Thanks to Matt Howards for sharing the picture of the Tiger Trout he caught in southwestern Wisconsin recently. Very cool! Naturally it takes a guy who has only been fly fishing for trout less than a year to land the rare hybrid fish. The Trout Buddha has never had one on the end of the line. The photo prompted me to learn a bit more about the unique catch. After a few searches on the web and a call to a friend at the Wisconsin DNR here is some Tiger Trout info:
- The tiger trout is a sterile, hybrid of the brown trout (Salmo trutta) and the brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). The name derives from the pronounced vermiculations, evoking the stripes of a tiger. It is a rare phenomenon in the wild, with the brook trout having 84 chromosomes and the brown trout 80.
- Stocking efforts in Wisconsin ended in the late 1970’s. A few private hatcheries advertise tiger trout.
- Hybrids show up naturally in the state's small streams. Water quality of small streams is good and the brook trout population has boomed in recent years. Thus, more wayward male brook trout have been found around brown trout redds, perhaps accounting for the hybrids. Naturally-occuring tiger trout generally appear only in streams that have higher brook trout than brown trout populations.
- Survival rates for Tiger trout are very low making it a rare catch.
Check out this article on Tiger Trout by Driftless Area Trout Adventures guide Len Harris in Field and Stream on-line.
Matt may be a new fly angler but he has caught on to one key element of the sport; he won’t tell me where he caught the fish! Very cool indeed.
Today’s action group is the River Alliance of Wisconsin; a wonderful outfit that is dedicated to saving rivers. Their mission is to advocate for the protection, enhancement and restoration of Wisconsin’s rivers and watersheds. Their membership is comprised of over 3,200 individual, organizational and business members. They are urban, rural and retired; anglers, paddlers and lovers of water. Visit them on the web, make a donation, and help clean up some water! Also, there is some interesting reading on their web site about the high price of hungry gas tanks, check it out.