Re: Color Variations HELP?
My guess would be that the fish which exhibits good color has been living in the stream for at least a year or more.
I could go on at length with the explanations of what the various environmental conditions have to do with pigmentation in trout but safer to say that one with good color has been living right.
Two major contributers to markings and coloration are; strain & environmental conditions such as mineral content, Ph. and etc. if you ever fish a stream that has the tea colored waters resulting from high tannin content you will find very robust color in the fish present. That is just one example I can bring to mind. The assumption of spawning colors can also make a big difference in appearance.
Something else I notice; it appears that you have a hen (top) and a male (lower) Neither is what I would call a fully mature fish but the bottom one shows a longer lower jaw and slightly more pointed upper mandible. Hard to tell with a photo but I believe the bottom fish is a male. Was it caught in the spring?