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Cutthroat trout vary widely in size, coloration, and habitats. Though their coloration can range from golden to gray to green on the back, depending on subspecies and habitat, all populations feature distinctive red, pink, or orange marks on the underside of the lower jaw; usually the easiest diagnostic of the species for the casual observer. As adults, different populations and subspecies of cutthroat can range from 6-40 inches (3-100 cm) in length making size an ineffective indicator as to species. There are 14 subspecies of cutthroat trout.
Habitat and Range
Some populations live primarily in the Pacific Ocean as adults and return to fresh water from fall through early spring, to feed on freshwater insects and to spawn. Most populations, however, stay in freshwater throughout their lives and are known as non-migratory, stream-resident or riverine populations.