Westslope Cutthroat Trout Information
The Westslope Cutthroat Trout is Montana’s state fish and a popular game fish. Two things that separate Glacier Anglers from many of the other outfitters and fisheries in Montana, let alone the rest of the country, is that we’re fishing for native trout on completely unimpeded freestone rivers. You’re hard pressed in many parts of America, even in a state as unpopulated as Montana, to find trout streams devoid of dams, diversions, weirs and other such thumbprints of human development. We are lucky enough to have two such watersheds, the Middle and North Forks of the Flathead, two of the cleanest rivers in North America, right in our backyard. And in these pure, protected streams swims a species of fish that has made its home for thousands of years.
The Westslope Cutthroat Trout, in addition to being an extremely beautiful and lively fish, is a remarkable indicator of water cleanliness and stream health. These fish are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine … if the health of a river begins to degrade they are often the first fish to go. This sensitivity combined with the decline of many western rivers has resulted in a relatively small habitat range, primarily consisting of Western Montana, Idaho and Southeast British Columbia.
Cutthroat fishing on the Flathead can be a special experience for anglers of all ability levels. These fish offer beginners a great opportunity to catch fish, as they are quick to the fly and often aren’t nearly as line shy as the residents of Montana’s more heavily trafficked trout streams. For the experienced fisherman the challenge comes in targeting the largest and wiliest Cutthroat, some measuring 18″-20+”. In the past few years we’ve seen our local Cutthroat population grow in both average size and quantity, observations that bode well for the health of our rivers and your chances of catching many native trout.