Golden & Cutthroat Trout

by Fly Fisherman

Golden Trout
There is one variation of Rainbow trout that is so differently beautiful that I want to describe it to you before passing on to the other trouts. This is the Golden Trout found at elevations around 10,000 ft. in the high Sierra Nevada Mountains near Mt. Whitney. These fish are gorgeous beyond belief. Colon are deep vermilion on the belly fading to clear gold on the sides with•a bright rose-colored stripe crossed at intervals with beautifully contrasting dark parallel parr marks that stay on all the way to maturity. The cheeks are of the most brilliant gold, while black spots cover the upper sides and dusky olive upper surface. The lower fins are orange tipped with white. The dark olive dorsal fin carries one bright red spot. A flash of living light if there ever was one. Golden trout seldom grow to a large size, but take flies freely and fight like mad.

Cutthroat Trout
The second group of true trout in America is the Cutthroat ( Sainto clarkii). This is a Western species found all along the Pacific Coast and east into the inter-mountain states—as far as the headwaters of the Missouri and the Kansas riven. The Cutthroats of the Yellowstone country, of Montana and of the Rio Grande and Colorado Riven are particularly well known.
The best way to tell Cutthroat trout is the slash of red color below the lower jaw-bone on each side. To look for this cutthroat color on the lower jaw, spread apart the lower junction of the gills with the head. The dash of color often can’t be seen unless this is done. The Cutthroat is heavily spotted with black on a background of lighter color. There are no red spots, but spawning males often show a red stripe on the sides.

Cutthroat trout of the shorter coastal streams are often sea-run like Steelhead, ascending only a short distance up fresh water. Like Rainbows, the Cutthroat trout spawns in the spring. They are not quite as fond of fast turbulent water as the Rainbow and are not as adaptable to varying water temperatures. They do well in many cold water lakes of the western mountains.
When they live all their lives in streams, Cutthroat run from /A lb. to 3 lbs.; but much larger ones are caught in larger rivers, like the Colorado, and in lakes. The world’s record for the species, 41 lbs., comes from Pyramid Lake, Nevada, and was caught in December, 1925 by John Skimrnerhorn.
Cutthroat trout are powerful fighting fish but do not jump on a slack line the way Rainbows do. However, the experience of taking Cutthroat trout on a fly rod in one of the glacier-fed cold mountain lakes of the Glacier National Forest is flooded with romance that no fisherman will ever forget.

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