Overview

North America is graced with a wide variety of native salmonids, which include trout, salmon, char, grayling, and whitefish. This currently page contains pictures and information on species from four of the genuses of salmonids native to North America; Oncorhynchus (Pacific trout and salmon), Salmo (Atlantic trout and salmon); Salvelinus (Char) from the family Salmonidae and Thymallus (Grayling) from Thymallinae. It has been my goal to catch all of the North American species of trout, salmon and char and on this page I have photographs of those that I have caught so far. For more pictures and information on a specific species on this page click on the picture of the fish.

Pacific Salmon

All Pacific salmon belong to the genus Oncorhynchus, which also includes several species of Pacific trout. In North America, there are five species of native Pacific salmon: Chinook, coho, chum, sockeye and pink. Pacific salmon share several traits in common such as anadromyA migratory life history in which the fish are born in freshwater, migrate to the marine environment and return to freshwater to spawn. , semelparityWhen a fish dies after a single spawning event, and homingWhere migratory adults return to the same stream that they were born in. behaviors, although there are exceptions to these traits for some species. Such as lake and stream resident populations of some of the species that occur throughout their range.

Pacific salmon populations are currently depressed throughout much of their native range due to a variety of issues. The major threats to Pacific salmon are summed up with the four H's: 1) Harvest from commercial and recreational fishing. 2) Habitat destruction from development, logging, alterations to streams, and other issues. 3) Hydropower (dams), which block the upstream migration of adult salmon and may cause death or injury to smolts during their downstream migration. 4) Hatchery fish which compete with wild salmon for food and also interbreed with native salmon leading to a loss of fitness in the local environment. Currently, there are many efforts under way to conserve and maintain sustainable natural populations of Pacific salmon, but many populations have already gone extinct and the future of these fish remains uncertain.

Species and Subspecies

Click on a picture for more information

Chinook Salmon

Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

 

Coho Salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

 

Chum Salmon

Oncorhynchus keta

 

Pink Salmon

Oncorhynchus gorbuscha

 

Sockeye Salmon

Oncorhynchus nerka

 

 

UnrepresentedHave not be caught or photographed as part of this website Species and Subspecies

Black Kokanee or Kunimasu salmon

Oncorhynchus nerka kawamurae

Asia - Japan

Masu salmon

Oncorhynchus masou masou

Asia

Biwa salmon

Oncorhynchus masou rhodurus

Asia - Japan

Amago salmon

Oncorhynchus masou macrostomus

Asia - Japan

Formosan salmon

Oncorhynchus masou formosanus

Asia - Taiwan

 

Rainbow and Redband Trout

Rainbow Trout or Oncorhynchus mykiss is one of the Pacific Trout that is native to western North America and Northeastern Asia. Rainbow Trout like Pacific Salmon have the ability to migrate between fresh and salt water and home to their natal stream to spawn again. The anadromous form of Rainbow and Redband Trout are commonly called Steelhead and has become a very popular game fish throughout the Pacific Northwest and other parts of the world where it has been introduced. Unlike Pacific Salmon, all Rainbow and Redband Trout are iteroparous meaning that have the ability to spawn more than once. Rainbow Trout are a diverse species and have a number of subspecies including Kamchatkan Rainbow Trout, Coastal Rainbow Trout, Columbia Basin Redband, Northern Great Basin Redband (there are several unique forms of these Redbands), McCloud River Redband, Eagle Lake Rainbow, California Golden Trout, Little Kern River Golden Trout, Kern River Rainbow Trout and Baja Rainbow Trout. In many basins, there are no clear barriers to separate these subspecies and instead there appear to be transitional forms, which have made classification of Rainbow Trout problematic. In the Northern Great Basins of Oregon, Nevada and California, there are eight unique populations of Redband Trout each native to a different internal basin; Harney-Malheur, Fort Rock, Upper Klamath Lake, Klamath Headwaters, Chewaucan, Goose Lake, Warner Lakes, and Catlow Basins as well as the White River Redband in Northern Oregon. The Upper Klamath Lake Redband Trout identified as Oncorhynchus mykiss newberrii, but the classification of the other Northern Great Basin Redband trout is still a matter of debate. However, genetics work indicates that the Chewaucan, Goose Lake and Warner Lakes Redband are most closely related to the Redband of the Sacramento Basin, while White River, Fort Rock, Catlow and Harney-Malheur are most closely related to Columbia Basin Redband. Anadromous Redband and Rainbow Trout face the same threats as Pacific Salmon, but for non-anadromous Redband and Rainbow Trout populations tend to be more threatened by the introduction of non-native trout. Hatchery strain Rainbow Trout tend to be the greatest threat to many of these subspecies because they have the ability to interbreed with them and produce hybrids, but non-native Cutthroat, Brook Trout and Brown Trout have led to the decline of many native Rainbow and Redband Trout populations. Due to the popularity of the Rainbow Trout, they have been stocked widely outside of their native range and can now be found across most of North America, and parts of Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

Hatchery Strain Rainbow Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss

 

Coastal Rainbow Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus

 

Columbia Basin Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri

 

Harney-Malheur Basin Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp.

