Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii - Richardson, 1836
Coastal Cutthroat Trout
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii (Richardson, 1836) (TSN 201900)
French Common Names: truite fardée côtière
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102506
Element Code: AFCHA0208A
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Salmon and Trouts
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Salmoniformes Salmonidae Oncorhynchus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Smith, G. R., and R. F. Stearley. 1989. The classification and scientific names of rainbow and cutthroat trouts. Fisheries (Bethesda) 14(1):4-10.
Concept Reference Code: A89SMI01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii
Taxonomic Comments: According to Allendorf and Leary (1988), coastal, Lahontan, and westslope subspecies of O. CLARKI are electrophoretically divergent from other subspecies, closer to rainbow trout. However, mtDNA comparisons agree with other systematic and zoogeographical evidence that all subspecies of cutthroat trout are more closely related to each other than any of them is to rainbow trout (Gyllensten and Wilson 1987).

Nominal taxa CRESCENTIS and BATHOECETER are synonyms of O. C. CLARKI (Behnke 1992).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5T4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 10Nov1997
Global Status Last Changed: 25Sep1996
Rounded Global Status: T4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Lack of adequate population estimates. Vulnerable to anthropogenic degradation of headwater streams and spawning areas. Difficult to distinguish from syntopic rainbow trout/steelhead.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (05Dec1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N3N4 (09Feb2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (SNR), California (S3), Oregon (S3), Washington (SNR)
Canada British Columbia (S3S4)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS
Comments on USESA: Naturally spawning populations in the Umpqua River system, Oregon, formerly were listed by USFWS as Endangered, but this ESU is now included as part of a larger ESU (Oregon coast, a candidate species), and the Umpqua River cutthroat trout has been delisted (Federal Register, 19 April 2000, 26 April 2000).

Southwestern Washington/Columbia River coastal cutthroat trout ESU was proposed for listing as a threatened species (NMFS 1999), but later that proposal was withdrawn (NMFS 2002, 2010).

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Medium) (26Jan2015)
American Fisheries Society Status: Vulnerable (01Aug2008)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Small coastal streams from the Eel River, Humboldt County, California, north to the Prince William Sound area, Alaska, including numerous islands with suitable habitat off the coast of British Columbia and southern Alaska (Moyle et al. 1989, Behnke 1992). Typically does not occur farther inland than about 150 km (Behnke 1992). Both sea-run and anadromous stocks occur throughout the range. This is the most widely distributed and abundant subspecies of cutthroat trout, though its "abundance" is only relative to the other depleted subspecies (Behnke 1992). See Moyle et al. (1989) for details on distribution in California.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: In California, probably always has been uncommon.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats include habitat degradation (e.g., resulting from logging) and overfishing; for populations above Bonneville Dam, dam passage takes a toll; in many areas, native stocks have been eroded by introductions of hatchery stock (Nehlsen et al. 1991). In Oregon, the effects of clear-cutting (sedimentation, reduced cover, increased temperature) depressed populations for 6-8 years (see Behnke 1992). Can withstand catch-and-release fishing if not too frequent.

Short-term Trend: Decline of >30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Status difficult to determine due to difficulty in distinguishing juveniles from rainbow trout in the field; likely that populations have declined in recent years due to anthropogenic activities that degrade the required cold, high quality water (Moyle et al. 1989). In California, it is likely that populations have declined recently due to damage by logging. Sea-run cutthroat underwent a major decline in the 1970s and 1980s (Nehlsen et al. 1991). In Oregon, anadromous populations likely have undergone a significant decline in the late 1980s and 1990s; populations of other life-history types (resident, fluvial, adfluvial) are in better condition or are of unknown status (Hooton 1997).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Determine current distribution and abundance. Moyle et al. (1989) noted that in California a range-wide survey is needed to identify key populations.

