Native Trout Program - Coastal Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki)
cutthroat trout range along the western coast of North America from
Prince William Sound, Alaska, to the Eel River, California (Behnke 1992).
One of at least fourteen subspecies of cutthroat trout in western North
America, the coastal cutthroat trout exhibits life history strategies
unique to the entire species.
Coastal cutthroat trout have been considered a sensitive species in
recent years and have been considered for listing under the Endangered
Species Act (ESA). Coastal cutthroat trout have been impacted by anthropogenic
practices such as logging (Holtby 1987, Johnson et al. 1999), over-harvest
(Giger 1972, Ricker 1982, Gresswell and Harding 1997), and artificial
propagation (Campton 1985, Flagg et al. 1995). In the Columbia River
basin, hydropower has been linked to the declines of upper Columbia
River stocks through passage impacts (Deriso et al. 1996, Deriso 2001).
In the lower Columbia River, regulated flow has resulted in a shift
in the amplitude and timing of high flow events (PNRC 1978). This shift
in hydrological character influences physical, chemical and biological
habitat parameters of the lower Columbia River mainstem and estuary.
These changing parameters potentially impact all Pacific salmonids that
use the lower Columbia River mainstem and estuary year around or intermittently
as nursery habitat or a migratory corridor.
investigations by the US Fish and Wildlife Service - Columbia River
Fisheries Program Office (USFWS in prep) were aimed at 1) identifying
the timing of immigration and emigration between the tributaries and
lower Columbia River mainstem and estuary, 2) identifying areas of mainstem
habitat use by emigrating smolts, 3) describing the physiological and
morphological characters of smolting, and 4) describing movement and
habitat use of adult coastal cutthroat trout in the lower Columbia River
mainstem and estuary. These investigations support previous findings,
indicating that the lower Columbia River mainstem and estuary are extensively
used by multiple life stages of coastal cutthroat trout throughout the
year. These investigations have also indicated that coastal cutthroat
trout may use multiple tributaries within a season and that a certain
degree of straying may occur.
Future work on this project will attempt to estimate the extent of coastal
cutthroat trout fluvial movements among neighboring tributaries, estimate
the rate of straying by returning anadromous adults, estimate between
season and between life stage survival for coastal cutthroat trout,
and differentiate between sympatric life history strategies within a
population. Continued work toward understanding the life history and
population dynamics of this species in the lower Columbia River basin
is necessary determining an accurate distribution and abundance of coastal
cutthroat trout in the southwestern Washington/lower Columbia River
Because coastal cutthroat trout make extensive use of the mainstem and
estuary (as both juveniles and adults), these fish may be more susceptible
to changes in the productivity of those areas than any other Pacific
salmonid. Ultimately, understanding the population dynamics of coastal
cutthroat trout in response to habitat restoration efforts in the lower
Columbia River mainstem and estuary may not only prove beneficial toward
the management of this species, but toward the management of all Pacific
salmonids that use this area of the lower Columbia River basin intermittently
as nursery habitat or a migratory corridor.
Johnson, J.R., J. Baumsteiger, J. Zydlewski, J.M. Hudson, and W. Ardren. 2010. Evidence of panmixia between sympatric life history forms of coastal cutthroat trout in two lower Columbia River tributaries. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 30:691-701. Abstract
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2008. Movements of Coastal Cutthroat Trout (Onchorhynchus clarki clarki) in the Lower Columbia River: Tributary, Mainstem and Estuary Use. (pdf 1.2mb)
Behnke, R.J. 1992. Native trout of western North America. American Fisheries
Society Monograph 6. Bethesda, Maryland.
Campton, D.E., and F.M. Utter. 1985. Natural hybridization between steehead
trout (Salmo gairdneri) and coastal cutthroat trout (Salmo clarki clarki)
in two Puget Sound streams. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic
Deriso, R.B. 2001. Bayesian analysis of stock survival and recovery
of spring and summer Chinook of the Snake River basin. In Incorporating
Uncertainty in Fishery Models, J.M. Berksen, L.L. Kline, and D.J. Orth,
editors. American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, Maryland.
Deriso, R., D. Marmorek, and I. Parnell. 1996. Retrospective analysis
of passage mortality of spring Chinook of the Columbia River. In Plan
for Analyzing and Testing Hypotheses (PATH): Final Report of Retrospective
Analysis for Fiscal Year 1996, D.R. Marmorek and 21 coauthors, compilers
and editors. ESSA Technologies Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia.
Flagg, T.A., F.W. Waknitz, D.J. Maynard, G.B. Milner, and C.V. Mahnken.
1995. The effect of hatcheries on native coho salmon populations in
the lower Columbia River. Pages 366-375 in Proceedings of the American
Fisheries Society Symposium on the Uses and Effects of Cultured Fishes
in Aquatic Ecosystems, March 1-17, 1994, H. Schramm and B. Piper, editors.
American Fisheries Society Symposium 15, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Giger, R.D. 1972. Ecology and management of coastal cutthroat trout
in Oregon. Fisheries Research Report No. 6, 61 pp. Oregon State Game
Commission, Corvallis, Oregon.
Gresswell, R.E., and R.D. Harding. 1997. The role of special angling
regulations in management of coastal cutthroat trout. Pages 151-156
in Sea-run Cutthroat Trout: Biology, Management, and Future Conservation,
J.D. Hall, P.A. Bisson, and R.E. Gresswell, editors. American Fisheries
Society, Corvallis, Oregon.
Holtby, L.B. 1987. The effects of logging on the coho salmon of Carnation
Creek, British Columbia. Pages 159-174 in Proceedings of the Workshop:
Applying 15 Years of Carnation Creek Results, T.W. Chamberlin, editor.
Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, British Columbia.