 

White River Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp.

 

Fort Rock Basin Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp.

 

Klamath Lakes Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss newberrii

 

Klamath Headwaters Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss newberrii

 

Catlow Valley Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp.

 

Chewaucan Basin Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp.

 

Warner Valley Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp.

 

Goose Lake Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp.

 

Pit River Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss stonei

 

McCloud River Redband

Oncorhynchus mykiss stonei

 

Eagle Lake Rainbow Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss aquilarum

 

Kern River Rainbow Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss gilberti

 

California Golden Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita

 

Little Kern Golden Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss whitei

 

 

UnrepresentedHave not be caught or photographed as part of this website Subspecies

Asian Rainbow Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss mykiss

Kamchatka, Russia

Baja Rainbow Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss nelsoni

Baja California, Mexico

 

Apache and Gila Trout

The Gila and Apache Trout are native to the headwaters of the Salt and Gila River drainages of Arizona and New Mexico. These trout are believed to be most closely associated with the rainbow trout lineage but are differentiated enough to earn the status a two subspecies of the species Oncorhynchus gilae. Both of these trout are well adapted to the unstable and seemingly inhospitable environment of the American Southwest, but have suffered tremendous declines since the arrival of Euro-Americans within their native range. The main cause of their decline has been the introduction of non-native trout within their native streams, especially rainbow trout which readily hybridize with both fish. It has only been in recent years that these rare trout have started to recover as years of restoration efforts have finally started to pay off.

Gila Trout

Oncorhynchus gilae gilae

 

Apache Trout

Oncorhynchus gilae apache

 

Mexican Trout

There are a number of species or subspecies of currently undescribed and largely unknown trout most closely related to the rainbow trout lineage found int he Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico.

UnrepresentedHave not be caught or photographed as part of this website Subspecies

Rio Yaqui Trout

Oncorhynchus sp.

Rio Yaqui, Mexico

Rio Mayo Trout

Oncorhynchus sp.

Rio Mayo, Mexico

Rio Fuerte Mexican Golden Trout

Oncorhynchus chrysogaster ssp.

Rio Fuerte, Mexico

Rio Sinaloa Mexican Golden Trout

Oncorhynchus chrysogaster ssp.

Rio Sinaloa, Mexico

Rio Culiacán Mexican Golden Trout

Oncorhynchus chrysogaster ssp.

Rio Culiacán, Mexico

Rio San Lorenzo Trout

Oncorhynchus sp.

Rio San Lorenzo, Mexico

Rio Piaxtla Trout

Oncorhynchus sp.

Rio Piaxtla, Mexico

Rio del Presidio Trout

Oncorhynchus sp.

Rio del Presidio, Mexico

Rio Baluarte Trout

Oncorhynchus sp.

Rio Baluarte watershed

Rio Acaponeta Trout

Oncorhynchus sp.

Rio Acaponeta, Mexico

Northern Conchos Trout

Oncorhynchus sp.

Rio Conchos, Mexico

Southern Conchos Trout

Oncorhynchus sp.

Rio Conchos, Mexico

Cutthroat Trout

The cutthroat trout are Pacific trout that is native to western North America. Cutthroat trout get their name from markings found under their lower jaw that can be red, yellowish or orange colored and make it look as though their throat is bleeding. Like rainbow trout all cutthroat are iteroparous and the coastal cutthroat is anadromous, although it doesnt make as extensive of marine migrations as other anadromous members of the genus Oncorhynchus. Fishermen often consider the cutthroat to be too easy to catch when compared to other species of trout and they are generally misconstrued as poor fighters that will readily accept any offering. What truth is found in these opinions of the cutthroat's character is likely a result of the remote and rugged environments that these fish inhabit.

