California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Paiute cutthroat trout

Paiute Cutthroat Trout: History

Oncorhynchus clarkii seleniris

Paiute cutthroat trout are thought to have been isolated from Carson River basin Lahontan cutthroat trout within the Silver King basin in post-glacial times, within the last 8 to 10 thousand years. A series of water falls exists within the Silver King Canyon that most likely led to the isolation and divergence of Paiute from Lahontan cutthroat trout. Paiute cutthroat trout were introduced into Silver King Creek above Llewellyn Falls (above their historic range) during 1912 by Basque sheep herders. This early introduction outside the native range was the salvation of the fish because rainbow, cutthroat, and golden trout were stocked below Llewellyn Falls during the 1920's. These introduced trout interbred, competed with, preyed upon, and quickly displaced the native Paiute cutthroat trout. By the time these trout were scientifically described in 1933 by J. O. Snyder, they were already completely displaced from their native range. Because Paiute cutthroat trout readily take a fly or lure, and due to concerns of over harvest by anglers, Silver King Creek above Llewellyn Falls was closed to fishing in 1934.