If you feed them, will they grow?  A dietary approach to improving the growth of juvenile cutthroat trout

In pursuit of performance enhancement in aquaculture, this project focuses on the comparatively under-researched dietary needs of the cutthroat trout, where current observations suggest lower growth rates compared to the well-documented rainbow trout. Our objective is twofold: Firstly, we aim to identify whether established salmonid diets can beneficially impact the growth rate of juvenile cutthroat trout. Secondly, we seek to conceive an optimized diet through systematic study of the nutritional requirements necessary for juvenile cutthroat trout growth, specifically targeting amino acid content, vitamin and mineral inclusion, as well as establishing an effective ratio of digestible protein to digestible energy. 


  1. Evaluate existing salmonid diets (e.g., regular rainbow trout, steelhead sinking/floating, and salmon sinking/floating) to determine if current diets provide adequate growth in juvenile Snake River cutthroat trout.
  2. Explore the nutritional requirements of juvenile cutthroat trout in 3 phases.
  3. Conduct in-lab and on-farm evaluations (field trial) of the best diet identified in the first objective with the diet developed from the experiments in the second objective. In addition to the field trial, a simple economic analysis of the rearing costs of the various diets will provide industry with the information for more detailed cost:benefit analyses.
  4. Develop an integrated Outreach and Evaluation Plan that meets the educational needs of stakeholders, which include producers, feed manufacturers and natural resource agencies.

Project Summary


University of Washington
School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences

Box 355020, Seattle, WA 98195
1122 NE Boat St, Seattle, WA 98105


Grants and Funding