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Re: Large (Dead) Brookies

2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 2367

Could you explain what you mean by the zebra stripe? I've never noticed such a thing, and going back through pictures, I don't see it on ANY of the brookie pictures I have, even the 5 and 6 inchers. Tails look uniformly gray with various degrees of transparancy. Sometimes they get a red tinge.

FWIW, I'm never 100% sure on any fish. Nomatter how sure you think you are, fish travel miles, and fish that have been in the stream for a period of years can look awfully wild to anyone.

And there are various degrees of confidence in this thread. But I find it possible that every single brookie in this thread is a truly wild specimen (well, cept maybe for tulen's last one). None of them are "obvious" stockers. The most questionable are at best, tweeners, the type where knowing the context could swing confidence one way or the other.

But in a thread like this, size is not a factor at all, IMO. On an everyday fish, anything in this size range is immediately suspect, because there aren't many wild ones like this out there. But the whole point here is to show the true 0.01 percenters, the true trophies. This is a bunch of brookie guys, who catch hundreds per year, showing off the largest they have ever seen. Without even opening the thread, one would guess that they would cluster around 11-12 inches, because in a freestone environment that's about all the bigger they get. Ryguy's is perhaps a common "good" fish, but not "rare." The rest are rare fish for sure, but in a thread about rare fish, rareness is not necessarily a reason to doubt authenticity.

Posted on: 2013/5/2 10:10

Re: Large (Dead) Brookies

2006/12/29 10:00
From Harrisburg
Posts: 18
I can, but work is soon enough that I dont have the time to search and sort through my pictures and post. But I will. With that being said, am I the only person thats noticed that? Am I also the only person thats noticed the black mark that goes from nostril to nostril on native brookies? I call it their "mustache". Never saw it on a stockie, or atleast not nearly as pronounced.
I believe what I believe, but have been proven wrong before and willing to learn. I am only as sure that some of these trout arent wild as you are sure they are, and am willing to be surprised.
FWIW salmonoids all appear wild to me without question, and some others.

Posted on: 2013/5/2 10:28
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Re: Large (Dead) Brookies

2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 2367
Like anything else, there are a lot of indicators. None of them foolproof. If a fish has all or none, things are about as certain as they get. If they have some but not others, it can be tough.

My #1 for brookies is probably the white/black line on the anal (and caudal) fins. If it's dark black and bright white, with a sharp, straight line distinguishing the two, it's likely wild. If it's a muddy divide, or the black is kind of marbled into the white, it's very likely stocked. Of course there are tweeners too, such as sharp divides that aren't perfectly straight lines.

Fin condition is a good one. Especially anal fins and tail. But occasionally wild fish do have rough fins, especially older fish. And occasionally stocked fish have good fins, especially if stocked as fingerlings or long-term holdovers.

And wild fish can often have fairly transparant fins. True on browns too. Stockies are usually opague. But wild can be opague too, so it's more a "if it's transparant, it's wild, if opague, who knows" thing.

The anus itself can be a decent indicator of stocked. A distended anus is almost always stocked. If not, well, it doesn't tell you much, because not ALL stockies have this, though wild fish almost never have it.

Overall shape. Stockies are more football shaped, often with big bodies and small heads. Whereas wild fish often have larger heads in comparison with body size. But this is only a stocked/wild indicator indirectly, and is easily fooled. It's an indication of growth rate, not origin. If a fish feeds well and grows fast, a wild one can have the small head, thick body. And a long term holdover will continue to grow it's head while slimming down as it spends time in the stream.

Genetics are harder on brookies than on browns, as wild brookie populations are highly variable. But in general, stockies have a high number of red spots. If it doesn't have many, it's likely wild. If it has a lot, it's not much of an indicator either way.

Color is a poor indicator. Fresh stocked fish are pretty pale. But after 6+ months in a stream can color up nicely. Also, wild fish in deep, dark muddy holes or in large waterways can be pretty pale.

I have noticed the "mustache" you talk about. But I'd say it's only on about 50% of the wild brookies I catch, though pretty rare on stockies. Seems more common in certain areas of the state than in others. Some wild ones also have a dark "cut" under the mouth, like where the red would be on a cutthroat.

And of course, circumstance shouldn't be ignored. If it's a tweener, the location and situation can turn a true tweener into a lean one way or the other, and bring others that you would otherwise be confident in back into question.

But none of the above, including circumstance, are foolproof. Hence, I am NEVER 100% sure on ANY fish. There are only degrees of confidence.

Posted on: 2013/5/2 11:17

Edited by pcray1231 on 2013/5/2 11:37:50

Re: Large (Dead) Brookies

2012/2/7 12:42
From Ligonier
Posts: 133
Good stuff. Thanks pcray.

Posted on: 2013/5/2 11:31

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