The Westslope Cutthroat
By Paul Prentiss

During the July trip to Alberta and British Columbia, the group which accompanied us got reacquainted with this magnificent fish.
Below the Great Falls of the Missouri River in present-day Montana, Captain Meriwether Lewis recorded in his journal entry of June 13,1805:

"Goodrich had caught half a dozen very fine trout and a number of both species of the whitefish. These trout (caught in the Falls) are from sixteen to twenty-three inches in length, precisely resemble our mountain or speckled trout inform and the position of their fins, but the specks on these are of a deep black instead of the red or gold color of those common to the U. States. These are furnished long sharp teeth on the palate and tongue, and have generally a small dash of red on each side behind the front ventral fins. The flesh is of a pale yellowish red or, when in good order, of a rose red."

Lewis did not know it at the time, but he became the first European to describe what is known today as the westslope cutthroat trout. (Silas Goodrich was the angler of the Lewis and Clark expedition and is described by Clark as "remarkably fond of fishing.")

Clark's "mountain or speckled trout" was the brook trout, which he knew from the East. Although I do not doubt the veracity of his observations, lengths of 16 to 23 inches (41-58 cm) are extremely large for the westslope cutthroat as we know it today. No matter what its size, the westslope cutthroat trout was much appreciated by the corps of discovery."

"Trout & Salmon of North America", Robert J Behnke

If you want to meet a few of these fish in 2006 in Alberta and British Columbia for a great, all inclusive price
send me an email
. Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite.

Dinner at our B&B on the Crowsnest River