Wyoming adopted two official fishes in 1987. Knightia, a prehistoric herring that left countless fossils in Wyoming, was named the state fossil. The cutthroat trout, (Salmo clarki,) the only trout native to Wyoming, was designated the state fish.
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 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.
The cutthroat trout is a fish species of the family Salmonidae native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean, Rocky Mountains, and Great Basin in North America.
The Cutthroat (Oncorhynchus clarki) deserves to be state fish, as it is the only trout that is native (indigenous) to Wyoming. It has a crimson slash on either side of the throat, below the lower jaw. Most cutthroat are not found in their original range due to competition from the non-natives, over-fishing, and habitat loss. The subspecies found in Wyoming include the Colorado River, Bonneville (Bear River), the Snake River and Yellowstone. They spawn in the spring.
They are Wyoming's four native sub-species cutthroat and make for excellent catches in Wyoming fishing.
Colorado River Cutthroat
The Colorado River Cutthroat were originally the only native cutthroat trout in the Little Snake River and Green River drainages in Wyoming before
fish stocking began. Since, the Colorado River Cutthroat has been stocked elsewhere in the state for Wyoming fishing.
Originally the Bonneville Cutthroat trout lived exclusively in the Thomas Fork and Smith Fork drainages on the southwester border of Wyoming. They
have been stocked elsewhere in the state. The Bonneville Cutthroat trout is also known as the Bear River Cutthroat.
Snake River Cutthroat
The Snake River Cutthroat trout is a form of the Yellowstone Cutthroat native to the Snake River.
The Yellowstone Cutthroat is a native trout to the Yellowstone drainage, including the Big Horn, Wind, and Clarks Fork rivers, the Yellowstone cutt has been widely stocked throughout Wyoming which makes for great fly fishing opportunities.
Wyoming's rarest cutthroat is the Bonneville cutthroat trout, also known as the Utah or Bear River cutthroat. In Wyoming, it's found in the upper Bear River watershed. Wyoming boasts five subspecies, or varieties, of cutthroat trout, reportedly more than any other state. They include the Snake River cutthroat, which is heavily spotted, and the Yellowstone River cutthroat, whose spots are fewer but larger. The Colorado River cutthroat is found in the headwaters of the Green and Little Snake rivers. The west-slope cutthroat inhabits the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park.
The law designating the cutthroat trout as the official Wyoming state fish is SECTION 8-3-113 (State fish) of the Wyoming Statutes, Title 8 (General Provisions) Chapter 3 (State Seal, Flag, Flower, Bird and Other Symbols) Section 8-3-113.
TITLE 8 GENERAL PROVISIONS
CHAPTER 3 STATE SEAL, FLAG, FLOWER, BIRD AND OTHER SYMBOLS
8-3-113. State fish.
The Salmo clarki, commonly known as the cutthroat trout, is the state fish of Wyoming.
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Cutthroat Trout
Kingdom: Animalia - animals
Species: Salmo clarki formerly (Oncorhynchus clarki)
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