Back in the late 19th century states such as Colorado began to adopt their own official state symbols. A state symbol can come in the form of state animals, mammals, a state bird and flower, fruits, vegetables, insects, amphibians, nicknames, state seals, and much more.
State symbols were adopted by states to best represent them and their historical roots, and past and present successes. Like all other states, there are many Colorado state symbols, most of which were adopted in the 20th century, with several more being adopted recently in the 21st century.
What is the Colorado State Fish?
The state fish of Colorado is the Greenback Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii somias). This awesome and unique freshwater fish was adopted as the official state fish on March 15, 1994 as a result of an act of the General Assembly within the state. Colorado has a history of state fish, with the Rainbow Trout being the original state fish of Colorado from 1954 to 1994; however, it was never made official.
Back in the early days of Colorado, the Greenback Cutthroat Trout was found in abundance throughout the state, native to small creeks, streams, rivers, and most small bodies of fresh water. Unfortunately, mining and human development continued to expand across the state, which led to massive decreases in their numbers due to pollution from the mining trails seeping into the streams.
As their numbers continued to decline, biologists and environmentalists began to fear the extinction of this native and once-thriving fish until the late 1980s. Fortunately, during the early 1990s, researchers discovered small population groups of the Greenbacks in several remote streams residing in the Rocky Mountain National Park!
Shortly after this, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and National Park workers began taking steps to protect and preserve these fish. It is still an ongoing situation but giant steps have been made nonetheless to reintroduce these fish back to the waters of Colorado for repopulation.
Below are some interesting facts about the Colorado state fish that you probably didn’t know about:
- Their name originates from the red streak that travels across their body and ends on the lower jaw.
- New Mexico’s state fish is the Rio Grande cutthroat trout. There are a total of 13 core populations around the world.
- Wild populations of these fish have been demolished over the past several years due to energy consumption, logging, mining, and habitat fragmentation.
- Westslope cutthroat trout is the Montana state fish.
- In the states of Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico alone, anglers spent almost $1.7 billion in 2006 on fishing expenditures.
- Cutthroat trouts typically live for around 6 or 7 years old.
Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, indicative of the state and its history, and the Centennial State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in the Colorado state insect. This interesting fact about Colorado and a whole host of others are what makes the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there or are researching the historical events of the state.