I know that our North America Browns are a genetic mess, but looking at these two fish I am seeing some different parentage. Or at the very least, different interpretation of genes. I am hoping that someone can tell me more about key look fors of different strains brown trout. Which strains are we looking at here? They came from the same stream on the same day in the same section. Does anyone have better examples to highlight different features? Are there Physical features other than color I should be looking for? HELP.
What tells you that? How do you know? ha.. I agree with you because I know where they come from, but someone was trying to talk me out of it. I can see it with the top one without a doubt, but what is it about the bottom fish that tells you?
Now I'm questioning my word on this, I'm looking at some old photos, I'll come back and edit in or post more in a while.
Ok, after some old pictures and a look at some reference material "Trout" by Judith Stolz & Judith Schnell" (highly recommended) I will say that the top has all the looks of a Loch Leven trout but the bottom is of German ancestry. The spots are not always the final word on identification but a good place to start.
Generally the German fish will have a blood red adipose fin and much more yellow on the belly. The spots are more dense wiith many surrounded by a red halo.
All my brown trout photos are on slides but I have a few that are scanned. These are German from Spring Creek PA.
Going with the 'spots' identification method, this one could go either way but perhaps a L. Leven.
And another, as you see the spot pattern differs so greatly that it can be hard to call in some cases.
Funny, I hardly recognize the guy in the picture, Alaska aged me buddy.
There is a wonderful book, "The Complete Brown Trout", Cecil Heacox, full of fascinating history and biology about our now, but not always, beloved Salmo trutta. Bottom line is the first eyed eggs came to these shores in the mid 1800's from Loch Leven, Scotland. There is one repository of pure Loch Leven's extant and that is in a waterfall protected location in the southern portion of Yellowstone (do your own homework to find out where). These fish are characterized by not having any red spots and having larger and fewer black spots than their few years latter, Black Forest, von Behr cousins. The German fish have typically smaller and more plentifully black spots with red spots distributed along their flanks. All the browns we fish for in North America are mixtures of these two strains and can exhibit any and all combinations of color features. The degree of how buttery or bright they are I though more habitat driven but I have caught silvery fish and deeply colored ones in the same stream not far apart, so who knows. I know this, they are less prone to domestication than rainbows, live longer, grow bigger and are somehow more rewarding to fool on a dry fly. I love them.
I think I checked that book out of the library last winter, I may have to find it again.
I have always understood that the first Browns planted in the US were in the Pere Marquette River in Michigan. Actually they stocked in the Baldwin River, a small trib of the PM. When I used to go up there for occasional work and fishing the old timers always referred to them as "German Browns." Now of course this does not mean that their origin was Germany.
But John Holt claims the first eggs that came across the ocean were shipped by von Behr, but he doesn't point out the origin of the eggs.
Those are some beauts! There has been so much genetic metling in hatcheries and cross breeding in watersheds that I dont know if there are any true strains of either left in America. Remember too that this is spawning season, those same fish will probably look completely deifferent in May.