Trouts and salmons

Cutthroat Trout Cutthroat Trout
Oncorhynchus clarki


To 30" (76 cm); 41 lbs (18.6 kg). Elongate, cylindrical or terete, moderately compressed; back dark olive; sides variable: silvery, olive, reddish to yellow-orange; belly lighter; dark spots on back, sides, and on median fins. Mouth extends beyond eye; basibranchial teeth present; bright red to red-orange slash mark on each side of throat, particularly visible in breeding males. 8-11 dorsal fin rays; 9-12 anal fin rays; adipose fin present. Caudal peduncle narrow; caudal fin slightly forked. Lateral line complete, 120-230 scales, usually 150 or more.

Endangered Status

Three subspecies of the Cutthroat Trout are on the U.S. Endangered Species List. The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout is classified as threatened in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. The Paiute Cutthroat Trout is classified as threatened in California. The Greenback Cutthroat Trout is classified as threatened in Colorado. The decline of these subspecies can be attributed to changes in habitat, usually caused by water-management practices but also by livestock grazing and the mining and timber industries; overfishing; and the introduction of non-native fishes which prey upon, compete with, and hybridize with the natives. A newly introduced illness called whirling disease may also develop into a major threat.


Inshore marine and estuarine waters; lakes; coastal, inland, and alpine streams.


From S. Alaska south to N. California; inland from S. British Columbia and Alberta south to New Mexico; E. California east to central Colorado. Introduced in W. United States.

Cutthroat Trout


There are more than 10 subspecies of Cutthroat Trouts, locally called "native trout," which vary in coloration and size. The largest specimen, caught in Pyramid Lake, Nevada, in 1925, weighed 41 lbs (18.6 kg), but this strain is now extinct. Other cutthroats, while rarely exceeding 15" (38 cm), are important in the inland and coastal fishery, and are sought by anglers.