The westslope subspecies of cutthroat trout is found in just one area in Oregon – the John Day Basin.
Features: Like all cutthroat trout, this species boasts bright red streaks on either side of its “throat.” You can tell it’s a westslope cutthroat by its spot pattern – the majority of the black spots are found on the back end of the fish with rather few ahead of the dorsal fin.
Habitat: While westslope cutthroat trout was once the most widely distributed cutthroat in North America, its home in Oregon has always been limited to the John Day Basin. During the cooler months of summer you can find them in places like Strawberry Creek and upper Canyon Creek. As temperatures drop in the fall, the fish will drop lower in the system to the mainstem, where access is more limited as most fish will be found on private land.
Techniques: These fish feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects – food sources that can be mimicked well by flies and artificial lures. Bait is prohibited in most streams in the Northeast Zone.
Header photo by Kirk Handley