LEVEL OF CONCERN: CRITICAL
California Golden trout are likely to become extinct in the wild in the next 50 years. While the Golden Trout Creek (GTC) population is relatively secure, the South Fork Kern River (SFKR) population is threatened by hybridization with hatchery-origin Coastal Rainbow trout, and predation and competition from introduced Brown trout.
The drought of 2012-2016 caused meadow habitat near Volcano Creek – a key tributary for California Golden trout – to dry almost completely. Due to poor habitat conditions and uncertainty over the duration of drought, a fish rescue was conducted by CDFW in September 2016. These fish are being held for reintroduction as soon as favorable stream conditions allow. Better genetic data have also revealed fewer “pure” populations of California Golden trout exist in the wild than previously thought.
Scroll down for more information about the California Golden trout. To read the full species account, click here.
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Fish photo, Jim Inman. Water photo,Wyatt Horsley. People photo, Jacob Katz.