The Yellowstone River is renowned for its incredible trout fishing opportunities. Anglers from all over the world flock to this iconic river in search of the elusive and prized trout species that call it home. In this article, we will explore the different kinds of trout that you can expect to find in the Yellowstone River and gain a deeper understanding of their characteristics and habits.
Native Trout Species
The Yellowstone River is home to two native trout species: the Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout and the Mountain Whitefish.
Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout
The Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout is the most famous and beloved trout species found in this river. Known for its vibrant colors and distinctive red slash marks on its throat, it is a sight to behold. This species prefers cold, clear water and can be found throughout most of the river’s length.
– Olive-green or yellowish-brown body with scattered black spots
– Reddish-orange slash marks on lower jaw
– Average length of 12-16 inches, but can grow up to 20 inches or more
Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout prefer deep pools with moderate flow, as well as slower-moving stretches of water near undercut banks or fallen trees. They are typically found in the middle to lower sections of the river.
The Mountain Whitefish is another native trout species that inhabits the Yellowstone River. While not as glamorous as its cutthroat counterpart, it offers an exciting angling experience for those who appreciate a good fight.
– Slender body with silver or olive-green coloration
– Small scales and a small mouth
– Average length of 12-18 inches
Mountain Whitefish can be found throughout most of the Yellowstone River, especially in riffles and runs with gravel or rocky bottoms. They are known to congregate in large schools, making them an excellent Target for anglers.
Introduced Trout Species
In addition to the native species, the Yellowstone River is also home to several introduced trout species that have thrived in its waters. These include the Brown Trout and the Rainbow Trout.
The Brown Trout is a highly prized game fish that has been introduced to many rivers worldwide, including the Yellowstone. It is known for its aggressive nature and ability to grow to impressive sizes.
– Olive-brown or golden-brown coloration with scattered black and red spots
– Square-shaped tail fin
– Average length of 12-20 inches, but can reach lengths exceeding 30 inches
Brown Trout prefer deeper pools and undercut banks, especially those with cover such as logs or boulders. They can be found throughout most of the river’s length.
The Rainbow Trout is another popular introduced trout species that has become a favorite among anglers on the Yellowstone River. Known for its dazzling colors and acrobatic leaps, it provides an exciting challenge for fly fishermen.
– Silvery body with a pinkish stripe along its sides
– Small black spots on back, fins, and tail
– Average length of 10-16 inches, but can grow up to 24 inches or more
Rainbow Trout prefer faster-moving water with plenty of oxygen. They can be found in riffles, runs, and deep pools throughout the river.
The Yellowstone River offers a diverse range of trout species for anglers to Target. Whether you’re after the native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, the Mountain Whitefish, or the introduced Brown and Rainbow Trout, you’re sure to have an unforgettable fishing experience on this legendary river. Remember to respect the environment and practice catch-and-release to ensure the sustainability of these incredible trout populations.