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Discussing fishing flies, trout flies, salmon flies, fly fishing gear and equipment, Idaho and Montana fishing rivers, NW rivers, fly tying and fly fishing trips. Over 50 years experience in fly fishing, best flies, fly tying, fly fishing techniques, fish stories, directions to rivers and lakes and great fly fishing tall tales with special communications from area guides.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Westslope Cutthroat

My New License Plate--What do you think?
This article is posted by YellowStoneFly aka Idaho Angler at Idaho Fly Fishers. The Westslope cutthroat is a native to western North America. The "CUTTY" (Oncorhynchus clarkii) is predominantly a freshwater fish populating the Pacific Northwest, Great Basin, the Cascade Region and can also be found throughout the Rocky Mountains. Some costal populations are andromous and live most of their lives in the Pacific Ocean, only to return to freshwater in the spring for spawning and feeding. Fly fishing in Idaho can be very productive for the "Cutty."

Montana cutthroat trout
The cutthroat has evolved over two million years or so and the trout of today probably came from a species which migrated from the Pacific up the Columbia and Snake Rivers. There are at least 10, and maybe as many as 14, subspecies known today. They can be found in rivers and lakes not located in the western states, but you can bet they were stocked in these bodies of water. Andromous, sea run, trout can reach up to 20 pounds, but the ones that are landlocked rarely get much larger than 2-3 pounds. Idaho fly fishing for big cutthroat predominantly centers around the Snake and little known (except to locals) St. Joe Rivers. Rest assure, both rivers are loaded with cutthroat.

These trout range from a golden to gray to green dorsally and they have a distinctive red or deep orange "slash" on the underside of the lower jaw--thereby the name "cutthroat." Length can range from a few to as many as 40 inches and weights as discussed above. In recent years, they have been cross breeding with the rainbow and look like a rainbow with a "cut throat." Thereby the name "cutbow." Biggest one I have ever caught was 16 inches, but we would love to here your stories. Try fly fishing Idaho and catch a "CUTTY".

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