Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Lahontan cutthroat trout
(Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi)

Lahonton Cutthroat Trout - Stream
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Salmoniformes
Family: Salmonidae
Genus: Oncorhynchus
Species: clarkii
Subspecies: henshawi
Stream Dwellers:
Length: 10 inches
Weight: 1 pound
Lifespan: Less than 5 years
Feed: Terrestrial and aquatic insects
Lake Dwellers:
Length: 50 inches
Weight: 40 pounds
Lifespan: 5-14 years
Feed: Terrestrial and aquatic insects and smaller fish

Official Status:

Listed as Endangered on October 13, 1970 and reclassified as Threatened in 1975.

Life History:

Female sexual maturity is reached between the ages of three and four, while males mature at two to three years of age. Consecutive repeat spawning is rare. Like other cutthroat trout species, Lahontan cutthroat trout is a stream spawner, spawning between February and July. Spawning depends upon stream flow, elevation, and water temperature.

Distribution and Habitat:


Lahontan cutthroat trout, like other trout species, are found in a wide variety of cold-water habitats including large terminal alkaline lakes (e.g., Pyramid and Walker lakes); alpine lakes (e.g., Lake Tahoe and Independence Lake); slow meandering rivers (e.g., Humboldt River); mountain rivers (e.g., Carson, Truckee, Walker, and Marys Rivers); and small headwater tributary streams (e.g., Donner and Prosser Creeks).

Generally, Lahontan cutthroat trout occur in cool flowing water with available cover of well-vegetated and stable stream banks, in areas where there are stream velocity breaks, and in relatively silt free, rocky riffle-run areas.

The Lahontan cutthroat trout is endemic or native to the Lahontan basin of northern Nevada , eastern California , and southern Oregon. In 1844, there were 11 lake dwelling populations of Lahontan cutthroat trout and 400 to 600 steam dwelling populations in over 3,600 miles of streams within the major basins of Lake Lahontan .

Lahontan cutthroat trout currently occupy between 123 to 129 streams within the Lahontan basin and 32 to 34 streams are outside the basin, totaling approximately 482 miles of occupied habitat. The species is also found in five lakes, including two small populations in Summit and Independence Lakes . Self-sustaining populations of the species occur in 10.7 percent of the historic stream habitats and 0.4 percent of the historic lake habitats.



  As subpopulations of the species become isolated due to physical and biological fragmentation, migration rates decrease, local extirpation may become permanent, and the entire population may move incrementally toward extinction. Maintaining a networked population may provide the ability to recover LCT without having to establish fish in every tributary as well as establishing self-sustaining lake populations for long term persistence. Although the presence of non-native species have dramatically altered aquatic ecosystems, hybridization and competitive interaction between lake dwelling LCT and non-native species is not well understood.

Actions / Current Information:


  • Federal Register announcement of a 90-day finding on a petition to remove the LCT from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act of 1973
  • Frequently Asked Questions 90-Day Finding for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
  • Walker Lake Anglers - We Need Your Help!
  • Humboldt River Basin Safe Harbor Agreement (briefing statement)
  • Safe Harbor Agreement for Voluntary Enhancement/Restoration Activities Benefiting Lahontan Cutthroat Trout on Non-Federal Lands Within the Upper Humboldt River Distinct Population Segment Area
  • Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Safe Harbor Agreement Federal Register Notice
  • News Release: Private Landowners Offered “Safe Harbor” in Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Recovery
  • Safe Harbor Agreement for Voluntary Enhancement/Restoration Activities Benefiting Lahontan Cutthroat Trout on Private Lands within the Northwest DPS
  • Photo 1) LCT Safe Harbor Agreement signing group, Photo 2) Steve Thompson (USFWS) and Terry C. Crawforth (NDOW)
  • Short-Term Action Plan for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout in the Truckee River Basin (2.6 MB PDF)
  • Short-Term Action Plan for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout in the Walker River Basin (2.6 MB PDF)
    Last updated: April 16, 2014