Life history migrations of adult Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout in the upper Yellowstone River

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
By: , and 



Knowledge of salmonid life history types at the watershed scale is increasingly recognized as a cornerstone for effective management. In this study, we used radiotelemetry to characterize the life history movements of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri in the upper Yellowstone River, an extensive tributary that composes nearly half of the drainage area of Yellowstone Lake. In Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout have precipitously declined over the past 2 decades primarily due to predation from introduced Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush. Radio tags were implanted in 152 Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, and their movements monitored over 3 years. Ninety-six percent of tagged trout exhibited a lacustrine–adfluvial life history, migrating upstream a mean distance of 42.6 km to spawn, spending an average of 24 d in the Yellowstone River before returning to Yellowstone Lake. Once in the lake, complex postspawning movements were observed. Only 4% of radio-tagged trout exhibited a fluvial or fluvial–adfluvial life history. Low prevalence of fluvial and fluvial–adfluvial life histories was unexpected given the large size of the upper river drainage. Study results improve understanding of life history diversity in potamodromous salmonids inhabiting relatively undisturbed watersheds and provide a baseline for monitoring Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout response to management actions in Yellowstone Lake.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Life history migrations of adult Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout in the upper Yellowstone River
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1080/02755947.2017.1313793
Volume 37
Issue 4
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 743
Last page 755
Country United States
Other Geospatial Upper Yellowstone River
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table