State Fish Of Montana

State Fish Of Montana

Blackspotted Cutthroat Trout Is The Official State Fish Of Montana. The Blackspotted Cutthroat Trout, (Salmo clarki,) was Adopted as the official Montana State Fish on February 10, 1977. On February 10, 1977, Governor Thomas Judge signed the law designating the blackspotted cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki) as Montana’s official state fish.

The scientific name for the state fish Cutthroat Trout is “Oncorhynchus clarki”  is in reference to William Clark who first described in detail the Cutthroats of the Columbia River. William Clark partner Meriwether Lewis earlier encountered Cutthroats near the great falls of Montana‘s Missouri River in July of 1805. State Fish Of Montana Cutthroat species found in Montana is the West slope Cutthroat which is found in northern and central Montana and the Yellowstone Cutthroat which is found in southeastern Montana.

The body color of Cutthroat Trout varies with the back ranging from steel gray to olive green. The sides may be yellow-brown with red or pink along the belly.The Montana State Fish Cutthroat name comes from the distinctive red to orange slash on the underside of its lower jaw.

All cutthroat trout have a “cut,” a patch of orange or red on the throat and they differ from the rainbow trout because they have basibranchial (hyoid) teeth in their throat between the gill arches, they typically have longer heads and jaws than the rainbow and often times can be distinguished from the rainbow by their larger spots. The State Fish Of Montana cutthroat is known to be more vulnerable to anglers because of a general lack of wariness and can be caught on a wide variety of bait.



Common Names:

Native Trout, Cut, Red Throat, Mountain Trout, Black-spotted Trout


Characteristics of the Cutthroat Trout:



Montana State Fish Cutthroat trout spawn in the spring, which may be as late as early July in high mountain streams.



The State Fish Cutthroat trout, Salmo clarki, has 15 recognized subspecies. There are 5 subspecies of cutthroat trout in Montana: west slope, Yellowstone, Bonneville, Bear Lake, Snake River fine-spotted.