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Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

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2006/11/2 8:50
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Regarding intense coloration and lack of it in trout, I think these are important factors:

1) Genetics. Some strains of brown trout simply have brighter colors than others for genetic reasons.

2) Food. Fish that are eating a lot of insects and/or crustaceans get brighter in color than those with a more fish-based diet.

3) Exposure to sunlight. Fish that are in larger streams (and lakes and the ocean) tend to have a silvery color. The more intense colored fish are often found in smaller, shaded streams.

Posted on: 2009/11/6 13:40


Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

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2008/1/21 13:28
From South Central PA
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I breathe a sigh of relief that I'm not the only one who finds this kind of stuff fascinating.

I don't have anything to add that you guys haven't already explored well.

For me, there is a romantic mystique that, though incorrect in a scientific sense, ties coloration to wildness, and I suspect I'm not alone in that. I'm not talking about wild vs. stocked, but degree of wildness as in a trout desecended from a long, undisturbed heritage strain. Compare that with a wild trout that is descended from fingerlings planted, say, 10 years ago. Again, I realize that environmental factors may trump genetics and that the latter may be more colorful. Nevertheless, an angler can dream of such things and there's nothing wrong with that. Kind of like the romance and intrigue of searching for the last of the PA native Brook char, or finding a Maryland Darter in Harford county, MD. It just seems like they are supposed to be more colorful.

I have a request: take a look through your wild brown pictures and if you have one or more with red spots on the dorsal fin, please post them. It can be hard to do since we often hold the fish in a way that obsures the dorsal. This is something I started thinking about after flipping through Fly Fishing Pressured Waters a month or two ago.

It may be wishful thinking on my part, but this brown may have a red dot or two on the dorsal. Hard to tell because the flash washes things out so much. I don't have any pictures of Gunpowder browns but it seems to me some of those might have red on the dorsals as well.

Wild brown, maybe red spots on dorsal

As for red as good camo, I noticed the northern water snake that caught that brown a few weeks ago also has a fair amount of red.

Posted on: 2009/11/6 13:42


Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

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2009/5/11 17:23
From da burgh
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This is the nicest colored brown we have caught. Note it was not in a limestone influenced stream, it was in a fairly open (not much canopy) freestoner. It did probably come out of the deepest hole in the stretch that was fished (very small hole, a bit of a bank undercut at a bend, yet deep by standard of the rest of the stream). Note, this fish was caught in early summer. Most of the browns we see that come out of here are very similar. I also attached a photo of a typical brookie taken out of the same water during the same time of year. Note that the brookies do not seem to take on the vibrant colors the browns do. Different species I realize, but same water, same time of year, and same food. I always expected to see better coloration on the brooks, but it never really seems to happen. Could this be more related to strain of each? Another thing to note, the fish out of this creek appear to hold on to more defined parr marks even as they become more mature. Not sure why, but even the decent sized brown still has very visible parr marks.

Attach file:



jpg  Bob's Crk Wild Brown(capt09).JPG (444.43 KB)
2497_4af46dce5ae27.jpg 2791X2094 px

jpg  Bob's Crk Native(cox09).JPG (472.93 KB)
2497_4af470e2eb68e.jpg 2792X2094 px

Posted on: 2009/11/6 14:07


Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

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From Lewistown
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I think fish swim too much to color-up based off what pool they are in.
I would think a fish would have to be in a pool, in the exsact same location to be half and half.

I will say I have noticed differeces in fish when in dark stretches of stream compared streams with less canopy/rock cover.

Sal,
I have seem brookies that retain their spawn colors well into early spring. I think it has to do with the individual fish; and probably whether or not they found a mate.

I want to clarify that I think that freestown browns appear to (to me) to have denser muscles.

Posted on: 2009/11/6 14:25
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Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

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2009/8/12 11:55
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BB101 I use my cell phone to take pics, so when I'm taking a shot I try to look at the screen and then adjust how I'm holding the fish so its actual colors show up. That's why sometimes I'm holding the fish at weird angles like the second one. Otherwise it just shows up silvery. Usually the phone camera does not add or intensify actual colors if that's what u mean. Other cameras may do that to a certain extent.

Posted on: 2009/11/6 15:52
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Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

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2009/8/12 11:55
From chester county
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MKern that is an interesting point. It depends how much territory each fish has. On streams with low populations, a trout may have much larger territories (multiple pools) compared to a trout in a class A stream which may be forced by the presence of many other trout to occupy a really small territory. Trout with larger territories are likely less well camouflaged to a certain section, unless of course their territory has the same shade and bottom everywhere.

Posted on: 2009/11/6 15:58
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PA stream miles fished: 69.0
Miles of stream in PA: Roughly 40,000
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Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

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2008/8/24 20:26
From Mount Joy, PA
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Donegal Creek, Lancaster County 'wild' brown trout FWIW... I know you know what these guys look like Sal!!!

Resized Image

Posted on: 2009/11/6 16:20


Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

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2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
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Quote:
MKern that is an interesting point. It depends how much territory each fish has. On streams with low populations, a trout may have much larger territories (multiple pools) compared to a trout in a class A stream which may be forced by the presence of many other trout to occupy a really small territory. Trout with larger territories are likely less well camouflaged to a certain section, unless of course their territory has the same shade and bottom everywhere.


I can see that as being likely Rookie. Good point and thanks for your thoughts.

MKern,

Ok im get what your saying now....yes the muscles of Freestone Trout appear more defined and denser. I think that might be because the Limestone ones are so well-fed they are fat. Just look at the Little Rainbows of Big Spring. These guys must eat all day, all night and even when they arent hungry
Resized Image

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Even the brookies seem fat.....even the little guys
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Freestone or Limestone....................I love all of PA's wild trout waters. Each with their own "personality" and their own fish. Its part of the mystique i love about fishing all these waters.

