Twenty-five populations of westslope cutthroat trout from throughout their native range were genotyped at 20 microsatellite loci to describe the genetic structure of westslope cutthroat trout. The most genetic diversity (heterozygosity, allelic richness, and private alleles) existed in populations from the Snake River drainage, while populations from the Missouri River drainage had the least. Neighbor-joining trees grouped populations according to major river drainages. A great amount of genetic differentiation was present among and within all drainages. Based on Nei's DS, populations in the Snake River were the most differentiated, while populations in the Missouri River were the least. This pattern of differentiation is consistent with a history of sequential founding events through which westslope cutthroat trout may have experienced a genetic bottleneck as they colonized each river basin from the Snake to the Clark Fork to the Missouri river. These data should serve as a starting point for a discussion on management units and possible distinct population segments. Given the current threats to the persistence of westslope cutthroat trout, and the substantial genetic differentiation between populations, these topics warrant attention. ?? 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.