Tiger Trout (Brown x Brook Trout Hybrid) (Salmo trutta x Salvelinus fontinalis)
An 8-inch naturally reproduced wild tiger trout.
Identification. Physical characteristics intermediate between brown trout and brook trout. Distinctive reticulated (“confused”) pattern of light and dark markings on back and sides, which are somewhat similar to the wormlike markings on the back of a brook trout. Darker markings on the back and sides typically brownish or olive. Lighter markings tan, greenish or yellowish. Lower flanks typically have a russet hue.
Hatchery-raised tiger trout are produced by crossing male brook trout with female brown trout.
Size. Commonly 9 to 12 inches. Conn. State Record 7.1 pounds, 24.5 inches. World Record 20.8 pounds.
Distribution. May occur naturally wherever the two species coexist. Wild tiger trout, which can be quite colorful, are found sporadically throughout Connecticut, but are never common. Almost all tiger trout observed by anglers are stocked.
Habits. Preferences are intermediate between brown and brook trout.
Comments. Tiger trout are sterile, so cannot successfully reproduce (backcross) with either parent species or among themselves. As with hybrids between many fish species, tiger trout tend to be more aggressive and faster-growing than either parent species. This makes them easier to catch by angling. This and the odd markings make them popular among anglers.
Text and images adapted from Jacobs, R. P., O'Donnell, E. B., and Connecticut DEEP. (2009). A Pictorial Guide to Freshwater Fishes of Connecticut. Hartford, CT. Available for purchase at the DEEP Store.