Colorado River

An Artist’s Dream – Colorado River Cutthroat

While all cutthroat trout can turn a beautiful bright red during the spawn, the Colorado River Cutthroat seems to show off its colors year round, making it a favorite with artists and photographers. This native subspecies is also at home in some of the most beautiful places Utah has to offer. Colorado River cutties are found in the high elevations of the Uintas and in many lakes and a few streams on Boulder Mountain as well. There’s nothing quite like catching one of these gold and crimson beauties miles and miles away from civilization way up in the high country.

Gorgeous Colorado River Cutthroat Trout

Where to Find Colorado River Cutthroat in Utah

To zoom in, open dialogue and click on “Colorado River Cutthroat Trout”

Colorado River cutthroat trout (CRCT) are native to streams that flow into the Green and Colorado rivers. Any cutthroat trout caught while angling streams that are tributaries to the Green or Colorado rivers will be accepted as a CRCT for the Utah Native Cutthroat Slam.   Some headwater lakes in the Uinta Mountains have been historically stocked with non-native cutthroat trout. If you wish to angle CRCT from headwater lakes in the Uinta Mountains, check with the Northern Region UDWR Office (801-476-2740) or Northeastern Region UDWR Office (435-781-9453) for a list of lakes containing native CRCT. While many of the streams containing CRCT in Utah are remote and access can be difficult, the following areas/streams will provide the best opportunities to catch native Colorado River cutthroat trout in Utah:

North Slope of the Uinta Mountains:

  1. East Fork of the Blacks Fork
  2. Little East Fork of the Blacks Fork. While this reach is remote, a trail does parallel the stream.
  3. West Fork of the Smiths Fork
  4. Gilbert Creek. This stream was chemically restored to native CRCT in the early 2000s. Angling conditions can be tough as Gilbert Creek is a small, brushy stream.
  5. Henrys Fork. While this reach is remote, a trail does parallel the stream.
  6. Burnt Fork and tributaries
  7. North and South Forks of Sheep Creek
  8. Sheep Creek Lake


South Slope of the Uinta Mountains:

  1. Main stem Whiterocks River from Chepeta Lake outlet to lower Whiterocks Canyon.
  2. Reader Creek: CRCT densities are highest upstream of Chepeta Road Crossing.
  3. East Fork Whiterocks River
  4. Uinta River lower canyon upstream to headwater tributaries. While this reach is remote, a trail does parallel the stream.
  5. Yellowstone River
  6. Garfield Creek
  7. Hells Canyon Creek. Angling conditions can be tough as Hells Canyon Creek is a small, brushy stream.
  8. Lake Fork River upstream from Moon Lake
  9. Crater Lake outlet to confluence with the Lake Fork River
  10. Rock Creek upstream of Upper Stillwater Reservoir. While this reach is remote, a trail does parallel the stream.
  11. Fall Creek. While this reach is remote, a trail does parallel the stream.
  12. Outlet tributaries to Jody and Boot lakes
  13. South Fork of Rock Creek
  14. West Fork of the Duchesne River
  15. Currant Creek Reservoir and tributaries


North Tavaputs Plateau:

  1. Willow Creek (tributary to Strawberry River downstream from Soldier Creek Dam)
  2. Timber Canyon Creek
  3. Lake Canyon Lake
  4. West Willow Creek
  5. She Canyon Creek including headwater tributaries


Southeastern Utah: (for more information contact the Southeastern UDWR Office 435-613-3700)

  1. White River (Right, Left, and Middle Forks)
  2. Scad Valley Creek
  3. Ferron Reservoir
  4. Duck Creek reservoir (including tributaries)


Fremont River:

  1. UM Creek
  2. Pine Creek (south of Bicknell)


Escalante River:

  1. East and West Forks of Boulder Creek
  2. Pine Creek (upstream of the Box)
  3. Twitchell Creek
  4. White Creek


Southern Utah Lakes:  CRCT are stocked annually in several Boulder Mountain lakes, including Dougherty Basin Lake, Round Willow Bottom Reservoir, Long Willow Bottom Reservoir, Pine Creek Reservoir, Solitaire Lake, Crescent Lake, and Short Lake. Several other lakes on Boulder Mountain and Thousand Lake Mountain have had non-native cutthroat trout stocked historically. For a full list of lakes stocked with CRCT, refer to the Boulder Mountain Sport Fish Management Plan, Boulder Mountain fishing brochure, or call the Southern Region Office at 435-865-6100.

Colorado River Cutthroat Facts

High Mountain Colorado River Cuttie

Found in several high elevation streams and lakes in the Uinta Mountains and Boulder Mountains

Currently present in about 30% of its historic range

Has a tendency to be colored very brilliantly when found in the right habitat


Photo by USFWS Mountain Prairie, reflect colors enhanced / CC BY

Ready to Get Started?

The Utah Cutthroat Slam is a challenge and an adventure. Visit incredible waters to see what trout fishing in Utah was like way back then. Help Trout Unlimited and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources restore and protect Utah’s incredible trout legacy and have fun along the way.

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