For those of you keeping up with my antics via this blog, you know that last weekend was an incredible fishing experience. Much of the discussion between Chris and I over the weekend was about catch some wild trout. But while we had targeted a specific stretch of the Little Walker River where wild trout were reputed to reside, and hoped that maybe we’d pull on out of other waters, I wasn’t certain that I could tell the difference between a wild and hatchery rainbow. Sure, I knew the brookies were wild because while they aren’t native, they are no longer stocked.
But with the help of a friend fellow fisherman who has some knowledge of the trout of the eastern Sierras, and a fortuitous photo, I can confirm that I caught at least one wild rainbow trout last Labor Day weekend. I had pointed out to Chris that some of the rainbow we were pulling in — roughly 5 of the 30 I caught — looked a tad different and noted a marked difference in the fish I caught in a small pool on the Little Walker. According to my source, wild trout normally have thin white tips or edges on their fins with extra par markings, with all fins intact, especially tails. Stocked rainbows usually have one of the back fins cut off and tails that are not be full. Sure enough, this rainbow had the extra parr marking, the thin white edge on the pelvic fins and the full tail (and all the requisite fins). Pretty neat!