Bonneville cutthroat trout
|Bonneville cutthroat trout|
|Subspecies:||O. c. utah|
|Oncorhynchus clarki utah
The Bonneville cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki utah) is a subspecies of cutthroat trout native to tributaries of the Great Salt Lake, U.S.A. Most of the fish's current and historic range is in Utah, but they are also found in Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada. This species is one of 14 recognized subspecies of cutthroat trout native to the western United States.
Bonneville cutthroats are descended from cutthroat trout that once inhabited the Late Pleistocene-aged Lake Bonneville of Utah, eastern Nevada, and southern Idaho. Since the desiccation of Lake Bonneville into the Great Salt Lake, which is too salty for any kind of fish life, Bonneville cutthroats have been isolated in smaller populations in the headwaters of mountain streams and in lakes of the Bonneville drainage basin. The isolation has resulted in much phenotypic variation among populations.
Bonneville cutthroat trout primarily eat other fish, while smaller individuals and to a lesser extent adults consume a lot of insects and various benthic organisms. They spawn near the mouths of streams over gravel substrate in the springtime, having an incubation period of 24 to 25 days.
This fish has sparsely scattered, very distinct round spots over its upper body. They are clothed in subdued colors of silver-gray to charcoal, the upper body having subtle hues of pink on the flanks during spawning. These fish, particularly the Bear Lake strain, often lack the bright crimson jaw slash that, at times, may be yellow.
Cutthroat and rainbow trout differ in that cutthroats have basibranchial (hyoid) teeth in their throat between the gill arches and behind the tongue. They also typically have longer heads and jaws than the rainbow and often can be distinguished from the rainbow by their larger spots.
The Bonneville cutthroat is known to be more vulnerable to anglers because of a general lack of wariness and can be caught on a wide variety of bait. As the primary native trout of the inland west, cutthroat trout suffered intense fishing pressure for commerce and sustenance from the 1850s through the 1920s. At one time they were so numerous they were considered a nuisance, but today they are on the Utah Sensitive Species List. They are threatened by predation and competition by non-native fish, hybridization with non-native fish (in particular the rainbow trout, resulting in cutbows), and loss of habitat.
- The Bonneville cutthroat trout (archived copy)
- State of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
- From the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources "Utah fish species".
- Wyoming Fish & Game Commission