top of page

Snake River Fine-Spotted Cutthroat


Scientific Name:

Oncorhynchus clarkii behnkei


Cutthroat Trout


Cutthroat Subspecies

Also known as:

The Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout is a form of the cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) which is considered either as a separate subspecies Oncorhynchus clarkii behnkei, or as a variety of the Yellowstone cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri). The fish takes its common name from its original habitat, the Snake River of southern Idaho and western Wyoming, and from its unusual pattern of hundreds of small spots that cover most of its body, differing from the larger-spotted Yellowstone cutthroat pattern. Genetically it cannot be distinguished from the Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and before the construction of dams there were no physical barriers between the ranges of the two subspecies in the Snake river drainage. 

In addition to their natural aversion to cross-breeding with other trout, fine-spotted cutthroats are unusual in their pursuit of a vertebrate diet, mainly other fish, but occasionally including small mammals. They are the only river cutthroat with a vertebrate diet, and as a result their territorial waters are almost devoid of whitefish. While the fine-spotted cutthroats can be very selective feeders during a major hatch of aquatic invertebrates, they are not as focused as rainbow or brown trout, and can be diverted with small terrestrial imitations. In addition, when no obvious hatch occurs, anglers can be very successful with large streamer flies that imitate small fish.

Wyoming's Snake River is Cutthroat Nirvana by Boots Allen and Fly Fisherman Magazine.

Snake River Finespotted Cutthroat by Native Trout Fly Fishing

bottom of page