by: Alan Peak 9/24/2012
It is another day at one of my favorite spots in Colorado. Ray, one of my new friends, and I are on the hunt for Tiger Trout. Nice Brook Trout are only getting in our way of the prize. Ray needs to catch one to add it to his already impressive list of accomplishments. It happens, his rod doubles over and the wonderful flash of tiger stripes catches his eye. Pictures taken and the Tiger Trout is quickly released back into the water. Moments later I hook my tiger as it destroys my fly. It is another great day out.
My heart sank when I asked an angler around the bend if he had caught anything. He quickly gave me the answer, "Some sort of brown or brook trout." He pulled up his stringer and produced a Tiger. I suggested he try to revive it, but it was too late.
Tiger Trout are sterile by products of Brook and Brown Trout. They will not reproduce, nor will they be restocked from what I have heard. They do occur in the wild, but it is extremely rare. Unlike Utah, who stocks them frequently in many lakes, Colorado has only put them in a few select spots. Once they are gone, it is very likely they will be gone for good.
Because they are piscivorous (fish eaters), they are used to control Brook Trout populations here in Colorado. Tigers will help keep brookies from stunting as well as allowing other species such as cutthroat to flourish
Being sterile as well as fish eating, expect them to grow. I have been astounded by their growth rate thus far. I started catching them through the ice and now as ice season come back around they have grown exponentially. Incidentally, I have also noticed the local Brook Trout population growing larger in size and quality.
If I look into the future of our Tiger Trout residing on public waters, I see two distinct options. We share the knowledge, educate fellow anglers and they will grow to be trophies for everyone to catch. They in turn help create healthier populations of other species. Or, as I have seen this weekend, ignorance will quickly end their phenomenal reign. And the Colorado Tiger trout will be gone forever. Please share this blog with your friends.
Think you know where they hide? Here are a few tips: Bait fishing will generally not work. Because they are found above the limits of where you can use minnows you are going to have to use artificial flies and lures. Small Rapalas, Kastmasters, wolly buggers, sculpin patterns and colorful streamers have produced for my friends and me. Through the ice try tube jigs and small spoons. If you catch one, it is likely that you are going to have to move around a little bit to find another one. While this is not always the case, it is a pattern that I have found and discussed with my good friend Josh.
Happy Tiger Hunting
Blog content © Alan Peak
JKaboom, CO 9/25/2012 6:37:12 AM
Hopefully your interaction with the other angler enabled him to learn about the species and he won't keep future tigers. They sure are a beautiful fish :) I don't understand why they won't stock more of them if other places such as Utah have used them with success do you have any further insight into that? Thanks for the blog :)
ObsessedFisherman, CO 9/25/2012 6:47:50 AM
Awesome job guys glad Ray added to that great list of his. Well done glad you guys hooked up!!
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO 9/25/2012 7:06:57 AM
JKaboom, I believe it is because they are expensive to create. Because they different number of chromosomes in brookies and browns, the biologists need to heat the eggs up for them to accept each other. The success rate even in a controlled environment is not great.
FISHRANGLER, CO 9/25/2012 7:10:17 AM
Lots of good info Alan thanks for sharing it and the trip you two took.
UltraLightRay, CO 9/25/2012 10:20:00 AM
Wow, look at their growth rate. Thanks again for a great trip Alan.
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO 9/25/2012 11:14:29 AM
There is a 10 month span between the first picture and last picture!
Sparkis, CO 9/25/2012 6:31:43 PM
could you tell me where to go look for these tigers please.
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO 9/25/2012 7:08:18 PM
Sparkis, I knew this question would come up. I will say that being a FXR+ member has its rewards. Earlier this week I opened a post up on plus forum and invited anyone who wanted a chance to go with me. I expect there will be a similar post during the ice fishing season.
skb2706, CO 9/25/2012 8:29:22 PM
Didn't know that any public waters here in CO had tigers. I caught several in the high Uintahs in UT. One 19" that put up a major fight. We caught them off float tubes, fly fishing with big streamers. Beautiful fish...we put all of them back.
Mr.Pink, CO 9/25/2012 10:16:32 PM
Good stuff. You touched on this, but it's probably worth repeating: The tigers will help the brookies and cutts get bigger and healthier! This may be the best way to keep people from eating the tigers. I'd like to catch a tiger just to say I did, but one of the biggest reasons I want to fish waters with tigers is to catch nice brookies! I hope to hear more about this in the future.
JKaboom, CO 9/25/2012 11:06:20 PM
Thanks for the additional info Alan. That's great you had a good time and Ray added to his caught species list always great to catch a new species especially something so exotic and cool looking!!
randog, CO 9/26/2012 5:54:39 PM
I have caught some at yankee doodle lake on rolins pass. Fishing is for everyone why not share info. Good luck unless you are a fishing snob then bad luck to you.
jfred17, CO 9/26/2012 6:47:44 PM
It was definitely great to get up there earlier this spring and catch my first tiger. Looks like they are growing at a fast pace, can't wait to see these guys next year!
catchn, CO 9/26/2012 9:59:45 PM
sparki put up your email I'll send you all the lakes with them in co
ePiC, CO 9/27/2012 7:48:18 AM
I was just talking to Doug Krieger Tuesday night about the tigers and how fast they are growing... its going to be epic in a couple years man.
itchyreelfinger, CO 9/27/2012 7:52:51 AM
Nice blog Alan. I look forward to catching one with you one of these days.
marabou, CO 12/9/2012 10:32:17 AM
In case you haven't noticed the cdow does not restrict you from keeping these wonderful eating trout. They are excellent fillet and cooked in oil . About 350 degrees. The Grand Mesa has some. Very hard fighting fish. Wooly buggers seem to work best. I like to let the fish and game decide what to do with fish thru their regs.
IndieCon, CO 12/9/2012 10:40:17 AM
I've caught hundreds of tigers over the years in Manitoba's Parkland region. They are the most insane fighters of all the trout I've yet to encounter... probably my favorite.
Thanks for the article. Can't wait to get into some CO tigers.
KingFisher13, CO 12/9/2012 3:03:44 PM
Catchn, or anyone else... Please e-mail me some locations.. Id appreciate it.
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO 12/9/2012 8:56:10 PM
@marabou "In case you haven't noticed the cdow does not restrict you from keeping these wonderful eating trout. They are excellent fillet and cooked in oil . About 350 degrees. The Grand Mesa has some. Very hard fighting fish. Wooly buggers seem to work best. I like to let the fish and game decide what to do with fish thru their regs."..... . . . . . . . . . I would be willing to bet in a blind taste test you wouldn't be able to distinguish the difference between a tiger, brown or brookie. Why take a sterile fish when you can eat brookies all day long and not impact their population?
marabou, CO 12/11/2012 5:37:10 PM
I can relate to what you are saying and your right about a quality trout out of a quality lake all being good to eat. If a trout is going to live about 7 to 9 years and not reproduce, which is the case in most lakes, why not harvest them toward the end of their lives. It would kind of be a shame for any orange meated trout to die of old age . But If your talking about a mackinaw that might be as old as I am you might make me start to feel bad.