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Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Salmoniformes
Family: Salmonidae
Subfamily: Salmoninae
Genus: Oncorhynchus

A cutbow (Oncorhynchus clarkii × mykiss) is an interspecific fertile hybrid between a rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and a cutthroat trout (O. clarkii). Cutbow hybrids may occur naturally where the native ranges of both species overlap--coastal rainbow trout (O. mykiss irideus) and coastal cutthroat trout (O. clarkii clarkii) and Columbia River redband trout (O. mykiss gardineri) and westslope cutthroat trout (O. clarkii lewisi).[1] However, natural separation of spawning habitat limited hybridization in most native populations of rainbows and cutthroats. Introduction of non-native hatchery raised rainbow trout into the native ranges of cutthroat subspecies increased the rate of hybridization. Some native cutthroat populations are, as a result, at risk due to genetic pollution.[2]


In the 1880s, rainbow trout were stocked in a number of different waters that had cutthroat trout in them. Shortly after, cutbows were prominent in these waters. Cutbows are created when the female cutthroat trout's eggs are fertilized by a bigger male rainbow trout. Many fishermen get the cutbow confused with rainbow and cutthroat trout. The cutbow has red or orange slash markings under the jaw and a silver body. Though most cutbow have dots on their bodies, patterns vary between each fish.[3]

Cutbows spawn during spring and prefer temperatures between 40 and 50°F. They are able to reproduce in natural habitats and in hatcheries.[3] They are almost immune to whirling disease, which affects most trout in Colorado.[3]


  1. ^ Behnke, Robert J. (2002). "Rainbow and Redband Trout". Trout and Salmon of North America. Tomelleri, Joseph R. (illustrator). New York: The Free Press. pp. 77, 140, 151, 152, 154. ISBN 0-7432-2220-2.
  2. ^ Cutbow[permanent dead link], ECOS Guide to the Ecology of the Northern Rockies
  3. ^ a b c "ColoradoCasters: Let's get to know..."The Cutbow"". Colorado Caster Blog. Retrieved 5 May 2013.

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