fish populations, most fish cannot successfully reproduce in the wild. And, of those species that are able to reproduce naturally, recruitment (the number of juvenile fish that actually survive to be added to a population) is often too low to support a fishable population. To ensure that there are enough fish to stock every year, CPW sets up spawn-collection sites at lakes and reservoirs across the state.

Each year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) fishery biologists set up a spawn-take operation at North Delaney Butte Lake. During the operation, biologists will capture brown trout and collect more than a million eggs, which will be fertilized at the lake and then shipped to CPW fish hatcheries. Once hatched and raised, the brown trout are restocked in rivers and lakes throughout the state. And while brown trout are non-native, the hard fighting fish are some of the most popular among Colorado’s anglers.

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Kokanee

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Spawning kokanee by © Scott Willoughby

In a state that pretty much has it all, the most glaring gap in Colorado’s vast menu of outdoor options becomes obvious at its borders. The ability to walk across state lines almost anywhere without getting your feet wet serves as evidence of a basic reality: We’re landlocked. High and dry.

For a large chunk of the fishing world, that could be considered a problem. There are plenty of fish in the sea, as they say, and the opportunity to chase a wide variety of them is what drives many an angler to wet a line. But in the network of rivers and lakes draining from the mountainous spine of the nation to oceans east and west, well, the species selection falls a bit short by comparison. Sure, we’ve got a respectable assortment of more than 40 types of cold-, cool- and warm-water fish species statewide in Colorado, but it seems like the grass can always get a little greener.

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Meet the Browns

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Brown trout. Photo by © Mike DelliVeneri/CPW.

Since their introduction into Colorado in the late 19th century, brown trout have established wild and self-sustaining populations throughout hundreds of miles of rivers and creeks. They occur today in nearly every mountain stream between 6,000 and 10,000 feet in elevation. In addition to the more accessible rivers and mountain reservoirs, where they can grow to trophy sizes, vibrant populations of wild browns provide sport-fishing opportunities for backcountry anglers.

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