Some places race horses. Some greyhounds. In Montana, we’re betting on a group of tagged cutthroat trout as they race their way up the Clark Fork River.

The project is a joint venture between Trout Unlimited and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to learn more about how trout use the habitat in Rock Creek. Trout are tagged and then adopted through a donation, which is used to fund future work.

The leaderboard:

The public can then follow the trout — Sweetie, Huckleberry, Cindy, Ol Greg, Silver, Roxy, Free Willy, Silly Goofers 2 and all the rest — as they are tracked through the system.

“The Race Up Rock Creek is really a spin-off the joint research to track cutthroat trout, so you can actually follow all the movement of these tagged cutthroat live — as FWP is actually tracking them,” explained Tess Scanlon Rock Creek Project coordinator for TU.

Researchers tagging cutthroat

Last year, researchers learned Rock Creek is home to a number of pure cutthroat. This year they’re focusing on a few new questions like:

  • In which tributaries is hybridization occurring? 
  • Which tributaries are the pure cutthroats using?
  • What are the barriers to upstream fish migrations?
  • What is the habitat like where they spawn? 
  • What causes mortality?

Those who want to donate or follow the race can watch the progress at

By Shauna Stephenson. Shauna Stephenson has been a writer, photographer, communicator and conservationist for nearly two decades, the past decade being spent at Trout Unlimited, working on projects…