The Cutthroat Trout

The Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki) was named after Captain Clark of the famous Lewis and Clark that lead to the exploration of much of the western United States from European travellers and explorers.

Common Names

The Cutthroat Trout is known by many other names including cut, native trout, coastal cutthroat, Clark’s trout, red-throated trout, short- tailed trout, lake trout, sea trout, brook trout, native trout, Yellowstone cutthroat, Snake River cutthroat, Lahontan cutthroat, Rio Grande cutthroat, Colorado cutthroat, Utah cutthroat, Paiute cutthroat, harvest trout and blackspotted trout.

Species Confusion over Subspecies

Cutthroat Trout are native to western side of North America and due to various geological reasons, the species has developed over 15 separate subspecies. Each Cutthroat Trout is native to its own river drainage basin.

  • Oncorhynchus clarkii clarki
  • Oncorhynchus clarkii behnkei
  • Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri
  • Oncorhynchus clarkii carmichaeli
  • Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi
  • Oncorhynchus clarkii pleuriticus
  • Oncorhynchus clarkii utah
  • Oncorhynchus clarkii virginalis

  • Oncorhynchus clarkii alvordensis
  • Oncorhynchus clarkii macdonaldi

  • Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi
  • Oncorhynchus clarkii seleniris
  • Oncorhynchus clarkii stomias

Spawning Time Depends on Subspecies

Cutthroat trout spawn in late-winter, early-spring spawners and late summer depending on their distribution and sub species. The range of spawning times has confused many anglers.

Knowing there are over 13 different species, some of which are extinct, will hep you focus on the particular fish you are after and their particular life-cycle and feeding habits. Cutthroat Trout spawn in headwater streams by building bests, known as reads.

All Tackle Record Lahontan Cutthroat

The largest all-tackle record was recorded with the Lahontan cutthroat in 1925 at 41 pounds in Pyramid Lake. The Lahontan Cuthroat is now highly threatened because it native waters, the Truckee River, was diverted in 1938 which saw the entire native population killed off. They only survive now due to government stocking programs. If the programs were to stop, the Lahontan Cutthroat would become extinct.


Cutthroat trout are native to the western half on North America, being heavily distributed in the United States. They are found off the coast of North America, in coastal rivers, land locked rivers and lakes and have been introduced to the Great Lakes.

The Cutthroat Trout species can be found from as far south from Eel River, California to Prince William Sound in Alaska in the far north. The landlocked regions include Alberta, Canada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana and many other states in the west.