Trout Identification

Here are the types of trout we catch on our guide trips!!  This page can also help you identify various species of trout if you are not sure of what you have caught!!

Identify Cutthroat Trout

Green Back Cutthroat Trout: Rare; found in small mountain streams and lakes along Colorado’s Front Range.

Rio Grand Cutthroat trout: Has far less spots and has been introduced to select waters in our area.

Snake River Cutthroat trout: Lots of small spots. This fish is very brightly colored due to spawning colors!! Pronounced red marking under the jaw.

Although the three fish pictured above are all Cutthroat Trout, they are remarkably different. There are more species of “cuts” in Colorado and the West than pictured above, but these are the subspecies we most commonly catch on the front range.

As trout get ready to spawn, their colors tend to get brighter. Males show off brilliant colors, their jaw bone becomes more pronounced and takes on a hooked shape. Females tend to be duller in color and their heads have a more rounded shape.

Brown Trout Identification:

Easily identified by their brownish color, “browns” are revered by trout fisherman due to their beauty and their reputation as being the hardest species to fool!!

Brook Trout Identification:

Actually a member of the Char family, these beautiful fish take on amazing color, especially as they get close to the spawn. Watch for the characteristic reddish fins with white tips.

Rainbow Trout Identification

Both of these “Bows” were caught out of the South Platte River at the same time of year, yet they look strikingly different. They both have the characteristic rainbow stripe and the rose-colored gill plate, but the fish on the right is more silver-colored. Watch for rainbows to have very different coloration ranging from very silver or chrome-colored to very dark deep red. These color variations occur naturally from genetics, gender, time of year, and food source. A staple of western fly fishing, the feisty rainbow trout has a permanent place in most fly fishermans’ hearts

Hybrid Cut-Bow Trout

The “cut-bow” is a genetic cross between a rainbow and a cutthroat trout. They can exhibit a wide range of characteristics. When identifying a hybrid look for the characteristics of a rainbow but with the red-orange color slash (visible above) below the trout’s jaw. This is the tell-tale characteristic of a cutthroat trout that usually shows through in a hybrid.

Palomino Rainbow Trout

This rare fish is a bit of a novelty. It is actually an albino rainbow trout. Palomino rainbows are caught only by the lucky few who find them

Tiger trout