Cutthroat Trout Cutthroat trout encompass large group of related salmonoids that populated most of the western United States. Some of the better known species include the Bonneville, Lahontan, Rio Grande, Colorado River, Snake River, Greenback, and Yellowstone to name a few. Due to a large number of factors, including introduction of “exotic” species and habitat degradation, many cutthroat species today are in danger of being lost, and even some populations that are healthy have been genetically degraded due to stockings of rainbows and other cutthroat species.
As the name implies, the bright reddish-orange slash on the throat is a major distinguishing mark of these numerous species. Many of the species are so similar morphologically that only expects are able to tell them apart and even then sometime genetic testing is necessary to conclusively differentiate between them.
Cutthroat trout inhabit relatively clear, cold streams, rivers, and lakes. Their preferred temperatures range from 40 to 60 degrees. These spring spawners typically build their redds in gravel riffles after the river flow have abated.
Intensive harvest by anglers has affected the abundance and size structure of most species. This is in part a result for the readiness of cutthroat to take a fly or lure, making them rather popular with anglers.