Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Nevada


Trout Unlimited has a message for those charting the future of the Sierra Nevada's Truckee River: give the "wimpy" trout a break. It urged more respect for the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout, which once migrated 100 miles from a desert lake in Nevada up the Truckee River to Lake Tahoe. The once-abundant Lahontan cutthroats grew 40 pounds or larger before they went locally extinct in the Truckee River after Derby Dam was built east of Reno in 1905. Under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the tribe are reintroducing the native cutthroats to the river. The result has been a sort of surf 'n' turf battle between tribes and conservationists who want to restore the river that runs through downtown Reno and avid fishermen who don't want to compromise a world-class sport fishery. Trout Unlimited warns the Truckee River "is not a healthy watershed by any but the most generous estimate." It said dumping 8-inch cutthroats "into an apparent black hole speaks volumes about the shortcomings of a production-based hatchery program and the habitat, not the native fish." Of the 50,000 hatchery cutthroat fish dumped in the Truckee last October, only 10 were recovered this spring