Types of Fish

Two Bonneville cutthroat trout.
Bonneville cutthroat trout

NPS Photo

Native Fish

Bonneville Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki utah)
Bonneville Cutthroat Trout are found only in the Great Basin region, having evolved from other cutthroat trout species after the Bear River became a tributary of Lake Bonneville 30,000 years ago. This species can tolerate streams with high water fluctuations and poor water quality better than most other trout species.

Bonneville cutthroat trout are generally silver to golden in color with larger black spots concentrated toward the rear. It has distinctive orange/red slashes under the jaw. Bonneville cutthroat live 7-8 years. Because this species evolved in high elevation, cold water streams, it generally attains larger size than non-native trout species (rainbow, brook, and brown).
Please use catch and release techniques for this species.

Mottled Sculpin (Cottus bairdi)
Mottled sculpin live on the bottom of a stream, usually in the gravel. They grow up to six inches long and can live up to five years. They are distinctive with their long fins and chubby head. They eat aquatic insects, plant material, and even other sculpins, and are in turn eaten by other fish species.

Speckled Dace (Rhinichthys osculus)
Speckled dace are small fish, usually less than four inches long,only that live about three years. They are most active at night and are found on stream bottoms, preferring rocky areas. They feed on insects, algae, and zooplankton.

Redside Shiner (Richardonius balteatus)
Redside shiners have slivery scales across their bottoms, and during spawning season a red or pink stripe appears along their lateral line (down the length of the body). They are usually less than five inches long and can live up to five years. They are omnivorous, eating anything they can find, but usually insects and zooplankton.


Non-Native Fish

Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

Brook trout are native to eastern North America. Brook trout evolved in colder water and are usually found at higher elevations in Snake Range streams. Brook trout are usually olive in color with an orange belly. They have worm-like vermiculations on their back and red spots with or without blue halos on their sides. Its most distinguishing characteristic is a white then black strip on the leading edge of its fins.

Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)

Brown trout usually inhabit lower elevation streams and prefer slower waters and area with good cover. This species was brought to the United States from Europe. Brown trout are generally yellow to gold in color with a combination of black spots and red spots with blue halos. There are few, if any, spots on the tail. Tail is usually square, not forked.

Rainbow Trout (Onchorynchus mykiss)

This trout is native to western North America, primarily the Pacific Northwest. Rainbow trout have been stocked extensively throughout Nevada and the West. They can be found at mid-elevations in the Snake Range. Rainbow trout usually have olive-colored backs with silvery sides. Small, irregular spots cover the length of the body. They have a characteristic bright red stripe down the sides of the body that gives the fish its name.

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
(Onchorynchus clarki henshawi)

Native to the western part of Nevada, Lahontan cutthroat trout occur in just one location in Great Basin National Park, in Baker Lake. These cutthroat trout were stocked numerous times, and have survived as a wild population since 1986, when stocking ceased. They have olive backs and yellowish-reddish sides with black spots distributed evenly over their bodies.


Last updated: March 31, 2012

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Great Basin National Park
100 Great Basin National Park

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