Game and Fish Invites Public to View Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Infusion

Yellowstone cutthroat trout—native to Yellowstone—are a keystone species that many species of birds and mammals rely on as an energy source. (NPS/Jay Fleming)

CODY– Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Rocky Mountain Discount Sports invite the public to come and observe a Yellowstone cutthroat trout infusion in Cody on May 18 at 10:00 a.m. in the parking lot of Rocky Mountain Discount Sports.

“To provide a genetically diverse population of Yellowstone cutthroat trout for sport fish stocking and native species restoration purposes, Game and Fish will cross female Yellowstone cutthroat trout brood stock with milt or sperm from wild males from the Yellowstone River below Yellowstone Lake,” said Assistant Fish Culture Supervisor Guy Campbell.  “In doing so, this will infuse “wild” genes (DNA) into the brood stock fish.”

“This is a very unique opportunity to see firsthand the work required to maintain the genetic integrity of our native cutthroat brood stocks,” Campbell said.   “We truly enjoy the time to share with the public the job we accomplish day in and out to manage their fisheries resource.”

The actual infusion will happen when females are brought in by truck from the Story Hatchery to be spawned with the milt collected the day before and transferred in coolers from the Yellowstone River.  The collection is only made possible through a close partnership with the U.S. National Park Service and technical assistance by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in collecting the males.

The Yellowstone cutthroat trout brood stock is housed at the Ten Sleep Fish Hatchery and typically spawns from the middle of February though late April under a constant water temperature provided by enclosed springs. Last year, two-year-old females were moved from Ten Sleep to be kept in a colder seasonal water source at the Story Hatchery so they will ripen (sexually mature) at the same time as the wild male cutthroats in the Yellowstone River.

Yellowstone cutthroat trout are the only trout native to northwest Wyoming. Game and Fish’s Yellowstone cutthroat trout brood stock consists of approximately 2,600 fish that provides on average 1.2 million eggs per year for rearing and stocking in Wyoming’s waters primarily in the Cody, Lander and Sheridan Regions as well as assisting Montana with their brood stock development.