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State Fish: Lahontan Cutthroat Trout

The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout is native to the Truckee, Walker and Humboldt River systems, and was adopted as a state symbol in 1981.  The Cutthroat were a major component in the diet of some of the native peoples of the Great Basin, but the coming of Euro-Americans had an adverse affect on the fish.  Sawdust from upstream mills on the Truckee, Walker and Carson Rivers polluted the waters.  Quartz mills dumped toxic chemicals into the rivers.  Water was diverted for industrial and agricultural purposes and this made it difficult for fish to spawn.  Fish caught at Lake Lahontan are not safe for human consumption because of mercury runoff from mills along the Carson River.  The Cutthroat Trout has been classified as an endangered species in recent years.

Photo Credit:
Nevada Historical Society