Fish ID needed

Last weekend I went hiking in the Methow valley and came across several feisty fish on a mountain creek. Several of the fish had the characteristic orange slash of cutthroats, however they had very few black spots (more numerous close to the tail) and several large red and dark blue spots. I have consulted Trout and Salmon of North America and haven't been able to find any entry describing cutthroats with this specific coloration. Are these some subspecies of cutthroat? Sorry for the shitty phone picture.


Interestingly they were sharing the same small pool with brook trout.


Definitely a Westslope Cutthroat Trout. They are a beautiful fish that I frequently catch high up on a Westside watershed. I've been looking for them a few times this year during runoff, and have yet to catch one. I've caught a couple on the Methow. I hope to encounter that one in a few years. Nice fish!


Active Member
Westslope cutthroat (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi), the spotting pattern you describe is typical of this subspecies. The "blue spots" are parr marks, typical of almost all immature salmonids. The red "spots" are just places where the reddish side band shows through, interrupted by the parr marks. "Westslope" refers to the west slope of the Rocky Mountains which is the primary native range of this subspecies. In Washington state O.c.lewisi is only native to the Chelan, Methow and upper Coeur d'Alene basins but has been widely planted (from the Twin Lakes hatchery in the upper Wenatchee basin; it is not known for certain whether the Twin Lakes strain are actually native to that location or whether they were stocked there at a very early period) into alpine lakes on both sides of the Cascades. "Washouts" from these plantings have established reproducing populations in some streams on both the east and west slopes of the Cascades.

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