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what strain of Brown trout?

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by HOOKJAW, Jun 14, 2012.


    HOOKJAW Member

    Are the big great lakes Brown trout purely of the seeforellen strain or combined with other strains? I know that seeforellens are late age spawners compared to other strains.
  2. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member


    Lots of strains of brown trout used or have been used in the Great Lakes region with last I heard only Wisconsin using the Seeforellen strain. And of course when browns were first brought to this country in the the late 1800's there was no regard for keeping the stream and lake varieties apart so they were pretty much mixed up.

    I'm pretty sure Michigan got rid of their broodstock Seeforellens, and New York discontinued them years ago due to disease issues. (Even though New York was the one that brought them over in the first place from the big lakes of Bavaria, Germany).

    There are Wild Rose, Plymouth Rock, and several others I can't recall at the moment. Maybe others here can fill them in.

  3. See froellen Broken down is like this See is lake in German froellen is trout.

    •How does one distinguish Seeforellen Brown Trout from "German" Brown Trout? and do "German" and Seeforellen browns run at different times?

    Seeforellens and "German" browns are different strains of the same species. Seeforellens can be distinguished by finclips, although only fish stocked in the Menominee, Kewaunee and Root Rivers are generally clipped. Differences in the time of spawning and age at maturity can also be used to distinguish each strain from the other, but physically the fish are very similar. The "German" or Domestic strain of brown trout may begin staging in harbor mouths for their spawning run beginning in July, with the majority of the run occurring in September and October. The spawning run for Seeforellens generally occurs in November and December. The age at which the fish matures is also a distinguishing characteristic of each strain, with the Domestic brown trout maturing at 2-3 years of age and the Seeforellen at 3-4 years. This later age of maturity in the Seeforellen usually allows for greater growth before their first spawning.

    New York State's record for brown trout - 29 pounds, 14 ounces, caught in Lake Ontario in 1986 - may be surpassed in the next few years by a strain of the species that has been imported from West Germany.

    The fish is the seeforellen, a lake-dwelling form of the brown trout that is found, among other places, throughout the sub-Alpine regions of western Europe. The seeforellen browns being stocked in New York State are the descendants of fish from the Walchensee, a lake in Bavaria.

    Seeforellens (Salmo trutta lacustris) are longer-lived than the stream-dwelling strain (Salmo trutta fario) of the brown trout that has become widely established in New York State, and growth appears to continue throughout most of the fish's life, which may extend well beyond 12 years. The typical domestic brown trout usually doesn't live beyond three years.

    Seeforellens of 50 pounds and more - they were probably from 10 to 15 years old - have been caught in a number of Bavarian, Austrian and Swiss lakes, including one taken on a handline in Germany in 1934 that weighed more than 68 pounds.

    Most of the See Forellen came from this one lake Constance, Bodensee Germany, bordering Austria and Switzerland. from this lake the Rhine River flows. It is a sub alpine lake and colder than a witches too too in Feb. Snow runoff any way this is where the Lake run Browns in the USA came from. I dont remember I think its like 40 miles long and 5-7 miles wide.

    Anyway 3rd largest lake in Western Europe, it is a natural lake and holds some huge fish, trout and pike and yellow perch.
  4. Re: Re: what strain of Brown trout?

    New York stocks lake Ontario with domestic brown trout. They have become their own strain through breeding to be disease resistant. The fish stocked in Ontario are the very same ones stocked in all other NY waters. They live well over 3 years. In fact some aren't even stocked until they are 2.5 years old as part if the 2 year old program where the fish are 13"-18".

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  5. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member


    That's good information. Do you have a link?
  6. TR

    TR Member

    John, the NYS brown trout record is 33lbs 2 oz caught June 1997, This fish was 38" long with a 25" girth

  7. Brown trout heritage in the US is a massive can of worms. Here's what I have read and learned. The initial transfer from Friedrich Felix von Behr to Fred Mather in the US of brown trout eggs occurred in 1883.....the initial eggs consisted of 60,000 Seeforelle (from a large lake) and 20,000 Bachforelle which was a smaller stream brown trout. Initially hatched seperately they were soon mixed indiscriminately along with subsequent shipments of brown not only from Germany but from England and Scotland (the famed Loch Leven) also. All these browns were treated as one giving their progeny great genetic diversity which is one of the reasons they did so well in our rivers and lakes. The first stocking in the US was in the Pere Marquette River in Michigan in 1884. It was highly successful, unfortunately this river's only salmonid was the rare Michigan Arctic grayling which became extinct within 20 years after the introduction of brown trout (and later rainbow). Later another lifeform termed Meeresforelle, which was a searun form of brown trout, was sent over also. So you can see there really isn't a "German" brown trout which comes from any singular stock they became a mish mosh of all these types......."German" is such a misnomer too as much of the heritage of "domestic" browns was also from England and Scotland. It was only recently that particular stocks....like Seeforelle were brought over again...specifically because they grow larger.

