Fish species information
Bonneville cutthroat trout
Bonneville cutthroat trout fins
Bonneville Cutthroat Trout (Bear Lake strain) Oncorhynchus clarki utah: Bonneville cutthroat trout are the most common gamefish in Strawberry, and are easily caught with many types of fishing techniques. The future of these fish in Strawberry depends on anglers voluntarily releasing these fish. Natural reproduction in the system can account for as much as 60 percent of the adult cutthroat in Strawberry, and large four-year-old and older fish (18 inches and larger) are needed for effective spawning success. These fish are also voracious predators, and large cutthroat are needed in the system to help control nongame fish populations. Diet analyses during the 2001 and 2002 gillnetting has verified that these fish are starting to prey heavily on the non-game fish in Strawberry. By releasing these fish and allowing them to get larger, they will be more effective spawners and predators in Strawberry, as well as the chance for these fish to obtain trophy sizes.
These fish can easily be identified by the orange color on the pectoral and anal fins (see above photo). Also, they have relatively few spots on the head and front (anterior) portion of the back compared to the tail (posterior) end. The spots are also large and fairly distinct. These cutthroat will sometimes have a pair of orange slashes under the jaw, though these are often not distinct, and this is not the best characteristic to use in identification. During spawning these fish will get brightly colored with orange and reddish splashes on the gill covers and sides, making some people misidentify these fish as rainbows.
Rainbow trout fins
Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss: The rainbow trout in Strawberry are sterilized to prevent interbreeding with the cutthroat trout. These fish have the potential to get large very fast when the conditions at Strawberry are conducive. This is partly due to these fish expending less energy to reproduction, and more to growth. By voluntarily releasing these fish, there is the potential for trophy sized rainbows in Strawberry because of their rapid growth in this productive system. Rainbows are known for their aggressive fight on the end of a pole.
Rainbows can be easily identified by the bright reddish stripe along the side, and are easily distinguished from cutthroat by the grayish colored fins that may have some red or pink in them as opposed to the orange colored fins of the cutthroat (see pictures above). Their spots are usually smaller and less distinct than cutthroat spots. The spots will typically be very numerous and will be fairly uniform on the back from head to tail.
Kokanee Salmon Oncorhynchus nerka: Kokanee salmon are becoming more and more popular at Strawberry. They not only offer a fun fishing opportunity, but also provide a great watchable wildlife activity. They can be seen spawning in large numbers some years in the major tributaries. All of these fish die when they spawn. The kokanee are arguably the best eating fish in the reservoir before they start to change color for spawning. When they start to change color and begin spawning, they stop eating and as a result they are not as good to eat at this point. Make sure you come and see these spawning fish, but please leave the fish in the stream alone and do not disturb the spawning redds.
Kokanee are silver in color during most of the year, and have few if any spots. Adults will change color during their spawning season (generally mid-August through early October), and become predominantly red in color with an olive colored head and tail.