The cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki) is a fish species of the family Salmonidae native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean, Rocky Mountains and Great Basin in North America. Cutthroat trout are popular gamefish, especially among anglers who enjoy fly fishing. The common name "cutthroat" refers to the distinctive red coloration on the underside of the lower jaw. The specific name clarki was given to honor explorer William Clark, coleader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Cutthroat trout usually inhabit and spawn in small to moderately large, clear, well-oxygenated, shallow rivers with gravel bottoms. They also reproduce in clear, cold, moderately deep lakes. They are native to the alluvial or freestone streams that are typical tributaries of the Pacific basin, Great Basin and Rocky Mountains. Cutthroat trout spawn in the spring and may inadvertently but naturally hybridize with rainbow trout, producing fertile cutbows. Several subspecies of cutthroat trout are currently listed as threatened due to habitat loss and the introduction of non-native species. The cutthroat trout type species and several subspecies are the official state fish of seven western U.S. states. (Full article... )
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