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Fishes of Yosemite National Park (1941, 1948) by Willis A. Evans and Orthello L. Wallis


CUTTHROAT TROUT

Salmo clarkii Richardson

The cutthroat trout is native and widespread throughout the western mountain areas. A multitude of names have been given to the slightly different types or subspecies occurring in the various portions of its range. These include: coastal cutthroat, Montana blackspotted trout,

CUTTHROAT TROUT—Courtesy California Fish and Game
[click to enlarge]
CUTTHROAT TROUT—Courtesy California Fish and Game
and Tahoe trout, all of which types have been stocked within the park. To simplify the situation they may all be correctly referred to as cutthroat trout, Salmo clarkii.

The cutthroat trout can be distinguished from the rainbow trout, the species it most nearly resembles, by the presence of red dash marks on the membranes of the lower jaw (hence the name), by the presence of teeth at the base of the tongue (on the hyoid bone), and by the lack of the red stripe on the sides.7

This trout has been introduced into Yosemite waters several times since it was first planted in 1892. Planting records reveal that this species has been stocked in the Tuolumne river at several locations, the Dana Fork of Tuolumne, Upper Bridalveil Creek, South Fork Merced, Lyell Fork Tuolumne, Yosemite Creek and in the following lakes: Ostrander, Gaylor, Peeler, Tenaya, Chilnualna, and Grant (Ten Lakes group) Lakes.

Generally the cutthroat trout has failed to become well established in any of the waters within the park. Concerning this fact, Dr. Carl L. Hubbs suggests that where rainbow trout have been stocked in the same waters, they almost invariably eliminate the cutthroats by competition and by hybridization.

The cutthroat has fared better in the lakes than in the streams of the park. Information at hand indicates that it is present in Tenaya lake, where specimens were taken in 1948 by trolling spinners in deep water. Lake specimens occasionally reach three to six pounds in weight. In the spring, like the rainbow, they ascend the small tributary streams to spawn. Many regard this trout as inferior to other species in gaminess, but it is highly esteemed throughout other portions of its native range. At present, the cutthroat is considered of minor importance in Yosemite National Park.

7. The red dash may be absent, especially in immature cutthroats and the hyoid teeth may occasionally be lacking. Identification is, therefore, difficult at times.



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