Redband trout can be found in a variety of habitats depending on the age of the fish. Adults are generally found in areas of abundant cover associated with deep pools, dead trees, undercut banks, and overhanging vegetation. Juveniles are often found in shallow stream habitats. The redband trout is a spring (March through June) spawner with eggs usually hatching in four to seven weeks.
Chewaucan Basin Redband
According to Behnke, several desiccated basins west of Alvord Basin and north of Lahontan Basin hold redband trout as their native trout species. One of those redband trout holding basins is the Chewaucan Basin.
The redband is a unique subspecies adapted to the Chewaucan Basin ecosystem. In these closed high desert basins, redband trout have evolved to survive in environments with vast extremes of both water flow and temperature.
According Behnke, Chewaucan Basin redband are one of only eight separate desert basin populations of interior native redband trout.
Historic Distribution of Chewaucan Basin Redband
The Chewaucan Basin redband population today consists of four separate groups - three in Lake Albert Basin and one in Summer Lake Basin. Lake Albert and Summer Lake are remnants of ancient Lake Chewaucan and became naturally separated by large sand dunes.
Albert Lake in the Chewaucan Basin is a highly alkali lake which has probably been inhospitable to trout for hundreds of years. The trout in this basin likely migrated into Chewaucan Marsh. Chewaucan Marsh no longer exists today due to channelization, draining of marshlands, and water diversions to support farming and ranching. All streams now terminate before reaching this historic marsh and resulted in fragmented and isolated populations within the Albert Lake Basin.
The single population in the Summer Lake Basin has been naturally isolated from all other trout populations for around 10,000 years. No hatchery fish have ever been planted in this area, unlike the Albert Lake Basin.