The Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Stream simulates freshwater stream habitat with the swift flow, crystal clear water, and cold temperatures that native cutthroat trout require.
The Rio Grande cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki virginialis), the state fish of New Mexico, is native to the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande cutthroat and the Gila trout (O. gilae) are the only native trout in NM.
Called cutthroat because of the reddish-orange slashes on either side of the lower jaw, this fish prefers clear, cold streams and lakes.
Today Rio Grande cutthroats are mostly restricted to headwaters, although their historic range was much once more extensive. Their numbers have been greatly reduced due to hybridization and competition with introduced trout such as rainbows, browns and brook trout. In addition, most streams occupied by Rio Grande cutthroat trout have been severely impacted by livestock overgrazing and trampling of stream banks, siltation and altered flows.
Spawning occurs in spring and early summer, and eggs are laid in gravel nests built by the female in oxygen-rich, flowing water. Cutthroat trout take about four years to reach breeding age.
Opportunistic feeders, they will eat insects, crustaceans, zooplankton and smaller fish.
Designed and constructed in-house, the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Stream simulates freshwater stream habitat with the swift flow, crystal clear water and cold temperatures that native cutthroat trout require.
A forest mural, fallen logs and living trees add to the mountain stream ambience.