Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout

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Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout

Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout

Cohort: Euteleosteomorpha
Order: Salmoniformes
Family: Salmonidae
Genre: Pacific salmon(Oncorhynchus)
Art: Cutthroat trout(Oncorhynchus clarkii)
Subspecies: Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout
Scientific name
Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri
(Jordan & Gilbert, 1883)

The Yellowstone cutthroat trout(Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri) is a subspecies of cutthroat trout(Oncorhynchus clarkii), a freshwater fish of the salmonid family. The Yellowstone cutthroat trout is found exclusively in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, with Yellowstone National Park as its center. As a result, it is highly sought after by anglers there. The Yellowstone cutthroat trout prefers reasonably clear, cold streams, rivers and lakes.


Cutthroat trout are distinguished from other trout species by the distinctive orange-red slashes on the underside of the jaw. Unlike other subspecies of cutthroat trout, the Yellowstone cutthroat trout is notable for its light brown to orange coloration and its medium sized black spots on the rear of the fish. It tends to be darker than other subspecies.


Yellowstone cutthroat trout numbers have declined noticeably. Reasons include overfishing, hybridization with similar species, the introduction of American char to Yellowstone cutthroat trout spawning grounds in the 1970s, and disease. In 2004, environmentalists urged the responsible agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to list the Yellowstone cutthroat trout as an endangered species. The agency denied the request, saying the necessary steps had already been taken to sustainably conserve this subspecies. As such, all Yellowstone cutthroat trout caught within Yellowstone National Park must be released back into the water. Outside the park, different guidelines apply, adapted to the particular habitat of the fish. In addition, the National Park Service catches thousands of Arctic char in Yellowstone Lake each year; over 60,000 in 2006 and a total of 198,000 from 1998 to 2006. Despite this, Yellowstone cutthroat trout populations are still declining.[1]

By 2014, the conservation measures were showing significant success. The leading scientist spoke of the trout having “got its act together” and the numbers were pointing upwards. The population of char is declining, while among the young fish the number of trout is increasing significantly.[2]

Individual references

  1. Casper Star Page no longer available, Search Web Archives:@1@2Template:Dead Link/ Trout in Trouble
  2. Trout Unlimited: ‘Turning the Corner’ on Yellowstone Lake, May 6, 2014

Web links

Commons: Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri– Collection of pictures, videos and audio files