Part 1: Fishing for Cutthroat Trout

Facts About Cutthroat Trout


020305L_Cutthroat Trou tProfile

Note the Band of Bright Color from One Gill to the Other! *


The unusual name “cutthroat” comes from the splash of color along the throat.

Other than the bright orange-red color from gill-to-gill, this game fish comes in an amazingly broad range of colors — from yellow to green to gray. The coloration depends on the waters he lives in and his history.

Like the rainbow trout, this is a Pacific-area freshwater fish, related to the salmon family.

The Bad News About Cutthroats

Generally, this is a prized game fish in many parts of the US.  In others, especially Colorado and Yellowstone Park, the remaining subspecies of the cutthroats are either endangered or state fish departments are trying to get them added to the endangered list.

There are reasons for the dropping numbers of cutthroats. First, is the loss of habitat — pollution is taking its toll.  These fish were protected for thousands of years by living in isolated watersheds and river basins.

As man has moved into the further reaches of America, he has disturbed the balance that has protected cutthroats for so many years. When non-native fish have been introduced to a cutthroat trout area, they have often been more aggressive than the cutthroats.

Brown and brook trout tend to replace cutthroats in regions were they have been introduced. Because of their slow reproduction rate, cutthroats are very sensitive to over-harvesting.

Cutthroats freely breed with rainbows  to create a “cutbow.”  They also easily breed with Apache trout and Gila trout. Thus, there are fewer cutthroats each year.

Many of the cutthroats migrate to sea (Pacific Ocean) if they can and are then called sea trout. They can reach 20 lbs. However, most of these trout say in freshwater and stay in the 1-2 lb. range.


* This photo is used by permission of Vantage Point Concepts.  This image is part of the Wild Wings Artwork Collection.


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