Monday, July 20, 2009

Know Your Coastal Cutthroat Trout - UPDATE

Update - 7/20/09
The biggest fear that we had when ODFW proposed the harvest of coastal cutthroat trout on the north coast is being realized.
Anglers on the various PNW fishing forums are posting that they are hooking 40-50 "trout" in the upper reaches of coastal rivers. They claim these fish are no bigger than 10"
So obviously these are salmon and steelhead smolt and if they are in the upper river they are no doubt wild.
I would venture a guess that the over all harvest of actual cutthroat trout this season is minuscule. The damage to wild salmon and steelhead smolt could be severe and everyone know that these little fish are very aggressive and will take just about anything put in front of them.
The alarming thing is that ODFW staff cannot identify smolt themselves so how are they going to help uneducated anglers.
I am bringing this post back to the front because this is something that ODFW should be doing but are not doing.

ODFW is allowing a harvest of 8" minimum coastal cutthroat trout this season. While that is bad enough the potential of the public mistaking juvenile salmon and steelhead for harvestable trout is even worse.
For those of you wishing harvest a cutthroat trout this season and hopefully there are none that read this blog, here are pictures of what to look for.
Instead of killing any wild cutthroat trout how about turning them loose! Not much of a meal to be had with a couple of 8" trout don't you think?
Also remember any cutthroat over 16" with an intact adipose fin cannot be harvested.
Want to kill something? There will be plenty of large hatchery broodstock steelhead youngsters available....just sayin'

This is a typical coastal cutthroat. Note the highlighted areas

This is a steelhead smolt that will be encountered along the coastal streams of northwest Oregon.

This is a coho or silver salmon smolt

This is a Chinook or King salmon smolt


  1. I find it so irresponsible that a state agency is allowing the taking of those fish when they could be very easily mistaken for another species of fish! Most meat hunters could care less to know the difference between a bluegill or a bluefin! Nice article to educate people.

  2. This is turning into a problem now as anglers do not know the difference.

  3. Ugh, the whole thing sucks.