Coastal cutthroat trout Onchorhynchus clarkii clarkii life-history variants, migration and freshwater residency were monitored using stationary passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag arrays in two tributaries of the Columbia River from 2001 to 2005 (Abernathy Creek, river kilometre, rkm 76) and from 2002 to 2005 (Chinook River, rkm 6). In 2001-2003 and 2002-2003 (Abernathy and Chinook, respectively), 300-500 coastal O. c. clarkii were captured in each tributary by electrofishing and implanted with 23 mm PIT tags. PIT arrays monitored movements from the initiation of tagging through the spring of 2005. Rotary screw traps were also operated on both tributaries. In Abernathy Creek, 28% of tagged individuals were observed through either active capture or passive interrogation. Of these, 32% were identified as migrants and 68% were identified as residents. In the Chinook River, 48% of tagged fish were observed subsequent to tagging; 92% of these fish were migrants and only 8% were resident. In both tributaries, a greater proportion of resident fish were in the upper reaches. The majority of migrants (78-93%) moved the spring following tagging. Migrants leaving at age 2+ years tended to grow faster than those that migrated at age 3+ years or residents. Patterns of growth or growth opportunities may influence both patterns of life-history expression and the timing of migration. ?? 2009 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.