Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Cedar, Sep 5, 2012.
Those are definitely cutts, not goldens. I live within a couple hours drive from both Little Kern and Volcano Creek strains of goldens and have caught many.
Identification of small trout can be tricky. Color can vary considerably depending on environment and other factors. The best way to differentiate between cutthroat and rainbows is to feel the back of the tongue for basibranchial teeth (cutthroat have 'em, rainbows don't). Formerly called hyoid teeth they are present as a triangular patch on the back of the tongue. In the case of hybrids, however, they may be reduced or absent. After all, the cutthroat and rainbow evolved from a common ancestor only a mere two million years ago. Hybridization is very common in the intermountain west where the rainbow is an invasive alien spread primarily by hatchery stocking programs. It is less so on the west side of the Cascades where the cutthroat and rainbow co-evolved and have existed sympatrically for millenia.
In Washington, westslope cutthroat are thought to be native only to a relatively small area of the eastern slope of the north Cascades (including the Chelan and Methow basins); because of the physical separation of this stock from other westslope cutthroat populations, it has been suggested that they were actually introduced by man at an early date. In 1903 the Twin Lakes hatchery began stocking westslopes extensively in previously barren alpine lakes throughout the state and this has led to reproducing populations being established in many lakes and streams (a notable example being the Yakima River basin). Normally westslope cutthroat can be differentiated from coastal cutthroat by their spotting patterns. Coastal cutthroat are uniformly spotted to below the lateral line while westslopes usually lack any spots below the lateral line in an arc from the head to the insertion of the anal fin.
Golden Trout are native to California, my home state. Those aren't true native Goldens, they look like a hybrid of a cutt and a golden. They're nice, and beautiful pics. I love wilderness fishing.
sky. nowhere near the columbia.