Distribution
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Global Range: Small coastal streams from the Eel River, Humboldt County, California, north to the Prince William Sound area, Alaska, including numerous islands with suitable habitat off the coast of British Columbia and southern Alaska (Moyle et al. 1989, Behnke 1992). Typically does not occur farther inland than about 150 km (Behnke 1992). Both sea-run and anadromous stocks occur throughout the range. This is the most widely distributed and abundant subspecies of cutthroat trout, though its "abundance" is only relative to the other depleted subspecies (Behnke 1992). See Moyle et al. (1989) for details on distribution in California.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CA, OR, WA
Canada BCnative and exotic

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Del Norte (06015), Humboldt (06023)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Illinois (17100311)+, Chetco (17100312)+*
18 Smith (18010101)+, Mad-Redwood (18010102)+, Lower Eel (18010105)+, Lower Klamath (18010209)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A trout with abundant black spotting and a red mark on the underside of the lower jaw, less than 50 cm long.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from all other trout by its densely packed profusion of small to medium-sized spots of irregular (not round) shape, which are distributed more or less evenly over the sides of the body, onto the head, and often onto the ventral surface and anal fin, though in sea-run individuals silvery skin deposits often obliterate or mask body spots (Benhke 1992). Does not develop the brilliant colors of some interior subspecies (Behnke 1992).
Reproduction Comments: Main time of spawning typically is late winter or early spring, though May spawning has been reported for one area in Oregon (Bond, in Behnke 1992). Eggs hatch after 6-7 weeks; hatchlings emerge from gravel in 1-2 weeks (March-June); first breeds at 2-4 years, lives 4-7 years (Moyle et al. 1989). In Oregon, sea-run trout typically migrate to salt water in the late spring or early summer at age 2 or age 3 (though some may never go to sea); after 2-5 months in the sea, they return to rivers (Behnke 1992). The timing of migrations, age at migrations, length of time spent at sea, and spawning time vary among stocks and geographical areas (Behnke 1992). Reportedly, about 40% survive first spawning (see Stearley 1992); however, Behnke (1992) reported lower values of 5-30%, varying with angling pressure; 12-17% survived between second and third and third and fourth spawnings in a stream little used by anglers (see Behnke 1992). Sea-run trout attain a maximum age of about 10 years (Behnke 1992). See Stearley (1992) for a discussion of the historical ecology and life history evolution of Pacific salmons and trouts (ONCORHYNCHUS).
Ecology Comments: As evidenced by indicative scarring, predation at sea may be a significant cause of natural mortality (see Behnke 1992).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migratory and nonmigratory stocks occur throughout the range (Behnke 1992). In northern California, begins to migrate up streams in September-October, following the first heavy rains; migrates up to 70-90 km inland in the Smith River, not so far in streams to the south (Moyle et al. 1989).
Marine Habitat(s): Near shore
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, River mouth/tidal river
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, High gradient, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient, Pool, Riffle
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Requires small, low gradient coastal streams and estuarine habitats; well-shaded streams with water temperatures below 18 C are optimal (Moyle et al. 1989). Some may spend entire life in freshwater (many of these live in lakes), but most are anadromous (summer in saltwater). In summer, most individuals in streams are of the first-year age class; a few may be older nonanadromous fish and anadromous fish landlocked by rapidly receding water levels (Moyle et al. 1989). In marine habitats, generally remains close to the coast, usually remaining within estuary.

Spawns in streams on clean, small gravel substrates; females dig multiple redds, cover eggs after spawning. After emerging, fry move into larger rivers (or lakes), migrate to sea during their first year (or sometimes in second or third year) (Moyle et al. 1989).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Adults eat insects, crustaceans, and other fishes. Young feed mostly on aquatic and drift insects, microcrustaceans, and occasionally smaller fishes. (Moyle et al. 1989).
Length: 38 centimeters
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Sea-run trout provide popular local fisheries (Behnke 1992). After from coho and chinook salmon, this is the most popular game fish caught in marine watersof the Pacific Northwest.
Management Summary
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Management Requirements: Nonanadromous populations such as in Little Jones Creek (tributary of Smith River) in California may require special management to preserve their genetic integrity (Moyle et al. 1989). Key populations should be given special management designation; the Smith River population (apparently the largest in California) should be given special attention for population enhancement.

Efforts to enhance populations through artificial propagation should be designed to conserve the genetic integrity of wild stocks (Moyle et al. 1989).

See Nehlsen et al. (1991) for general protection and management recommendations for anadromous salmonids.

Monitoring Requirements: Key populations should be monitored every 2-5 years (Moyle).
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 10Nov1997
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: T. Hopkins, P. Moyle, and G. Hammerson
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 08Feb1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Allendorf, F. W., and R. F. Leary. 1988. Conservation and distribution of genetic variation in a polytypic species, the cutthroat trout. Conservation Biology 2:170-184.

  • Behnke, R. J. 1992. Native trout of western North America. American Fisheries Society Monograph 6. xx + 275 pp.

