Fish habitat must provide fish with a place to eat and a safe place to live and rest. Water must be natural, abundant, and clean. Flowing water is helpful because it provides oxygen that fish need to survive and it removes pollutants that harm fish. Fast current in streams is a problem for fish. It requires the fish to expend energy to stay in one place. Fish like to stay in one place for most of the year. Fish will hang out behind rocks or logs so that they can rest and not fight the current. Some of the other places where the current is slow are brush piles, at the bottom of deep pools, or under a streambank. Along with a slower current these places also supply cover from predators. Fish are usually active at night because they are harder to see. They usually rest during the day.
Streams also provide food for fish in the form of small drifting aquatic insects. The insects tend to be in fast moving, rocky, shallow places. These are call riffle areas. Insects tend to drift more at night. This ia another reason that fish become more active at night.
Ideal places for fish are pools found at the end of a riffle. It allows for slower moving current, but also supplies the aquatic insects that fish need for food.
Foliage cover at the edge of a stream is important to shade the stream so that the water temperature does not get too warm. The roots of the plants hold the soil together so that the streambank does not wash away. The vegetation also allows cover for insects. These insects often fall into the stream and become food for the trout.
From mid-May to mid-July cutthroat trout leave their normal habitat to find a spawning habitat which is usually on a gravel bar.