|Cutthroat (Native) Trout - Several subspecies of cutthroat trout are found in Colorado, of which three are native – the Greenback, the Rio Grande and the Colorado. The range of these fish has decreased due to a variety of habitat factors, and extensive recovery efforts are underway by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Cutthroat trout can be distinguished from rainbows by heavier spotting toward the tail and the presence of a red slash on their “throat.” Anglers may find these trout in high lakes and streams.|
|Brown Trout - The brown trout was first brought into this state in the 1890s and is now abundant from high mountain streams to broad rivers flowing onto the plains. These fish can be difficult to catch, but many anglers have good success during their fall spawning runs. A large dark spotting pattern and reddish dots can help anglers distinguish these fish from rainbows and cutthroats.|
|Rainbow Trout - These fish were introduced in the 1880s and have become both the angler’s favorite and the mainstay of Colorado’s hatchery system (millions of catchable and subcatchable sized fish are stocked annually). Rainbows can be found in most mountain lakes and streams, as well as many plains reservoirs. Physical characteristics that can help distinguish rainbow trout include dark spots on a light body, continuous spotting throughout the body, and often a “rainbow” horizontal reddish stripe. Rainbow trout may be caught with a variety of flies, baits, and lures.|
|Brook Trout - An entry to Colorado in the late 1800s, the brook trout feeds on aquatic and terrestrial insects and will rise to a large range of small lures, baits and flies. Brook trout have white spots (worm-shaped on top) on a dark background with tri-colored outlined fins (orange, black and white). This prolific fish often becomes overpopulated and can out-compete other trout. They are typically found in higher elevation lakes, beaver dams and streams.|
|Kokanee Salmon - Kokanee (land-locked Pacific sockeye salmon) are suited to the large, fluctuating mountain reservoirs of Colorado. These silver fish with black spots on the upper half of their bodies can be found swimming in compact schools feeding on zooplankton, a food source unaffected by the drawing down of reservoirs. They turn reddish in color and males develop a “hook jaw” during the fall spawning season. Trolling with cowbells at medium depths provides angling success. Special snagging seasons are offered on some areas during spawning runs, and provide much of the catch for these delicious salmon. Kokanee die after spawning.|
|Lake Trout (Mackinaw) - Lake trout, also known as Mackinaw, are the largest trout in North America. Mackinaws have white spots on a dark background with a deep fork in their tail. As the name suggests, these fish are found in mountain lakes and are usually in deeper water. Anglers also enjoy success with this species during the fall and spring in shallower areas and when ice-fishing.|
|Mountain Whitefish - A native to Colorado in the Yampa and White rivers,whitefish have also been introduced in the Colorado River and Cache la Poudre drainages. These fish have larger scales than trout and still possess an adipose fin (small flap of skin on their back toward the tail). A weak mouth means delicate hooking and handling is required to land this fish. Smoked whitefish are considered a delicacy in many parts of the country.
|Splake - Splake are a hybrid species of lake and brook trout with the best features of both fish. They can be difficult to distinguish as they hold characteristics from both parents. Splake have tri-colored pelvic fins like brook trout and their tails are slightly forked. Splake are found in high mountains lakes and have been used since the 1980s to thin out stunted brook trout populations. Anglers relish their large sizes (up to 18 pounds) and find success with flies, lures and bait during the summer.|