I'd say no. A cuttbow is a costal cutthroat trout that has interbred with a rainbow trout. The fish looks loke a rainbow trout but is the size of a costal cutthroat and has the orange slices under the mouth like a normal cutthroat.
Now someone get into big philisophical reasoning why my statement is wrong dammit!!!
I get a lot of cuttbows on the Snoqualmie. Usually as I'm landing it, i'll swear it is a rainbow. But on closer inspection, I'll find orange slits on the throut. Take a look at some of the trout pics in the photo album. Look closely at the cutties and the bows. Pay special attention to the spotting patterns and once you can easily tell them apart - it will be easier to tell when you have a hybrid. I have several good shots of cutties and bows in my member's gallery that you can look at closely to compare bows and cutties.
Basically if it is very silvery with heavy spotting on the top but not all they way down past the lateral line, and it has that rosey red stripe running down the lateral line and cheeks, but has the orange\yellow slashes under the jaw - chances are it's a hybrid.
Thanks guys. I thought that a cutbow would not have the slash on the jaw, but I see that I am wrong. I am now certain that over the years some of the cutthroat that I thought I was catching were actaully hybrids. My favorite fish is the purebred westslope cutthroat - nothing can beat the colors on that fish (except maybe a golden trout, but I have never caught one of those).
Another thing to consider, and confuse, is that there's going to be different degrees of 'cutbowness'. Alot of cutts we catch probably have some degree of rainbow genetics in them and vice versa. Historically, cutthroats and rainbows were separated in their distributions more. Sure they overlapped and probably interbred naturally but we (people) created a legacy of stocking (mostly) rainbows in every little bit of water they could swim in. Alot of those rainbow genes got into cutthroat populations and were assimilated over time. This can be really evident in an alpine lake with both ct and rb's present where natural reproduction is limited to a single inlet stream. Minute differences in spawning habitat preferences won't seperate the two and they'll interbreed. Over time this leads to a more homogenous population...depending on the amounts of original 'ingredients' put into the mix. The same thing has happened all over the west where yellowstone cutthroat have been planted in many waters where other native subspecies of cutts typically live. If you're really interested in this subject, check out Pat Trotter's Cutthroat, Native Trout of the West. Fantastic read!
Not much philosophical about photos, nor, for that matter,
a well- reasoned and informed response.
Here's a problem though. Rainbow genes are apparently dominant over cuttthroat. Given enough time, rainbows will wipe out the cutties. This is true all over the West, not simply where there are sea-run fish.
I like them both equally well, but biologists worry about the cutts. They want to keep them for now and always. I'm up for that. Never move fish alive from one site to another.
Coastal cutthroat and rainbows/steelhead have existed sympatrically for thousands of years. While some hybridization does occur it is apparently less likely in the case of coastal cutts than with the other cutthroat subspecies whose ranges were not historically coincident with that of the rainbow/steelhead. None of the other cutthroat subspecies, with the exception of the westslope cutthroat, were exposed to rainbows until they (rainbows) became the darlings of fish culturists and were widely planted throughout the west and elsewhere.
The isolation of coastal cutthroat and rainbow/steelhead is largely enforced by differing preferences in spawning sites; coastal cutts preferring the smallest tributaries while rainbows select the larger streams and even the mainstem rivers. Unfortunately, things are seldom that clear cut in nature and there is plenty of evidence beginning to accumulate indicating that a certain degree of rainbow/steelhead and coastal cutt hybridization has always occurred without, apparently, damaging the integrity of the cutthroat population. Curt Kraemer, for one, believes that all of the larger sea-run cutthroat (those much over twenty inches) are hybrids.
By the way, the easy and accurate way to differentiate betweeen cutthroat and rainbow is to feel for the little triangular patch of teeth (formerly called "hyoid", but now "basibranchial") at the back of the tongue. Even hybrids have these teeth though often reduced in size and number.
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