Conejo Valley Fly Fishers

Home ] Up ]


Steve Parmenter of the California Department of Fish and Game offers this update on goldens:

"In my opinion the dust has yet to settle on what to call the golden trouts.  Most workers now consider them to be subspecies of rainbow, although the official checklist of the American Fisheries Society and American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists have yet to catch up.  (They call them all Oncorhynchus aguabonita and do not deal with spubspecies within that nominal group.  I 'm sure that will change when the next new checklist is published).

There is general agreement to use Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita for trout of the South Fork Kern River and Golden Trout Creek (which includes including Volcano Creek!).  Common names include "Volcano Creek Golden Trout" and "California Golden Trout."  Geologic evidence suggests Golden Trout Creek (eg. Volcano Creek) has been separated from the South Fork Kern for ~8,000 years.  I am much more concerned about conservation biology than the niceties of taxonomic designation, so for management purposes I draw a clear distinction between these groups, even though the trout are considered to be the same subspecies.  In other words, it is necessary to protect both populations and their separate habitats from threats, and the fish should never be mixed by transplantation."

The trout in the Cottonwood Lakes derive from an 1876 transplant of 12 O. m. aguabonita from  Mulkey Creek .  Mulkey Creek was historically fishless, but had been stocked by that time.  Genetic testing tells us these fish are not a good example of the parent population for 2 reasons.  First, the sample of 12 fish was inadequate to include all of the genetic variability of the original stock.  Second, at some time in the past, perhaps over 70 years ago, a small amount of rainbow trout ancestry entered the Cottonwood Lakes gene pool.

Little Kern goldens are "listed" as O. m. whitei  under the endangered species act, but others consider these to be the same as Kern River rainbow O.m. gilberti and would use the same scientific name for both forms.

I recommend Behnke's 1992 Native Trout of Western North America, and Phil Pister's chapter in Trout (Stackpole Books) for more details."




Created by Bill's WebDesigns by Bill