Originally Posted by Hardyreels
Looks like a fun day. The best advice I can offer on whether a fish is wild or the result of stocking is to check the teeth. Stock trout and wild trout of comparable size will have a drastic difference in development of teeth. The stock fish will have teeth similar to #40 grid sandpaper while the stream born fish will have real teeth. I don't know the exact cause for this phenomenon but my best 'educated guess' is the rapid growth rate of the hatchery reared fish. The body quite likely grows disproportionately to the ability for the animals ability to produce the teeth to match. You can look at the fins, the coloration and if harvested, you can check the coloration of the flesh but I go to the teeth first. I could get more technical than that with my guess work but if you start to check them out you'll get the idea of what I'm saying here.
I appreciate the info. I never knew that about the teeth. It's usually pretty easy to tell the NC stockers from the wild ones. The rainbow is questionable because his color is lacking a bit. His tail and fins looked like that of a wild fish.
The brook is no doubt a stocker. The stockers here have no color, as the one in the pic. Also, there are no brook trout in the stream I was fishing. Logging extirpated them many years ago.
Our natives look like this, no mistaking them for a stocker.
Wild troutin', blue linin', fly flingin', camo wearin', redneckin' elitist.