Cutthroat trout stocked for first time in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Hatchery crews with the Fisheries Division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources stocked 38,000 cutthroat trout in late March in the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam.

“These are surplus Yellowstone strain cutthroat trout from Norfork National Fish Hatchery in Arkansas,” said Dave Dreves, assistant director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “All we had to do was go get them. There is no cost for these fish, other than transportation costs. This is the first time cutthroat trout have been stocked in the state.”

Crews stocked 5,100 trout at Bakerton, 21,600 at Burkesville and 11,300 at the KY 61 Bridge, just downstream from Burkesville in the Cumberland River. They averaged just over 6 inches long.

“We ask anglers to not confuse the cutthroat trout with the other trout species as there are different regulations for each species,” Dreves said. “Although cutthroat trout have markings similar to both rainbow and brown trout, anglers should look for the reddish orange slash on their lower jaw.”

Anglers may consult The Anglers Fish Identification Guide on page 19 of the 2019-2020 Kentucky Sport Fishing and Boating Guide for excellent illustrations by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Artist Rick Hill of brook, brown and rainbow trout species.

The Yellowstone cutthroat trout have similar regulations as brown trout in the Cumberland River: a one-fish daily creel limit and a 20-inch minimum size limit. Brook trout in the Cumberland River have a one-fish daily creel limit with a 15-inch minimum size limit. Rainbow trout have a five fish daily creel limit with a 15- to 20-inch protective slot limit. All rainbow trout caught from the Cumberland River between 15 and 20 inches must be immediately released. Only one rainbow trout in the daily creel limit may be longer than 20 inches.

In addition to a valid Kentucky fishing license, anglers must possess a valid Kentucky trout stamp to fish the Cumberland River, regardless of species sought.