Illustration by Jose Curtice

Lahontan cutthroat trout are native to the lakes and smaller rivers and streams of Nevada’s Lahontan Basin and nearby areas in California and Oregon. The lake form of Lahontans once ruled the waters as the largest cutthroats, and reached incredible sizes of forty to sixty pounds! Today, Lahontan cutthroat trout are struggling to survive. Lake fish generally come from hatcheries and weigh only five to eight pounds at maturity. Native stream fish are even smaller. Known as fierce predators and opportunistic feeders, Lahontans feed on fish and insects. Lahontan cutthroat trout can vary greatly in color. You might see a dark olive back with reddish, yellow or silvery sides; or a coppery to purple-pink body color. Also seen are the telltale red markings of cutthroats under their jaws. Many large black spots cover their bodies. Greatly adaptable, Lahontan cutthroats are able to survive in alkaline waters and temperatures where other trout can’t.
(adapted from the Native Fish column in Trout magazine, written by Gregg Patterson — trout image from