  • Coastal Cutthroat Trout. 1999. B.C. Fish Facts. Conserv. Sect., Fish. Manage. Branch, B.C. Minist. Fish. 2pp.

  • Costello, A.B. 2008. The status of coastal cutthroat trout in British Columbia. Pp. 24-36 in PJ Connoly, TH Williams, and RE Gresswell (Eds.). The 2005 coastal cutthroat trout symposium: status, management, biology, and conservation. Oregon Chapter, American Fisheries Society. Portland.

  • Gyllensten, U., and A. C. Wilson. 1987. Mitochondrial DNA of salmonids: inter- and intraspecific variability detected with restriction enzymes. Pages 301-317 in N. Ryman and F. Utter, editors. Population genetics and fishery management. University of Washington Press, Seattle.

  • Hooton, B. 1997. Status of coastal cutthroat trout in Oregon. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Portland, Information Reports 97-2. ii + 27 pp.

  • Jelks, H. L., S. J. Walsh, N. M. Burkhead, S. Contreras-Balderas, E. Díaz-Pardo, D. A. Hendrickson, J. Lyons, N. E. Mandrak, F. McCormick, J. S. Nelson, S. P. Platania, B. A. Porter, C. B. Renaud, J. Jacobo Schmitter-Soto, E. B. Taylor, and M.L. Warren, Jr. 2008. Conservation status of imperiled North American freshwater and diadromous fishes. Fisheries 33(8):372-407.

  • Moyle, P. B., J. E. Williams, and E. D. Wikramanayake. 1989. Fish species of special concern of California. Final report submitted to California Dept. of Fish and Game, Inland Fisheries Division, Rancho Cordova. 222 pp.

  • Nehlsen, W., J. E. Williams, and J. A. Lichatowich. 1991. Pacific salmon at the crossroads: stocks at risk from California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. Fisheries 16(2):4-21.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 432 pp.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. xix + 663 pp.

  • Rosenfeld, J.S. et al. 2000. Habitat Associations of Juvenile Cutthroat Trout: Implications for Forestry Impacts. Pp. 587-593 in L.M. Darling, ed. 2000. Proc. Conf. on the Biology and Manage. Species and Habitats at Risk, Kamloops, B.C., 15-19 Feb., 1999. Vol. 2; B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Victoria, BC, and Univ. College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, BC. 520pp.

  • Scholten, A. 1997. Vancouver Island anadromous coastal cutthroat trout: synoptic survey. Report prepared for Fisheries Research Biodiversity Unit, Fisheries Branch, Ministry of Environment Lands and Parks, Vancouver.

  • Slaney, P. and J. Roberts. 2005. Coastal cutthroat trout as sentinels of Lower Mainland watershed health: strategies for coastal cutthroat trout conservation, restoration and recovery. Prepared for Ministry of Environment, Lower Mainland Region 2, Surrey, BC. 104 pages.

  • Slaney, T.L., K.D. Hyatt, T.G. Northcote and R.J. Fielden. 1997. Status of anadromous cutthroat trout in British Columbia. Pages 77-79 in J.D. Hall, P.A. Bisson and R. Gresswell (eds.). Sea-run cutthroat trout: biology, management, and future conservation. Oregon Chapter, American Fisheries Society, Corvallis.

  • Smith, G. R., and R. F. Stearley. 1989. The classification and scientific names of rainbow and cutthroat trouts. Fisheries (Bethesda) 14(1):4-10.

  • Stearley, R. F. 1992. Historical ecology of Salmoninae, with special reference to Oncorhynchus. Pages 622-658 in R.L. Mayden, editor. Systematics, historical ecology, and North American freshwater fishes. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. xxvi + 969 pp.

  • Thomas, J. W., Ward, J., Raphael, M.G., Anthony, R.G., Forsman, E.D., Gunderson, A.G., Holthausen, R.S., Marcot, B.G., Reeves, G.H., Sedell, J.R. and Solis, D.M. 1993. Viability assessments and management considerations for species associated with late-successional and old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest. The report of the Scientific Analysis Team. USDA Forest Service, Spotted Owl EIS Team, Portland Oregon. 530 pp.

  • Wydoski, R. S., and R. R. Whitney. 2003. Inland fishes of Washington. Second edition, revised and expanded. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland, in association with University of Washington Press, Seattle. xiii + 322 pp.

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