DistributionRead full entry
Global Range: (<100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)) This subspecies is native to and still occurs in the Little Kern River drainage, Tulare County, California; it occurs above the falls on the lower river (Moyle 2002).
Historically, the Little Kern golden trout occupied approximately 160 kilometers of the Little Kern River and its tributaries (Moyle 2002). By 1973, the range was greatly reduced to five headwater streams (upper Soda Springs Creek, Deadman Creek, lower wet meadows creek, Willow Creek, and Fish Creek), and an introduced population in Coyote Creek, or approximately 10 percent of the historical range (Christenson 1984, Moyle 2002). Between 1974 and 1995, a series of chemical treatments were conducted in an effort to remove introgressed Little Kern golden trout populations throughout the basin. Little Kern golden trout were then reintroduced from a few local donor populations, yet introgressed populations continue to persist in the Little Kern River drainage (Stephens 2007). The current range of the Little Kern golden trout is therefore difficult to ascertain because restocked populations continue to exhibit rainbow trout alleles at low, moderate and even high levels (USFWS 2011). The most recent genetic evidence suggests that the least genetically compromised Little Kern golden trout populations (exhibiting between 0-2 percent introgression levels) exist in Upper North Fork Clicks Creek, Upper Clicks Creek, Trout Meadow Creek, Little Kern River above Broder's cabin, and Little Kern River above Wet Meadow Creek (Stephens 2007, 2010), With the exception of Coyote Creek, a stream immediately adjacent to the Little Kern River drainage, no known populations of Little Kern golden trout occur outside of the Little Kern River watershed (C. McGuire, personal communication, 2011, cited by USFWS 2011).