Coastal Cutthroat Trout

Oncorhynchus clarki clarki
Coastal cutthroat trout are named for the red lines on their throat/Photo Courtesy of Gary Marson

If you’ve ever thought that fallen trees and other large woody debris should be cleaned out of streams and rivers, think again.  These features create prime habitat for all sorts of aquatic life, including juvenile coastal cutthroat trout.  The trunks and branches of downed timber attract invertebrates, which in turn attract fish.  The large debris also creates small pools, eddies, and sheltered places for young fish to hide as they mature.


As adults, coastal cutthroat trout reside in estuaries and near-shore ocean waters.  Unlike most other salmonids, these fish do not die after spawning.  They depend upon tidal sloughs, marshes and other brackish backwater areas for shelter and finding food until they make the journey back to their natal streams each year to spawn.

Facts About Coastal Cutthroat Trout

Spawn in creeks off of coastal streams

Young stay in natal stream for an average of two years

Adults are heavily spotted from snout to tail