    It gets more confusing from older literature as several other species names were used for certain brown trout......salmo fario (stream browns), salmo lacustris (lake brown trout) and salmo eriox (searun browns). You have additional references to a large lake form ofter referred to as "ferox". Also the Loch Leven form was termed salmo levenensis. From my readings of Robert Behnke's work it has been genetically determined there is only one species of brown trout but it has developed into a myriad of strains adapted to specific enviornments. The larger browns of whatever type are ones, as they age, start to feed exclusively on other fish (piscivorous) which allows them to double their live span and increase their size dramatically. It is an area that is still in a state of flux in some fishery circles

    Most of my info is from Behnke's definitive work, "Trout and Salmon of North America" with other tidbits out of a book by Rupert Watson, "Salmom. Trout and Charrs of the World".

    BTW if someone wants to take a shot at a pure Loch Leven brown trout, Behnke found they were stocked exclusively (with lake trout) in Lake Shoshone and Lake Lewis (which are connected and were previously devoid of fish) in Yellowstone Park and their is no record of any other stocking since.....I have to get there sometime to do that. Traditional traits of Loch Leven.... generally slimmer than "German" browns, lack red spotting....even in streams....and have more eccentric spotting...less round.....all of the brown trout I've caught in the upper Missouri in Montana have that same lack of spotting...probably mostly from a Scottish stock.....usually these fish will be wearing kilts also.... ;) ;)

  8. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    What I find fascinating about browns is the big variation in spotting, other markings, and color even in the same strain.

    Additionally I don't know if its just me but browns are much more fascinating of a species compared to rainbows as rainbows seem so much more common as a cultured trout. And browns are more of a challenge to catch.
  9. Some days browns are a lot easier to catch, just ask Ron B. The day I took him and his son and one of their friends last year, he accused me of having every brown trout in the river named. We brought some where close to 100 fish to boat in under 5 hours and that was with high water.

    Shepard of the Hills Hatchery has developed their own strain of severely inbred Brown trout. They just dont reach the size of the ones we have.
  10. Ditto Cecil.....they do show such a variance.....when living in Montana I caught all the browns in the Missouri with no red spots, yet you travelled 150 miles to the Beaverhead River and all of the browns are more lightly spotted in general but all have many red spots with haloing. In Behnke's book he summarizes a season long study down on the North Platte River in Wyoming. The number of browns and rainbows in the river were determined at the beginning of the season and then the catch rates were cafefully monitored. At the end of the season for every 8 rainbow catches there was only 1.2 brown catches. Their natural instincts make them much harder too catch. Their vision is much better in dim light then rainbows.....browns have a much higher concentration of rods in their eyes which help in dim light. Additionally they perfer edges and cut banks where bows will feed center channel.

    Kind of interesting that both species, browns and rainbows, are predominantly "mutts" for their species. All traditional hatchery stocks, contrary to popular perception, of rainbows were a mixture of several different stocks, and subspecies of rainbow. So what we have today is very limited number of areas with pure, native strains of rainbows. Although, thankfully, here in Alaska we have resisted putting anything else in the water (for the most part) and all are stocks are pure native coastal rainbow trout....oncorhynchus mykiss irideus. Most people don't realize rainbow trout are not native to states like Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and only a single stream in Montana. There were almost all entirely in west coast states natively.....cutthroats were inland. Likewise the majority of browns are of varied and mixed breed......but although I am a big advocate of enhancing and preserving native trouts.....I find the browns much more fascinating and rewarding to catch......
  11. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    They can be more aggressive at times John, which can make them easier to catch, but for the most part seasoned browns (browns that have been in the water for a while vs fresh hatchery fish) are tougher to catch from my experience.
  12. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member


    I had the funniest thing happen a few years back in my trout pond.