Posted on: 2009/11/6 19:00
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Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post
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Interesting article Afish....for salt water enthusiasts.

Posted on: 2009/11/6 20:27
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Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

Joined:
2009/6/27 23:49
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 705
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Rookie,
I wasnt talking about the quality of the photos themselves, i just noticed that on the top photo, there was bright sunlight and the fish was very rich in coloration whereas on the second photo it seemed to be overcast and the fish's coloration matched the atmosphere.

I was thinking, maybe fish change coloration intensity more quickly than we are thinking. I know that sculpin and various aquarium catfish can change the shades of their body within a few hours of being put in a new tank, with a different substrate to better camouflage themselves.

also id like to add that if i have the light of my aquarium off for a day or two the fish are much more washed out than if the light is on its regular schedule.

Posted on: 2009/11/6 20:30


Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7632
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The color of fish has much more to do with the light and the background in which they swim than diet genetics or anything else. And the least likely factor is whether a stream is a limestone stream or freestone stream.
I once caught a brookie at Hickory Run that was lying over some autumn leaves of many colors in a sun splashed pool. It had very pale coloration where the sun was shining on the leaves and was darker everywhere else. It was very strange indeed.
As for spawning colors I've found some trout in streams color up only for spawning, about a week before, and lose their color right after spawning they are very silvery the rest of the year.. Others in freestone streams have a lot of color all year. Particularly brookies in the north east near Wilkes Barre.
Browns have so much variation I don't think you can say it is diet or environment at all. If you look at all the varieties in the Behnke Book you'll see many that look like trout from PA. But again so many strains of browns came from so many places that you can't really pin down the genetics without dna study. I know they all look beautiful in the limestone streams and I've caught plenty of them, but I've caught browns as brightly colored in freestone streams too.
My conclusion on browns is that unless you do the dna test you have no way of knowing the heritage of the fish. Ditto for brookies.
I think the amount of light reaching the stream where the trout is lying has more to do with color than, all other factors. I have caught browns from nearly black to bright silver, and the only difference was the amount of light reaching the bottom of the stream. The colors on the bottom have a lot to do with it too. Diet plays a role, but it is minor, it does however play a role in the color of the meat.

Posted on: 2009/11/6 22:46
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Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

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2009/4/1 21:52
From Johnstown, PA
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In my experience a brown trout that is feeding activly is a distinctly different shade/color than others in the same pool that aren't , has anyone else ever noticed this? Clarks Creek comes to mind as a good example and parts of the Breeches.

Posted on: 2009/11/7 4:42


Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

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2006/9/11 13:05
From Lewistown
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Chaz I normally agree 100% with you, but I think LS and FS makes a ton of difference because of diet.

I don't think a fish changes it's colors because it hovers over leaves for part of one day. However, Ido think that the trout knows how dark its is (or light) and chooses holding locations accordingly.

Trout and cameleons aren't related right?

I think that most fish swim up and down stretches of the stream; up to miles of the stream. Even in packed streams like Spring Creek. They definately swim enough to not change color only on one quarter-panel.

Posted on: 2009/11/7 16:21
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Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

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2006/9/13 10:18
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There is absolutely a chameleon affect that trout exhibit. Within minutes of catching that was caught over the leaves the brookie returned to more normal colors as he lay resting. Try putting that real colorful try in a white cooler for several minutes, it will get very light in color very quickly.
Don't count on photos to render the colors of a fish to be the way you remember them as you caught the fish. The reason is the angle of light hitting the subject as you are taking the photo radically changes what the camera sees and captures. Try it sometime with the same fish; continually change the angle of the fish in relationship to the camera and direction of the light. Then take the photos home and view the result. Also you can see this with your eye if you watch closely as you rotate the fish in relation to the light.
Now as you fish a stream, take pictures of all the trout and take the time to take notes as soon as you release the fish so you can relate the photo to the notes. You will be better able to see the differences in individuals. Include in the notes where you caught each fish and what the lighting was.

As for the strains and the diet being factors, here is something to chew on. In the Perkiomen Drainage, there is what I'd call two different strains on browns. One has large black spots and very few if any red spots and is very silvery. If you look at the books they resemble Lock Levin Trout. The other strain is the more typical strain of browns I see in many freestone streams, olive back, buttery sides with a good mix of small black spots and lots of red spots including red adipose fins and red on the dorsal fin.

I catch a lot of browns in NC PA where I love to fish the freestone streams, and seasonally I don’t see much change in the color of the browns. Brookies are pretty colorful all year but the colors really come out during the spawning period. I’ve caught brookies in lakes that are silvery and washed out and many brookies that migrate from reservoirs look the same until they’ve been in the streams for a period of time.
The big advantage of of digital photography is that you can take photos very quickly and see the result instantly.

Posted on: 2009/11/7 18:08
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Re: Freestone vs. Limestone Streams (fish coloration,size and strength/weight) Long post

Joined:
2009/8/12 11:55
From chester county
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BB101 sorry thought you meant the exposure on the camera. btw most of the time my phone takes horrible pictures anyway, i'm no photographer and I wasn't offended if that's what you thought. It would take something way over the line to offend me so don't worry about that.

I think they do have ability to change color fairly quickly as far as light and dark overall, but obviously they can't change spot color/location nearly as quickly. Sometimes it seems to me like trout are dull while they are resting or casually feeding but when they chase something big (like a streamer or spinner) for any kind of distance they suddenly turn much darker. Has anybody else noticed this?

Posted on: 2009/11/7 18:08
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PA stream miles fished: 69.0
Miles of stream in PA: Roughly 40,000
Percent Complete: 0.173%



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