Four sub-species evolved from the only trout that is actually native to Utah. Except for the Bear Lake cutthroat strain, cutthroats are best distinguished by their crimson slash along the lower jaw. Although they are often mistaken for Rainbow Trout, they lack the iridescent pink stripe or the white tipped pelvic and anal fins of the rainbow trout.
State officials have been stocking this species in increasing numbers in recent years to make sure that our native species (and our official State Fish) continues to thrive for years to come.
The Bonneville cutthroat trout inhabited the Bonneville Basin and has sparsely scattered, large, and very distinctly round spots over the upper body, with few spots on or near the head. They are clothed in subdued colors of silver-gray to charcoal upper body with bronze coloration and subtle hues of pink on flanks during spawning. They, particularly the Bear Lake cutthroat strain, often lack the bright crimson jaw slash that, at times, may be yellow or gray. The deep orange pelvic and anal fins readily distinguish Bear Lake cutthroat from rainbow trout.
The Colorado River cutthroat evolved in the Colorado/Green River drainages and is noted for its brilliant coloration. The males, in spawning condition, have bright crimson stripes along the sides and the stomach. Spotting is usually concentrated posteriorly.
Yellowstone cutthroat (not pictured) are native to Snake River drainages such as the Raft River Mountain area of northwest Utah and had been the predominant subspecies used in management programs throughout the state. It is lightly spotted with distinctly round spots concentrated toward the tail area. Today, the other native strains are becoming more extensively used in the sport-fisheries programs and are being re-introduced to many of their former habitats.