Tiger Trout [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tiger Trout

11-28-2000, 04:49 AM
Good morning fellow anglers. I'm a new participant with this forum, and have been reading about your possible encounters with Tiger Trout.

This past season, one of my guides caught and photographed a Tiger here in the West Branch of the Ausable. If I can figure out how to include a picture with this message, I'll do so. Otherwise, if you'd like me to e-mail a photo to you so you can more positively identify one, just send an e-mail request.

11-28-2000, 06:56 AM

Welcome! If the photo you have is already available on a web server, you can include it in a post here by using a special tag:


For a complete reference click the icon at the top of this page

If it is not on a web server (not available via an "http://" address), I'd be happy to store and post your photo for you. You can send as an attachment to <a href="mailto:adeluca@mediaone.net">adeluca@mediaone.net</a><!--email-->


11-28-2000, 07:42 AM
I have to admit this trout identification thing is so confusing. Out at Wachusset I was with Juro and pointed to a Smallmouth and said "Ooo Laker" BzzzzzT WRONG! Anyway here's a cool website: Take the trout test!

<a href="http://www.telusplanet.net/public/qisley/FishID.htm" target="_blank"><!--auto-->http://www.telusplanet.net/public/qisley/FishID.htm</a><!--auto-->


FWIW I crossed 2, the Brown and Cut. Surprised myself.

11-28-2000, 07:56 AM
Terry!!! You da man. Mystery solved. It was a bull. The only thing that still has me slightly skeptical is the placement of the eye. In the photo they show, the eye is well forward of the maxilla. From what I remember, my fish had the eye behind, but everything else is pretty much as I remember it. Their spots are a bit yellow for a bull, but this could be a regional discrepancy or something simple like differeing monitor hardware.


11-28-2000, 08:18 AM
Uh, Al? The Bull is one of them western trout (used to be considered a strain of Dolly Varden). I don't know what's in Spectacle (or, actually, where it is), but have you considered Lake Trout?

That would give you a forked tail, teeth, and spots lighter than the background (i.e. char).

11-28-2000, 08:22 AM
Mike - I know, it confounds me too. All I can think is that there was a fisheries manager out there with a sense of humor?? Bull and brookies are close enough to mate with sterile offspring. Could be an experiment.

I'm not going to rule out a lake trout since I haven't caught one since I was a kid.

11-28-2000, 09:19 AM
Tiger trout images are scarce on the web. Here's the only one I could find so far.



11-28-2000, 09:30 AM
Bull trout are an increasingly rare char native to the pacific northwest and the hotbed of controversy in terms of ESA and habitat protection. I am not aware of artificial stocking of the bull trout on this side of the divide but I guess anything is possible.

My guess is that it was a tiger or brookie, since their coloration varies so profoundly. I've caught tigers that looked lavender all over and others that were slate grey like a laker. I've caught brookies that were almost silver throughout (albeit searun) while others were neon reds, blues and olives. Trout in general display a spectrum of color schemes even within strains depending on a large number of factors including spawning, diet, and environment.



<center>http://www.flyfishingforum.com/articles/fontinalis01/tbrookie2.jpg" border="0"> <font size="1">
one brookie...
<img src="http://www.flyfishingforum.com/articles/aurora2/eeet_trophy.jpg

All photos courtesy Luis Nasim and Eugene Hoyano, All rights reserved</font><!--1--></center>

11-28-2000, 09:42 AM

WELCOME KEVIN! I look forward to tales from the Ausable... and hope to exchange visits soon! I've never fished the legendary river and would love to fulfill that dream trip.



11-28-2000, 09:43 AM
Here's a press release (couple years old) but may give an idea as to where the state of Mass. is putting these Tigers.

Released March 18, 1998


This year spring trout stocking will include Tiger Trout -- 300 of them averaging 15 inches long. According to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife tigers are hybrid trout produced by fertilizing female brown trout eggs with sperm from male brook trout. The name "tiger trout" stems from the appearance of the adult fish which have beautiful tiger-like stripes on their backs. The tiger trout being stocked this year were raised at the state fish hatchery in Sandwich.

Releases of tiger trout are scheduled for:

Western District
Westfield River (Huntington/Russell)

Connecticut Valley District
LakeMattawa (Orange)
Lake Metacomet (Belchertown)
Westfield River (Westfield)

Central District
Comet Pond (Hubbardston)
Browning Pond (Spencer)
Fort Pond (Lancaster)
South Pond (Brookfield)
Lake Quinsigamond (Worcester)
Webster Lake (Webster)
Whalom Lake (Lunenburg)

Northeast District
Squannacook River (Townsend, Groton, Shirley)
Nissitisset River (Pepperell)
Hopkinton Reservoir (Hopkinton)
Walden Pond (Concord)
Lake Cochituate (Middle- Natick; North - Wayland, Framingham)

Southeast District
Cliff Pond (Brewster)
Crystal Lake (Orleans)
Flax Pond (Brewster)
Goose Pond (Chatham)
Grews Pond (Falmouth)
Hathaway Pond (Barnstable)
Little Pond (Plymouth)
Long Pond (Plymouth)
Lout Pond ( Plymouth)
Marys Pond (Rochester)
Peters Pond (Sandwich)
Scargo Lake (Dennis)
Sheep Pond (Brewster)

For stocking information call 1-800-ask-fish For additional information call Dr. Ken Simmons @

11-28-2000, 11:42 AM
Well, all I can say for certain at this point is that it was NOT a tiger. Well, actually I'm not certain of anything. Juro makes a good point. The tiger has the right profile. The spots were distinct like a brown with halo and all.