    My browns were so conditioned on pellets they wouldn't touch a crawler or any live bait believe it or not. These were fish up to 12 lbs. It was strictly match the hatch and it had to be pellets.

    Anyway I had a couple come out to catch a few as it was time to harvest them to sell them frozen to taxidermists. They came with their Orvis fly rods, vests, expensive flies, the whole nine yards. I told them the browns wouldn't be interested in their flies but they wouldn't hear of it. What do I know with it being my pond and the trout I feed daily for two years?

    So they whip the designer flies back and forth for a couple of hours with not even a hit. I told them I had a sure fire rig to catch them -- which was a couple of trout pellets tied off in a piece of pantyhose -- so you could get a hook into something vs. the rock hard pellet. They refused to stoop to that level and left in a huff after two hours.

    Of course I had to chuckle when I went to check on them and brown of about 7 lbs. came out of the water as if to take a look at the silly people that were casting little itty bitty flies to them. It was fall and they were in a spawning mode which means they clear the water a lot just like fall kings do.

    To make a long story short, two friends showed up after they left with nitecrawlers and I told them not to waste their time but tie on the pantyhose pellets I had ready to go. They said, "sure whatever it takes." Didn't take them long and they caught about 12 browns up to 9 lbs in a short period of time.

    How anyone would stick to their guns on something that won't work is beyond me.
  13. Oh Cecil the diehard flyfisherman is a thing of beauty......and occasionally idiocy. Back in '98 when while living in Montana I was early spring fishing the upper Missouri with my 5 wt flyrod and the traditional scud imitations....for about 2 hours I chatted with a couple of very congenial, but somewhat pretentious, flyfisherman from California (generally people who have no clue about nature but want to tell you all about it.....hah, I can make fun as I was a Californian for nearly 30 years....may it fall into the ocean)....none of us had had a bump....water was just still too stinking cold. So I went back to my new Explorer and returned with my spinning rod and quickly nabbed several nice trout, all released, over the next hour. Well the "purist" flyboys wouldn't talk to me and kind of stomped around indignantly finally leaving. When I got back to my car one of my rear tires had been slashed....ah, the mentality of the intellectually arrogant....how petty. But pretty much the same response as your fly guys. Hehehe.

  14. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear about your tire Doc. The "Garden Hackle" has saved the day for me on more than one occasion when trout fishing!
  15. I fish White river and the fishing for browns can change from today being good and tomorrow being nothing. These are all wild trout, some with red spots, big spots, black spots and brown spots. Some are silver others are yellow and some orange and this is any time of the year.

    I caught Browns above Royal Gorge on the Arkansas on Gold and black rapalas while the fly shop in Canyon City Co said they only took so emerger fly. The next day the browns there would not hit anything.

    Ron B here fished with me last summer and he claimed I had the brown trout named Bull Shoals Dam was pushing 8 units for electricity at 40,000 CFS. sometimes they will not hit anything and then the next hour they tear everything up, and nothing but the time has changed.
  16. I agree with John about the iffy nature of browns. While living in Montana on the Missouri...fishing in May I could absolutely hammer the browns.....but warm up the water and give you late June into July and through the summer and the darn things would just clam up. They were still there but I could never catch any number of them except after dark......they can be fickle...I think much more so than rainbows.
  17. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    Actually, i believe the brown tout was first introduced into North America in the Baldwin river, a tributary of the Pere Marquette, just upstream from the PM. I am headed to Yellowstone July 1st and will be looking to do some fishing. I am staying on Yellowstone lake, if anyone has any information on where or how I can get into some cutthroats please let me know. Catching one is kinda on my bucket list along with seeing a grizzly, oh and catching a grayling out there too. I'm taking my 18 year old son out there for his Senior trip, he just graduated from high school. That is all he wanted to do, go to yellowstone, it's going to be great!
  18. MT you could very well be right of the exact location of the first stocking of browns......what I've read just lists the PM.....just sad it helped bring on the demise of the Michigan grayling....but then hindsight is always perfect. As far as the Yellowstone...the lake is full of them (although they are spending a great deal of money trying to control lake trout which were illegally introduced and decimating the native yellowstone cutthroat)......and fishing from the inflow upstream for miles on the Yellowstone River is full of native cuttys.