Inland populations of cutthroat trout have suffered dramatic declines and some subspecies are considered threatened or endangered. Understanding patterns of variation and factors that influence life history in populations is important for conservation and management. We determined effects of elevation, sex, and genetic introgression (with Yellowstone cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi, and rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss) on growth rates of Colorado River cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii pleuriticus) in the Sheep Creek drainage in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. In this high-elevation system, native trout grew slowly and matured relatively late. Elevation, sex, and genetic introgression all had significant effects on growth rates. Growth rates were lower at higher elevations. Males were slightly larger than females, and cutthroat trout in locations that were more introgressed grew faster than those at nonintrogressed locations. Both abiotic effects and effects of introduced salmonids must be addressed in long-term management programs to ensure the sustainability of native trout populations.
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Vol. 69 • No. 1