Anyway, here's a laker:


The bull pictured above is still the closest thing I've seen to date. On the other hand, I've seen some other pics of bulls that looked nothing like what I saw.

11-28-2000, 01:13 PM
Here's a photo of a tiger trout from Hans Weilenmann's web page.

<a href="http://www.danica.com/flytier/fish_pix/_thumb/fattiger_small.jpg" target="_blank"><!--auto-->http://www.danica.com/flytier/fish_pix/_thumb/fattiger_small.jpg</a><!--auto-->

11-28-2000, 01:15 PM
Sorry about the size of the other photo. Here's the real thing.

<a href="http://www.danica.com/flytier/fish_pix/fattiger.jpg" target="_blank"><!--auto-->http://www.danica.com/flytier/fish_pix/fattiger.jpg</a><!--auto-->

11-28-2000, 01:19 PM
Hi Kevin:
You mention the West Branch of the Ausable. That can only be the one in NY State. I have regularly fished that river for over 20 years now. Where are you located and what's the name of your guiding service?

11-28-2000, 01:29 PM
Awright, back to basics: did the critter have spots lighter than the background, or darker?

Light spots on dark background = char.
Dark spots on light background = trout.

Now, light and dark can vary, as can coloration due to any number of factors cited above. Brookies and browns will both have red spots, but different kinds and brookies' have a blue halo. But brookies, browns and their hybrid tigers have square tails and we have a report of a distinctly forked tail. The bull trout hypothesis is rejected for being outlandish (fisheries managers these days are more sensitive than they used to be to the ecological appropriateness of species to regions; I can't believe anyone would have stocked one in a Cape Cod kettlehole on a whim).

So, with a forked tail and any plausibility of being here you've got two choices: landlocked salmon (trout*) or lake trout (char). So it all comes down to the spots.

[*not really a trout, of course, but meets the "dark spots" criterion]

Now, my guess is that you've played with this fish in your mind too many times and can no longer tell whether it was dimpled or pregnant or dangling, but if you can answer the spots question I believe you've answered the ID question.

11-28-2000, 05:08 PM
Hi Al,
The trout you caught was most likely a Splake. I've caught quite a few recently in South Shore and Cape ponds.
Here is some info aboute Splake:

11-28-2000, 05:55 PM
<!--http--><a href="http://janus.state.me.us/ifw/fish/f-splake.htm" target="_blank">SPLAKE!!!</a><!--url-->

Though my dim witted brain tells me the spots were light blue, not yellow, I think we have a winner. Thanks Mike and Mike. Finally, I can sleep

11-29-2000, 05:04 AM
I've forwarded the photo of the Tiger Trout to Al so he can post it on the Forum. In talking to the NYS DEC, they have not stocked Tigers for 10 years or more so they definitely consider this a natural hybrid. Several weeks later, another guide had a client who caught a Tiger on a different river. The client though it was a yellow perch and was ready to chuck it into the woods (you don't have to take an IQ test to get a fishing license). The guide fortunately saw the fish before he had a chance to pitch it and stop him for a more proper release. This guide does a column for a local paper and had just recently run the story and photos of our Tiger Trout so he knew what it was right away.

For those of you inquiring, I'm owner-operator of the Ausable River Sport Shop in Wilmington, NY right on the West Branch of the Ausable. I have a website (www.ausableriversportshop.com) that gives daily updates on river and fishing conditions. So if you're heading over this way, you can check things out before you get here.

Splake sounds like the right ID for the mystery fish. They're a much more popular hybrid them Tigers and do well in stillwaters. I also believe its an easier hybrid to achieve in hatcheries.

BTW Trutta, they may have told you that's a pic of a Tiger, but it sure looks like a good old Brown Trout to me.

11-29-2000, 06:58 AM
http://dev.dugmore.com/claves/images/tiger_2.JPG" border="0">
<font color="blue"><font size="3">photos by KevinH</font><!--3--></font><!--color-->
<img src="http://dev.dugmore.com/claves/images/tiger_1.JPG

11-29-2000, 08:14 AM
Al: Where you get those Tiger photos?

Juro: Splake, Tigers: Are these the fish you refered to as "Frakenfish"? Both are crossbreads right?


11-29-2000, 08:55 AM
But your honor I didn't inhale

To be clear, although I love the sport of it as much as anyone I fundamentally disagree with man's forced marriages of species for gain other than that which mother nature intended. Luckily, she makes them unable to reproduce!

As I may have said earlier, I am also disturbed that the whole whirling disease epidemic in the US was caused in the name of having more 'sport'. I'm no "fish anthropologist" but I have to wonder why the brown was the only indigenous trout in it's home range in Europe and it is the resistant carrier of the spirochete. Just a theory but scares me when I think of native steelhead and their landlocked form (rainbow) and other American species at risk.

11-29-2000, 12:37 PM
That is most definitely a tiger trout, i've caught 3 of them in the last two years. The giveaway is the square tail-splake have a forked tail! The tiger is a cross of the square tailed brookie I so love to catch! Never eaten one though, anyone know how they taste? Better than a fresh brookie?

12-02-2000, 06:39 AM
As one who is completely ignorant of such things as Char, Splake, & so on, thanks for the education!

12-02-2000, 07:39 AM
To clarify: I think the picture of the Tiger in hand above is from Kevin posted by Al. Al seems to have decided his fish was a Splake.
Grego- you're right, this thread has been very informative in many dimensions.