Questions re Crescenti Cutthroat

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Jim Speaker, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. While on Lake Crescent one of the days Jim Wallace landed a beautiful cutt with a red tip on its dorsal fin. I, likewise landed several small cutts like this in Barnes Creek. These fish had distinct cutthroat slashes.

    I also landed a couple of decent sized cutthroat in the lake that did not have the distinctive red tip dorsal. And, the cutthroat gill slashes were nearly non-existent, although they did not appear to be hybridized with the Beardslee rainbows.

    According to Behnke, there are genetically pure Crescenti that spawn further downstream in the Lyre River than the rainbows. While, most of the cutthroat spawn in Barnes Creek where some hybridization has occurred.

    Does anyone know if both types of cutthroat we caught there were Crescenti?

    And, have others noted this red tip fin?

    I'm curious as to whether the Lyre River cutts do not have that feature. Since the ones I caught in Barnes Creek all had it, I'm supposing it may be unique to the Barnes Creek cutts.
  2. As far as I understand it, there are pure strain crescenti cutthroat trout down in the Lyre River, but the lake bound coastal cutthroat have been somewhat hybridized with the resident rainbows there, and you will see some variations in coloration and markings.
  3. In the chapter on Lake Crescent in Doug Rose's Fly Fishing Guide to The Olympic Peninsula, the name "downstream coastal cutthroat" was used to differentiate between the "other" Coastal Cutthroat in the lake and the Crescenti Cutthroat.
    I'll bet that refers to Barnes Creek cutts that migrate downstream into the lake. Just a guess.

    edit: Bob posted moments before me. I defer to Bob's explanation. Mine is just a guess.
  4. I got the Behnke reference from a Doug Rose blog post. Hm, interesting. I'm supposing as Bob stated there just is a good bit of variation resulting from varying levels hybridization and perhaps other environmental factors.
  5. To those who might fish Barnes Creek, I urge you to go easy on that fishery. From what I have gathered over the years from talking with Rangers who really know the area and from redd survey groups, it is probably a fragile fishery.
    I fish it once or twice a year and this is how I do so. I catch one fish for the sole purpose of appreciating its beauty and pondering its uniqueness. Perhaps a photo is taken. From then on, I clip my fly hook above the bend and continue fishing. The takes give me a feel for the size of the fish and their numbers. You'd be surprised how long some of them hold onto the fly.
    Bob Triggs, The Duke, Lugan and 5 others like this.
  6. The cutthroat trout spawning in the Lyre River and Barnes Creek are genetically distinct from one another. Hybridization with rainbow trout has occurred with both populations, but it's a little more prevalent with the Barnes Creek population. Both populations are genetically distinct from other coastal cutthroat trout populations.
    Jim Speaker likes this.
  7. Great idea, Jack. I have a #12 Royal Coachman already cut off at the bend that I was using for practice with my new 3 wt Redington CTs. Do you think they'll go for that? I haven't fished my 7 1/2 footer with my new Drift reel yet.
    I might have to nip it off and tie a fly on with a hook first, though.:D
  8. Good stuff. FYI, I did fish just a short stretch, with a #16 barbless (not mashed) EHC. After a 3 fish, largest at 9-10" and smallest about 6, appreciated their beauty, snapped one pic without touching the fish, and called it good.

    Beautiful up in there.

    Good reply. After going up in there to check it out I'd have to agree.
  9. Sounds like over the course of the week, then, caught beardslee, both local variations of clarki clarki, and a Kokanee. Sweet... :)
    Gary Knowels likes this.
  10. Behnke takes on the whole 'crescentis' question first in his 1992 monograph Native Trout of Western North America (p. 65) and again in his 2002 Trout & Salmon of North America (p. 147).

    The short story is that in 1886, researchers Jordan and Evermann examined a single specimen of a coastal cutthroat from Crescent Lake which curiously did not have basibranchial teeth. They concluded it was a hitherto unknown subspecies of cutthroat which they named Salmo gairdneri crescentis. Behnke has examined the same specimen in Chicago's Field Museum and found that indeed it had no basibranchial teeth, although 5 or 6 other specimens collected at the same time and place did.

