The cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) is a fish species of the family Salmonidae native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean, Rocky Mountains, and Great Basin in North America. As a member of the genus Oncorhynchus, it is one of the Pacific trout, a group that includes the widely distributed rainbow trout. Cutthroat trout are popular gamefish, especially among anglers who enjoy fly fishing. The common name "cutthroat" refers to the distinctive red coloration on the underside of the lower jaw. The specific name clarkii was given to honor explorer William Clark, coleader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Cutthroat trout usually inhabit and spawn in small to moderately large, clear, well-oxygenated, shallow rivers with gravel bottoms. They reproduce in clear, cold, moderately deep lakes. They are native to the alluvial or freestone streams that are typical tributaries of the rivers of the Pacific Basin, Great Basin and Rocky Mountains. Cutthroat trout spawn in the spring and may inadvertently but naturally hybridize with rainbow trout, producing fertile cutbows. Some populations of the coastal cutthroat trout (O. c. clarkii) are semi-anadromous.
Several subspecies of cutthroat trout are currently listed as threatened in their native ranges due to habitat loss and the introduction of non-native species. Two subspecies, O. c. alvordensis and O. c. macdonaldi, are considered extinct. Cutthroat trout are raised in hatcheries to restore populations in their native range, as well as stock non-native lake environments to support angling. The cutthroat trout type species and several subspecies are the official state fish of seven western U.S. states.
Cutthroat trout require cold, clear, well-oxygenated, shallow rivers with gravel bottoms or cold, moderately deep lakes. Healthy stream-side vegetation that reduces siltation is typical of healthy cutthroat trout habitat and beaver ponds may provide refuge during periods of drought and over winter.
Cutthroat trout are opportunistic feeders. Stream-resident cutthroat trout primarily feed on larval, pupal and adult forms of aquatic insects (typically caddisflies, stoneflies, mayflies and aquatic dipterans), and adult forms of terrestrial insects (typically ants, beetles, grasshoppers and crickets) that fall into the water, fish eggs, small fish, along with crayfish, shrimp and other crustaceans. As they grow the proportion of fish consumed increases in most populations. In saltwater estuaries and along beaches, Coastal cutthroat trout feed on small fish such as sculpins, sand lance, salmon fry and herring. They also consume shrimp, small squid and krill. In fresh water, they consume the same diet as stream resident trout—aquatic insects and crustaceans, amphibians, earthworms, small fish and fish eggs.
|Scientific Name:||Oncorhynchus clarkii|
|Environment:||Lake, River, Stream|
|Ideal Temp:||39-59°F (4-15°C)|
|Lure Type:||Crankbaits, Flies, Plugs, Soft Plastics, Spinnerbaits, Topwater|
|World Record:||18.59 kg (41 lb 0 oz) Pyramid Lake, Nevada, USA 01-Dec-1925|
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