September 16, 2012 by Art of the Angle
With the coming of autumn and the excitement I”m trying to squelch for the up coming wedding and fly fishing trip in October, it reminded me of a post I wrote last year.
I wrote a small piece on true native trout found east of the Rockies so as to clear up some common misconceptions. In that piece was a small blurb about an amazing hybrid trout. It is known as the “tiger trout” because of it’s very distinctive markings that make it look like tiger stripes.
The tiger trout can be found in just about any stream where brook and brown trout spawn. The cross is the result of these two amazing fish. Because of the intermingling of the two species, the male tiger trout will go through the same spawn transformation with the intense colorization and the “hooking” of the kype. Interestingly, this fish cannot reproduce. It is known as the “mule” of the trout world because much like the mule, it is sterile.
Many states hatcheries have cross-bred the brook and brown trout for the sole purpose of creating these beautiful but ferocious fighters. Much like the hybrid “Palomino” trout, these fish are not push overs but once hooked give an amazing battle.
Interestingly enough, going through my personal journals of the streams I’ve fished over the last 30 years, I found that the population of naturally produced tiger trout have occurred in seasons where we experienced the lowest autumn water flow. It makes sense considering these fish are pretty much confined to smaller pools and runs when the autumn weather brings less flow to the mountain streams.
My favorite fly to use during the autumn while on the thin water streams is the Royal or Pink Lady Wulff in sizes #14 or #16. These flies seem to be a magnet for the tiger trout, at least in my experiences.
Tiger trout unless purposely stocked, are a rare find. Therefore, not a lot of fly fishers talk openly of where they find them. I have a few spots I like to visit from time to time to see if they still exist there but I won’t ever reveal where these places are.
So there you have it, rare tigers in the wild…they do exist! Tight Lines!