Lahontan cutthroat trout spawn at Fallen Leaf Lake


Efforts to re-establish Lahontan cutthroat trout in Fallen Leaf Lake have resulted in a native, lacustrine strain of LCT to spawn in the Lake Tahoe Basin for the first time since their extirpation in the 1930.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with partners began stocking Fallen Leaf in 2002 with Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout. This effort was undertaken in order to reintroduce a lake form of this subspecies within the Tahoe basin. The Pilot Peak LCT strain is native to the basin.

This lake strain is thought to live 15 to 20 years.

The largest LCT captured prior to the 1930s from Fallen Leaf Lake was 29 pounds. The California state record for this subspecies is from Lake Tahoe in 1911 and weighed more than 31 pounds.

Fallen Leaf Lake is historic LCT habitat connected to Lake Tahoe by Taylor Creek.

To manage Lahontan spawning and prevent hybridization with rainbow trout, two weirs have been installed in Glen Alpine Creek, one at the interface of the lake and creek and the other approximately 230 meters upstream. Both weirs have been in place since mid-March to control access to spawning areas from Fallen Leaf Lake and act as a barricade to downstream movement of rainbow trout in the upper watershed. Although the weirs block access for mature trout to Glen Alpine Creek, other native species found in the watershed, Lahontan redside shiners, Paiute sculpin, and speckled dace are able to move through the half inch spacing of the bars at either weir.

Upon completion of the spawning season, both weirs will be outfitted with a fry box to capture fry produced within and above the spawning areas to ensure that hybridization is not occurring and to measure LCT reproductive success. Once fry are checked genetically, LCT will be released into Fallen Leaf Lake.


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Comments (7)
  1. Steven says - Posted: May 23, 2013

    Are these Cutthroat from Marlette lake? If not, what type of Cutthroat are in Marlette?

  2. Victor says - Posted: May 24, 2013

    The article does not mention the fact that the Rainbows are killed when they try to spawn in Glen Alpine Creek, a fishery I have fished for more than 20 years. Sadly a fishery that is no more unless you are ok with catching skinny and short LCT. Say good bye to Rainbows in the Truckee Tahoe watershed, that is the direction the Wildlife Service is heading. HANG ON if you are an angler, what we have known to be a fishery here in the Tahoe area is on its’ way out.

  3. West Shore Gal says - Posted: May 24, 2013

    The other strain of LCT was from Lake Heenan and Summit Lake, which are not the strain from Tahoe/Pyramid. The Pilot Peak Strain is from the Pilot Peak range in North Eastern Nevada close to the Utah border. These LCT were transplants from Pyramid, and they were rediscovered sometime in the 1970s.

    I believe that Independence Lake, north of Truckee, still has it’s original LCT population. Don’t know what strain is in Marlette Lake, but they probably started stocking with the Summit Lake strain. Doesn’t Marlette Lake have rainbows in it?

  4. 'HangUpsFromWayBack" says - Posted: May 24, 2013

    Sad as it was Victor was no reason to do what they did,people just sit around do nothing ,fish,rivers,watershed that’s natural should be left alone,why they play the nature god beyond lot people waste of money.
    Wait see some one will catch few rainbows take them up there realease again,kinda like the Pike story up north shore.

  5. WQ says - Posted: May 24, 2013

    HangUps, can you please re-write your comment. I think you have something good to say, but it doesn’t read right. Missing verbs and other words.

  6. thing fish says - Posted: May 24, 2013

    WQ it helps if you just embrace the surrealism, and read the posts in a ‘prospector/old timey’ accent.

  7. muir says - Posted: May 25, 2013

    killing non-native species is a good thing, oh poor rainbow lol