(Oncorhynchus clarki clarki)
Other names: Harvest Trout, Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout, Cuts
Coastal cutthroat trout are silvery in coloration with a darker gray or olive back and numerous small black spots evenly distributed over the entire body (Fig. 25). These fish average 12-16 inches but can reach up to 20 inches in length. Spawning individuals of both sexes may develop darker coloring and a pink side stripe similar to rainbow trout (Fig . 26). The characteristic orange slash marks under the jaw may be faint or absent. These orange markings may or may not become more prominent as the fish near spawning readiness. Cutthroat (and coastal rainbows) both exhibit teeth on the head and shaft of the vomer, a bone located at the back of the mouth in the upper jaw (Fig. 27). But cutthroat trout also exhibit small teeth, often difficult to see, on the floor of the mouth behind the tongue. Coastal cutthroat trout exhibit a wide variety of life history strategies ranging from stream resident to sea-run (anadromous) forms. Sea-run forms typically stay quite close to home and rarely venture more than 50 miles from their natal streams.
Abundance, distribution, and natural history
Forty two cutthroat trout records currently exist, documenting their presence among 16 different stream systems within the park and preserve (however, only 55% of these records provide abundance information). Five of these drainages contain lakes. Coastal cutthroat trout probably occur throughout many park stream systems but their distribution and abundance is poorly known. Most populations are probably small, consisting of perhaps a few hundred fish. Drainage basins containing lakes are thought to be more likely to harbor this species.
Conservation measures and concerns
Cutthroat are generally quite vulnerable to angler overharvest because of their predatory nature and willingness to strike a lure. Southeast Alaska spawning populations are typically small. Multiple cutthroat populations often overwinter together in lakes and these aggregations rarely exceed 2,000 fish. Recreational harvest limits are generally conservative (2 fish daily; 11-22 inch size limit) compared with Pacific salmon species. More information is needed on the distribution and abundance of this species.
Last updated: February 8, 2018