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  1. #1

    Default Color Variations HELP?

    What do color Variations really tell us? Why do wild fish look different? Does color vary according to which section of the stream they inhabit? OR for how long? I guess I want to know what exactly the different colorings of the fish are telling me.

    Books or articles on this would be great too

    Here are two rainbows from the same river. In this river rainbows are stocked as fingerlings in the upper section and adults in the lower (natural reproduction is very limited if it happens at all), who is who and how do you know? Both fish were caught right between these two sections.

    ---------- Post added at 10:11 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:05 PM ----------

    aside from the genetic diversities.
    “Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.”

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    Default 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?

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Rock River, Wyoming

    Default Re: Color Variations HELP?

    "hen (top) and a male (lower)," If true and it appears to be, that's likely the most contributing factor. Other factors include coloration changes from salt to fresh, and even from lake to stream, coloration changes due to water clarity, (tannic waters produced fish with a tan to brown over color) and due to age, migration stages, food and more. Sure makes things interesting.  8088
    Great Fishing
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Akron Ohio (don't let that fool you)

    Default Re: Color Variations HELP?

    I think the fish stoked as fingerlings will have a better appearance compared to the adult stocker. The fish in the river longer will have a more natural diet and cleaner appearance, whereas the other will still be kicking purina troutchow and have a dirty (for lack of a better word) appearance. Keep in mind that what I've said is a total S.W.A.G.
    Oh I live to be the ruler of life not a slave

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Cheyenne, WY by way of SD

    Default Re: Color Variations HELP?

    It could also depend on what strain of rainbow is being stocked. those fish could be a different strain of rainbow. If I were to guess, the silver one is an adult stocker and the more colorful one has been in the system for a year or more. I have worked in trout hatcheries, and I have caught fish late in the summer that I stocked earlier in the summer. Fins and colors start to come back as the fish is in it's natural environment and when they start feeding on bugs and such as opposed to pellets.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Color Variations HELP?

    One thing that has not yet been mentioned is that most freshwater fish have the ability to change color in a short period of time to match environmental conditions. Fish in more turbid water tend to be lighter in color than fish in clear water. Fish in bright sunlight can be lighter than fish in shadow. Trout have less ability to do this than some other game fish, however. Bass, especially smallmouth, can change color within seconds, not only changing shade (darkness or lightness) but also pattern (they can change from having very prominent bars and blotches to being completely unmarked in just minutes or seconds. In fact, those beautiful dark bars you see so often on smallmouth bass are often a reaction to the stress of being caught--the fish is very often almost unmarked when not stressed. They can also be a result of excitement, especially during spawning activity.

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  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    St. Louis, MO

    Default Re: Color Variations HELP?

    Quote Originally Posted by al_a View Post
    One thing that has not yet been mentioned is that most freshwater fish have the ability to change color in a short period of time to match environmental conditions.
    Thats very true and a very good point. When I still had the trout in my aquarium they would change colors pretty often, especially when feeding. The more dominate fish would get very bright and the less dominate would turn almost black and this happens in the a matter of seconds. When they were done feeding, they went back to the normal colors of green and purple.

    What the fish are eating will also make the colors change. When I was feeding just trout chow the fish were silvery purple and looked like most stocked fish do. Once switching over to a better food and feeding different kinds of food, the colors really perked up. The more natural and varried a diet they get the better the colors will be. Thats what I would say is happening in your picture. The shinier trout is a newly added stocker where the other fish has been eating bugs and whatever else and has effected the color. They will also change colors slightly pending on what color the stream bed or surrounding area is. Most fish will do this too, go home and play with an aquarium and be amazed at how you can change your fishes colors.
    "When you do things right, people wont be sure you've done anything at all."

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