The Brown trout does not usually breed with other trout. If they do they will their offspring will no have the ability to reproduce. On rare occasions the brook trout and the brown manage to reproduce creating the hybrid “tiger trout”.
In my lifetime I have been fortunate enough to catch 2 of these oddities.
They are a remarkable looking fish that actually do look like a tiger. As you can see in the picture, I was quite young when I caught the one shown. The other tiger trout I caught was several years after the one shown and was much smaller. I kept this one because I wanted to know what the heck it was. I froze it with the intention of having a biologist take a look at it. Both tiger trout that I caught were on really small rivers in Michigan. I won’t disclose the location of them here. They already get too much local fishing pressure. The second one I caught was quickly released back into the river. You can see it was only a few inches long. These pictures were obviously taken before digital photography. However I do feel lucky that there was a camera available both times. It is a rare phenomenon in the wild, with the brook trout having 84 chromosomes and the brown trout 80. They are feisty fighters though! I still recall the ragged bi-visible dry fly I used to catch the first one.
Apparently tiger trout can be bred fairly reliably in hatcheries, this is done by fertilizing brown trout eggs with brook trout sperm and heat shocking them. This process creates of an extra set of chromosomes and increases survival of the tiger trout offspring.
Where You Can Find Tiger Trout
Tiger trout have been bred in hatcheries and released in lowlands and high lakes in Washington State and throughout Utah, Nevada, Montana, Massachusetts, Oregon, Wisconsin and Connecticut– and the list of where you can find them varies.
In Oregon, the tiger trout will be added to Fish Lake in Medford. Fishermen there seem excited by the prospect that the trout are growing larger and encouraged by the fact that the trout are topping 13 pounds in neighboring Washington State lakes. You can also potentially find wild tiger trout in any area where brook trout and brown trout populations overlap.
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