Coastal Cutthroat Trout

Discovering new life histories

A coastal cutthroat trout in Indian Creek. Photo: John McMillan

This study reports the occurrence and details of spawning by coastal cutthroat trout in Indian Creek in the Elwha River, Washington, in October and November. This is unusually early in the season for this characteristically spring‐spawning species and is much earlier than conspecifics elsewhere in the river system and the region. We hypothesize the stream’s low gradient and lake‐dampened hydrologic regime reduced the depth of gravel scouring in the fall, and thus permitted the evolution of such an early breeding date by these small‐bodied (ca. 20–35 cm) fish.