Snake River Cutthroat
The Wyoming Cutthroat Trout is highly revered by fly fishers.
The Wyoming cutthroat trout is Wyoming’s state fish and can be found in every part of the state. The Cutthroat Trout is the native trout of the Rocky Mountains. Unlike Brown Trout which were originally introduced to the Eastern part of the United States. Cutthroat Trout are originally from the Western part of the United States.
The cutthroat is popular with fly fishers because they are not as wary as other species of trout. They tend to be aggressive feeders and scrappy fighters and can be caught on a wide variety of fly patterns.
Cutthroat trout have unmistakable color and markings. The main difference between cutthroats and other trout is a red line that runs under their jaws. Cutthroats can have pink pectoral and ventral fins. Cutthroats can grow from 10 to 20 inches in length. They typically have longer heads and jaws than rainbow and can often be distinguished from the rainbow by their bigger spots.
Wyoming has four subspecies of cutthroat trout, which is reported to be more than any other state. They include…
The Snake River Cutthroat
The Snake River cutthroat is the most popular of the four Wyoming cutthroat trout subspecies. The Snake River cutthroat, is also known as the fine spotted cutthroat. This is because of their small spots scattered along their body.
The Snake River cutthroat’s native range is from Jackson Lake to the area now flooded by Palisades Reservoir. Snake River cutthroat trout do well in hatcheries and have been used to stock a variety of rivers and lakes outside of their native range. They tend to like big bushy dry flies and provide anglers with plenty of action and scrappy fights.
The Yellowstone Cutthroat
The Yellowstone cutthroat trout is easily distinguished from the other trout species by its two prominent red slashes on the lower jaw. It also stands out from other Wyoming cutthroat trout subspecies by its large black spots. It has drab brownish, yellow, or silvery color. Even in mature fish, the Yellowstone cutthroat doesn’t develop the brighter colors that the other species do.
The Colorado River cutthroat
The Colorado River cutthroat is found in the headwaters of the Green and Little Snake rivers. And typically reside in the Southwest corner of the state.
The Bonneville Cutthroat
The Bonneville cutthroat trout, also known as the Utah or Bear River cutthroat, is Wyoming’s rarest cutthroat. It’s found in the upper Bear River watershed. This includes the Smiths Fork River, Thomas Fork river, Woodruff reservoir and Sulfur Creek Reservoirs.
The Cutt-Slam Program
The Wyoming Game and Fish has created a program designed to encourage anglers to become familiar with the Wyoming cutthroat trout subspecies. The Cutt-Slam program will also help people gain appreciation for the department cutthroat management program.
The Wyoming cutthroat trout is a beautiful native fish that will give anglers joy for years to come. Provided we do our part to insure and preserve their wild and natural habitat.
I encourage everyone to be good stewards of the environment. Practice catch and release, and when you leave the back country, take everything that you brought with you. By practicing good conservation we can preserve the native Wyoming cutthroat trout for future generations.