    Behnke goes on to call Jordan and Evermann taxonomic 'splitters', subscribers to the notion that if a single specimen had even subtle differences from others, it must therefore be a different subspecies (instead of simply exhibiting different racial or individual characteristics.) Kinda like declaring that blondes with blue eyes are a different species from brunettes with brown eyes.

    By the 1930s, taxonomists were drifting away from being 'splitters' and more towards being 'lumpers', in which fewer species and subspecies names were used to describe broader populations of individuals, just like blondes and brunettes are both Homo sapiens. Not long afterward, all cutthroat were renamed as Onchorhynchus clarki (subspecies) and Salmo gairdneri crescentis was packed off into the sunset.

    Today, (despite some minor differences in lateral line scale counts and teeth) Behnke and others have concluded that the cutthroat found in Lake Crescent and its environs are more similar to coastal cutthroat than they are to any other types of cutts. All are simply named Oncorhynchus clarki clarki.

    It's possible that the red-finned fish you noted merely exhibited individualized appearance variations rather than being separate subspecies - kinda like catching a redhead!

    smc, Porter and Lugan like this.
  11. Kent, I did, however, find it interesting that all three caught in Barnes Creek had the red tipped dorsal, and the one Jim Wallace landed (mature 16" fish) was off a bank in the lake nearby. The other cutts without that characteristic were landed far from Barnes Creek. I thought it gave some weight to the notion that the Lyre River spawners are rather distinct from the Barnes fish.
  12. Heres a nice crescenti cutt. Caught it just off the dock at the camp at the far end a few years back. we were on a road trip and I brought a fly rod just in case. I was then informed by a park ranger that I wasn't supposed to be fishing there. oops. (they didn't have it posted anywhere) It was actually the same morning as the pic from my avatar.
    Absolutely beautiful fish, great fight and it even did some acrobatics on the glassy water. One of my most memorable fish. 283461_221361411239964_4613807_n.jpg
  13. In that photo I can just make out the red tipped dorsal fin.

    Great fish!
  14. Pat,
    Based on what was described to me, your fish is a coastal cutt. I've only fished there once, but I talked with a fellow from Waters West who was fishing while we were there.
    He described the types of fish we would likely catch. He said the coastal cutts would have a brownish color like your fish while the Crescenti cutts would be silver colored.
    I know when we fished it Crescent, I caught three different looking types of fish. The Beardslees rainbows had a very blue looking back which was really noticeable in the water.
    Since they advertise here, perhaps someone from Waters West can chime in.

    How about posting a picture of the cutt with the red tipped dorsal? I'd like to see it if possible.
  15. I'll post a pic of a fin close up on JW's fish, as well as a smaller fish in Barnes Cr. Gotta get em off my waterproof camera...
  16. Here are a couple of the photos of the red-tipped variation. These two are the 16-incher that JW caught. As it turns out, despite seeing it up close and personal on all three caught in Barnes Creek, it didn't turn out in the photos that I took of one of them. So I'll suffice to post these two. But, I absolutely guarantee you that it was exactly the same characteristic on a smaller scale, just a little red tip on the fin on all three of the juveniles that I caught.

    The Duke likes this.
  17. Heck, you can even see the red tip in this action shot, thanks to the gin clear waters of Lake Crescent...

    The Duke likes this.
  18. Thanks Jim
  19. very cool guys. Yes that fish was a brownish in color. Only fish I've caught out of crescent so I just figured it was the crescenti. Still awesome though.
  20. Thank you for the very interesting posts. Great pictures Jim! I used to vacation there every summer when I was young. Now I just drive by and wonder while en route to the OP rivers. I remember hiking the trail up to Marymere falls quite a few times. Is that Barnes Creek, or is it an adjacent stream?
    Jim Speaker likes this.

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