PCT Bill Somer
Paiute cutthroat trout. Photo by William Somer, CDFW

Restoration of Paiute cutthroat trout to Silver King Creek, CA

Background and Significance of Study


The threatened Paiute cutthroat trout (PCT) is native to a 10km stretch of Lower Silver King Creek in the Carson-Iceberg wilderness, California. An initial transfer of PCT from Lower Silver King Creek to Upper Silver King Creek led to the establishment of several pure populations of PCT above fish barriers. Subsequently, beginning in the 1920s, the native PCT range in Lower Silver King Creek was stocked multiple times with numerous nonnative trout, including California golden trout, Lahontan cutthroat trout, and rainbow trout. This led to the extirpation of PCT in their native range, largely through competition.

After a chemical treatment in Lower Silver King Creek (to be completed Summer 2015), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will restore PCT to their native range using pure PCT from within the watershed above fish barriers. Genetic management to date has involved confirming putative pure (non-introgressed with nonnative trout) PCT populations. These populations will be used as source populations for the restoration of fish into Lower Silver King Creek.


This project has resulted in a genetic management plan: Paiute_GMP_final


California Department of Fish and Wildlife


more information:

US Fish and Wildlife Service

PCT Recovery Plan

Cal Trout


Trout Unlimited


Finger, A. J., Mahardja, B., and May, B. 2013. Genetic management plan and genetics report for the Paiute cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii seleniris). Report to USFWS. 75 pp. (pdf)

Finger, A. J., Anderson, E. A., Stephens, M. R., and May, B. P. 2011. Application of a method for estimating effective population size and admixture using diagnostic SNPs: Implications for conservation of threatened Paiute cutthroat trout in Silver King Creek, California. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences68:1369-1386. (pdf)

Finger, A. J., Stephens, M. R., Clipperton, N. C. and May B. P. 2009. Characterization of Six Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Distinguishing Lahontan and Paiute cutthroat trouts. Molecular Ecology Resources 9:759-763. (pdf)

For more information contact Dr. Mandi Finger: ajfinger@ucdavis.edu