Idaho Bonneville Cutthroat Trout

The Bonneville cutthroat trout is native in the Southeastern corner of Idaho, almost entirely in the Bear Lake/River area plus tributaries. Pure strains of Bonneville cutthroat trout were thought to be extinct when in the 1970s remnant populations were discovered and an aggressive recovery effort began. Now there are more than 202 Bonneville populations covering Utah, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming.

The Western Native Trout Challenge website has an interactive fishing map for Idaho showing color coded species locations along with water identification. When clicking on a location it also gives you a link to the Idaho Fish and Game fishing planner which in combination can provide key information for trip planning.

Bonneville cutthroat trout are avid insect-eaters, but larger specimens will also eat baitfish. Usually, all you need to catch Bonnevilles is a small collection of generalist dry flies (Parachute Adams, Elk-Hair Caddis and terrestrials), nymphs (Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails and Copper Johns), and streamers (Woolly Buggers, Muddlers and Mickey Finns. [Orvis News]

Some club favorite flies include:

  • Cutthroat Candy
  • Yellow Turks Tarantula
  • Orange Stimulator
  • Tan Foam Hopper

Key Identifiers:

  • Body greenish yellow to silvery grey
  • Orange slash under throat
  • Large, rounded, distributed black spots, with fewer spots near the head and larger spots on tail
  • White belly
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