Greenback cutthroat trout recovery gets stronger with Colorado project

LEADVILLE — Circling in captivity, Colorado’s imperiled state fish — the greenback cutthroat trout — shuns traditional fish food.

Its federal biologist caretakers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Leadville National Fish Hatchery try to entice the fish by dispensing grated beef liver, fresh shrimp and imported $11-a-pound Otohime morsels from Japan.

Decades of inbreeding also have rendered the greenback cutthroat extra susceptible to sickness. And when humans approach, the trout bangs against the concrete tank walls.

So hatchery manager Ed Stege fills the tanks with purified water and, as much as possible, shields the fish from visitors.

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