Cutthroat were historically considered a single species with 14 subspecies: the Coastal Cutthroat, Westslope Cutthroat, Yellowstone Cutthroat, Snake River Fine Spotted Cutthroat, Bonneville Cutthroat, Colorado River Cutthroat, Greenback Cutthroat, Yellowfin Cutthroat (extinct), and Rio Grande Cutthroat, Lahontan Cutthroat, Humboldt Cutthroat, Whitehorse Basin Cutthroat, Alvord Cutthroat (thought to be extinct), and Paiute Cutthroat (Trotter 1987, Behnke 1992, Behnke 2002, Trotter 2008). Within these fourteen subspecies, the Coastal Cutthroat, Westslope Cutthroat, Yellowstone Cutthroat and Lahontan Cutthroat were considered to be major subspecies that are believed to have diverged from each other about a million years ago. However, a revised classification based on recent genetic evidence has proposed to elevate the major subspecies to full species and 25 associated subspecies (Trotter et al. 2018). Although the 2018 classification has not been fully accepted yet, it represents the best available science on cutthroat and is what this website will follow until the scientific evidence indicates otherwise. Under this new classification Coastal cutthroat is considered a single species with no associated subspecies. The Westslope cutthroat complex contains 9 subspecies: The Missouri River Westslope cutthroat, Neoboreal Westslope Cutthroat, Coeur d Alene Westslope Cutthroat, St. Joe Westslope Cutthroat, North Fork Clearwater Westslope Cutthroat, Clearwater Headwaters Westslope Cutthroat, Clearwater-Eastern Cascades Westslope Cutthroat, Salmon River Westslope Cutthroat and the John Day River Westslope Cutthroat. The Rocky Mountain Cutthroat trout includes 9 subspecies: the Yellowstone Cutthroat (including the Snake River Finespotted Cutthroat), Bear River Cutthroat, Bonneville Cutthroat, Green River Cutthroat, Colorado River Cutthroat, San Juan River Cutthroat, Greenback Cutthroat and Yellowfin Cutthroat. The Lahontan Cutthroat complex contains 6 subspecies: the Lahontan Cutthroat, Paiute Cutthroat, Quinn River Cutthroat, Humboldt Cutthroat, Alvord Cutthroat and Willow-Whitehorse Basin Cutthroat.

Like many other native salmonids, the cutthroat trout have not fared well over the last century across their native range with perhaps the largest threat to their existence being non-native trout. Fueled by the cutthroat's reputation as an unselective and poor fighting trout, other "more desirable" species of trout have long been stocked into native cutthroat waters. The cutthroat's more popular relative the rainbow trout has been the greatest threat to their existence although other non-native trout such as the brown trout and brook trout have also caused problems. Brook and brown trout typical out-compete cutthroat where the fish occur together, as these two non-natives are fall spawners while cutthroat spawn in the spring. This leaves the cutthroat's offspring hard pressed to compete with the larger juvenile brook and brown that hatch several months earlier than cutthroat. While brook and brown trout are dangerous competitors to cutthroat, rainbow trout are a much greater threat due to their ability to interbreed with cutthroat. This has already left two subspecies of cutthroat; the Alvord and Yellowfin extinct and has brought a number of the other subspecies dangerously close to extinction. Today we are beginning to learn from our past mistakes and things are starting to improve for the cutthroat as they are being protected and re-introduced across their native range.

Coastal Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus clarki

 

Lahontan Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus henshawi henshawi

 

Paiute Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus henshawi seleniris

 

Humboldt Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus henshawi humboldtensis

 

Willow-Whitehorse Basin Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus henshawi ssp.

 

Alvord Cutthroat ("extinct")

Oncorhynchus henshawi alvordensis

 

Missouri River Westslope Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus lewisi lewisi

 

Neoboreal Westslope Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus lewisi ssp.

 

Coeur d' Alene Westslope Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus lewisi ssp.

 

St. Joe River Westslope Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus lewisi ssp.

 

North Fork Clearwater Westslope Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus lewisi ssp.

 

Clearwater Headwaters Westslope Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus lewisi ssp.

 

Clearwater-Eastern Cascades Westslope Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus lewisi ssp.

 

Salmon River Westslope Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus lewisi ssp.

 

John Day Westslope Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus lewisi ssp.

 

Yellowstone Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus virginalis bouvieri

 

Snake River Finespotted Cutthroat

Formerly Oncorhynchus virginalis behnkei

 

Bear River Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus virginalis ssp.

 

Colorado River Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus virginalis pleuriticus

 

Green River Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus virginalis ssp.

 

Rio Grande Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus virginalis virginalis

 

 

UnrepresentedHave not be caught or photographed as part of this website Subspecies

Quinn River Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus henshawi ssp.

