DistributionRead full entry
Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) West of the Continental Divide, this subspecies is believed to be native to several major drainages of the Columbia River basin, including the upper Kootenai River drainage from its headwaters in British Columbia, through northwest Montana, and into northern Idaho; the Clark Fork River drainage of Montana and Idaho downstream to the falls on the Pend Oreille River near the Washington-British Columbia border; the Spokane River above Spokane Falls and into Idaho's Coeur d'Alene and St. Joe River drainages; and the Salmon and Clearwater River drainages of Idaho's Snake River basin (USFWS 2003). The native distribution also includes disjunct areas draining the east slope of the Cascade Mountains in Washington (Methow River and Lake Chelan drainages, and perhaps the Wenatchee and Entiat river drainages), the John Day River drainage in northeastern Oregon, and the headwaters of the Kootenai River and several other disjunct regions in British Columbia (USFWS 2003). East of the Continental Divide, the native distribution is believed to include the headwaters of the South Saskatchewan River drainage (United States and Canada); the entire Missouri River drainage upstream from Fort Benton, Montana, and extending into northwest Wyoming; and the headwaters of the Judith, Milk, and Marias rivers, which join the Missouri River downstream from Fort Benton (USFWS 2003).
Behnke (1992) regarded the mountain cutthroat trout of British Columbia (nominal subspecies alpestris) as disjunct populations of O. clarkii leweisi.