Common Name
COLORADO RIVER CUTTHROAT TROUT

Scientific Name
ONCORHYNCHUS CLARKII PLEURITICUS

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The Colorado River cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarkii pleuriticus, is a race, or subspecies, of the cutthroat trout that is native to the upper Colorado River drainage of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Unfortunately, pure Colorado River cutthroat trout are now very rare throughout their historic range because of habitat loss/alteration, predation by and competition with nonnative fishes, and hybridization with nonnative trout, such as the rainbow trout. In fact, pure Colorado River cutthroat trout now naturally occur only in isolated high-elevation headwater streams. Because of the many threats to the Colorado River cutthroat trout, the subspecies is included on the Utah Sensitive Species List.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is currently working to restore pure Colorado River cutthroat trout to historic areas in Utah. Since 1999, large numbers of Colorado River cutthroat trout have been raised in hatcheries and then released into lakes in the Unita Mountains, in the northeastern part of the State.

The Colorado River cutthroat trout primarily eats invertebrates, but adults also eat small fishes. Like other cutthroat trout, the subspecies spawns in streams over gravel substrate in the spring. The cool, clear water of high-elevation streams and lakes is the preferred habitat for Colorado River cutthroat trout.

Sources:

  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Sigler, W. F. and J. W. Sigler. 1996. Fishes of Utah[:] a natural history. University of Utah Press. Salt Lake City. 375 pp.

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