Snake River cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus)
The fine-spotted Snake River cutthroat trout have the smallest spots of any western North American trout. The Snake River cutthroat have yellowish-brown bodies, highlighted with purple and silver tones. This coloration makes the orange or red lower fins and heavy speckling of dark spots highly visible.
Due to the long, cold winters and the short feeding season of the Snake River environment, cutthroats are opportunistic feeders consuming both insects and live fish. The juvenile trout depend more insects than the adult.
The trout like to feed in, or just downstream of riffles, where the aquatic invertebrates are the most abundant. Many of the invertebrates eaten are in the larval and pupa stages such as mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies.
Trout also eat crustaceans and zooplankton. As the trout grow, their diet becomes more diverse and the food items become larger.
The Snake River cutthroat trout inhabit waters from the watershed below Jackson Lake to Palisades Reservoir in the Snake River of western Wyoming.
Snake River cutthroat, like many other trout, require cool water at temperatures less than 59 F and a high dissolved oxygen level. These trout prefer streams but are also found in lakes. Overhanging vegetation and riffles are desired areas for cover and feeding.
- Currently there is no scientific name for the Snake River cutthroat trout, according to fisheries biologists, because they have not been classified as a subspecies of the Yellowstone cutthroat trout. The Snake River cutthroat are genetically Oncorhynchus clarki bouvierior, the fine spotted form of Yellowstone cutthroat trout.