Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Paiute Cutthroat Trout
(Oncorhynchus clarkii seleniris)

Paiute Cutthroat Trout
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Salmoniformes
Family: Salmonidae
Genus: Oncorhynchus
Species: clarkii
Subspecies: seleniris
Max Length: 10 inches
Weight: 1 pound
Lifespan: Less than 5 years
Feed: Terrestrial and aquatic insects

Official Status:

Listed as Endangered on March 11, 1967 and reclassified as Threatened on July 16, 1975 .

Life History:

Paiute cutthroat trout reach sexual maturity at the age of two years. Peak spawning activity occurs in June and July. The eggs hatch in six to eight weeks and the fry emerge from the gravel in another two to three weeks. Young-of-the-year fish rear in mainstem shoals or backwaters, and often move into intermittent tributary streams until they reach about 50 mm in length

Distribution and Habitat:


The historic distribution of the Paiute cutthroat trout is limited to 14.7 kilometers (9.1 miles) of habitat in Silver King Creek from Llewellyn Falls downstream to Silver King Canyon as well as the accessible reaches of three small named tributaries: Tamarack Creek, Tamarack Lake Creek, and the lower reaches of Coyote Valley Creek downstream of barrier falls. This watershed is entirely within the boundaries of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest . Currently, Distribution of Paiute cutthroat troutPaiute cutthroat trout are not found within its historic range.

The present distribution of Paiute cutthroat trout consists of a population in Silver King Creek above Llewellyn Falls and tributary populations in Fly Valley, Four Mile Canyon Creek, Coyote Valley, and Corral Valley creeks, and four self-sustaining, pure populations outside the native drainage in the North Fork of Cottonwood and Cabin creeks (Inyo National Forest), and Stairway and Sharktooth creeks (Sierra National Forest).

Paiute cutthroat trout life history and habitat requirements appear to be similar to those reported for other western stream-dwelling salmonids. All life stages require cool, well-oxygenated waters. Adult fish prefer stream pool habitat in low gradient meadows with undercut or overhanging banks and abundant riparian vegetation. Pools are important rearing habitat for juveniles and act as refuge areas during winter. During the winter months, trout move into pools to avoid physical damage from ice scouring and to conserve energy. As with other salmonids, suitable winter habitat may be more restrictive than summer habitat.


  The greatest threat to the species is hybridization with non-native trout. The long-term survival of the current populations is uncertain due to the small size of the drainages and populations, limited genetic diversity, and no hydrologic connections between other populations. Small isolated populations exhibit founder effects, inbreeding depression, and are extremely vulnerable to extinction.

Actions / Current Information:

  • Record of decision - Paiute Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project 5-19-10 (815 KB PDF) PCT update
  • Paiute Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project Final EIR EIS FEB 2010
  • Federal Register Notice: This notice announces the availability of the Paiute Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for public review.
  • News Release: Environmental Impact Statement released for proposal to restore Paiute cutthroat trout to Silver King Creek
  • Paiute Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project Draft EIR EIS MAR 2009 (8.9 MB PDF)
  • Federal Register Notice: Paiute Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
  • News Release: Public Comment Sought on Proposal to Restore Paiute Cutthroat Trout to Historic Habitat in Silver King Creek
  • Revised Paiute Cutthroat Trout Recovery Plan (3.6 MB PDF)


    Last updated: April 16, 2014