Thursday May 19, 2022


Anglers often discuss how smart or dumb a fish might be, and different species of fish are often assigned an intelligence status.

Sometimes the terms “easy” and “hard” are used to specify a fish’s intelligence based on the difficulty in catching it with fishing gear.

For instance, anglers generally categorize trout as such: Brown trout are the “smartest,” followed by wild — as opposed to hatchery-planted — rainbow trout, brook trout and then cutthroat trout. This is a pretty simplified measurement, and at certain times and situations each trout species may fall into a different intelligence category, especially if an angler spends a good portion of his time trying to catch a particular species with little to no success.

The Bonneville cutthroat

Utah’s state fish, the Bonneville cutthroat trout, is often put in the category of “dumb trout” by anglers. Many point to the fact that cutthroat are easy to catch, and that they do not fight as hard as brown, rainbow and brook trout; therefore, they are weaker and less intelligent trout. In fact, some anglers are upset when efforts to restore Bonneville cutthroat to its native habitat include the removal of established wild populations of non-native trout like brown and brook trout.

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