Quinn River, Nevada, USA

Bonneville Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus virginalis utah

Bonneville Basin, Utah, USA

Greenback Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus virginalis stomias

South Platte River, Colorado, USA

San Juan Cutthroat

Oncorhynchus virginalis ssp.

San Juan River, Colorado, USA

Yellowfin Cutthroat (extinct)

Oncorhynchus virginalis macdonaldi

Arkansas River, Colorado, USA

Atlantic Trout and Salmon

The genus Salmo is comprised of two species that are found in North America (one native and one introduced), as well as a number of other species and subspecies native to Europe, Africa and Asia. All of the fish of this genus are iteroparous (can spawn more than once). The two species from this genus that are found in North America are the native Atlantic salmon and non-native brown trout. The original distribution of Atlantic salmon in North America was form the Housatonic River in Connecticut to streams flowing into Ungava Bay in Canada. While the Pacific salmon a currently facing threats to their populations the Atlantic salmon populations are in much worst condition. Soon after European settlers began to colonize the east coast of the North American continent threats to Atlantic Salmon began to set in and today due to the same problems that are now affecting populations Pacific salmon, Atlantic salmon have gone extinct in most streams in the eastern United States and are threatened or extinct in many Canadian streams as well. While the European settlers brought with them the demise of the Atlantic salmon they also brought the brown trout, which is thriving in across North America today. This trout which is native to Europe, Northern Africa and Asia has become a popular game fish across the world.

Atlantic Salmon

Salmo salar

 

Brown Trout

Salmo trutta

 

Char

Char or the fish or the genus Salvelinus very closely related to trout and salmon but differ in appearance. While trout and salmon have black spots on a light background color, char have light colored spots on a darker background color. In comparison to trout and salmon, char tend to be more of a cold water fish and have an optimum temperature range of between 50F and 57F. In North America there are five species of char: brook trout, lake trout, bull trout, Dolly Varden and Arctic char. Three of these species; Bull Trout, Dolly Varden, and Arctic Char overlap in certain parts of their range and are so similar in appearance that genetic testing often has to be done to tell them apart. Char are notoriously challenging to classify and as such the listed of species include is my best understanding of where the latest science stands on the species classifications for char.

Coastal Bull Trout

Salvelinus confluentus confluenus

 

Interior Bull Trout

Salvelinus confluentus ssp.

 

Southern Dolly Varden

Salvelinus malma lordi

 

Brook Trout

Salvelinus fontinalis

 

 

UnrepresentedHave not be caught or photographed as part of this website Subspecies

Northern Dolly Varden

Salvelinus malma malma

Alaska, USA; Yukon Territory, Canada; Russia

Asian Southern Dolly Varden

Salvelinus malma kraschrninnikova

Asia

Miyabe Char

Salvelinus malma miyabei

Japan

Lake Trout

Salvelinus namaychus

USA and Canada

Aurora Trout

Salvelinus fontinalis timagamiensis

Ontario, Canada

Silver Trout

Salvelinus fontinalis agassizi

New Hampshire, USA (Extinct)

North American Arctic Char

Salvelinus alpinus erythrinus

Alaska, USA and Canada

Blueback Char

Salvelinus alpinus oquassa

Maine, USA and Quebec, Canada

Taranets Char

Salvelinus aplinus taranetzi

Alaska, USA and Russia

European Arctic Char

Salvelinus alpinus alpinus

Northern Europe

Alpine Arctic Char

Salvelinus alpinus salvelinus

France and Germany

Whitespotted Char

Salvelinus leucomaenis leucomaenis

Asia

Kirikuchi Char

Salvelinus leucomaenis japanicus

Japan

Gogi Char

Salvelinus leucomaenis imbrius

Japan

Nikko Char

Salvelinus leucomaenis pluvius

Japan

Yellowmouth or Levanidov Char

Salvelinus levanidovi

Russia

Longfin Char

Salvelinus svetovidovi

Lake El'gygytgyn, Russia

Grayling and Whitefish

The fish of the genus Prosopium or whitefish and Thymallus or grayling are salmonids, but are much more distantly related to trout, salmon and char and are actually in separate families Thyamllinae and Coregoninae. In North America, there is only one native species of grayling Arctic grayling. There are three other species grayling as well found outside of North America, which include the: Mongolian grayling, European grayling, and Kosogol grayling. The fish of the family Coregoninae are much more prolific, with 30 species, although there are only six species of whitefish in the genus Prosopium.

Arctic Grayling

Thymallus arcticus pallus

 

Mountain Whitefish

Prosopium williamsoni