The Cutthroat Trout of the Pacific Northwest
The cutthroat trout can be found in fresh, brackish or salt water in North America mostly west of the Rocky Mountains.
This species is noted as an important sport fish as it can be quite large and put up a great fight. The flesh is orangey red, rich and of excellent flavor when smoked, fried or baked.
The cutthroat has a short conical head with a somewhat pointed to rounded snout and a rather large mouth with well developed teeth on both jaws. One of the main color characteristics is two orange to red lines in the skin folds of each side of the lower jaw. The coastal cutthroat trout is colored dark to olive-green with numerous black spots and may appear more blue with silvery sides.
When I was a boy back in the early 60s, my family and I would fish at the mouth of what was then known as trout creek, ( but since then has been renamed Mohun creek). This creek is just north of Campbell River. The sea run cutthroat fishing was incredible with consistently large fish.
The Cutthroat trout evolved into its current form in the pacific northwest in many isolated streams, as the evolved, they became a number of sub species. Evolving in their separate drainage’s, each sub species took on their own color and traits. The differences of these sub species of cutthroat has lead to a very fragile species overall. With little competition from other trout throughout their evolution, they are now left vulnerable to a lot of different threats. When man came from Europe, with him came the desire to plant other species of trout. These other species such as the lake trout, brown trout and brook trout have had severe impacts on the cutthroat species. In many cases these other fish have caused the cutthroat populations to decline.