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Nebraska Tailwalkers

Bruiser trout that mean business
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Cooling fall temperatures usher in the arrival of trout season in Southern California, and it also signifies the return of the broad-shouldered “Nebraska Tailwalker” trout to select lakes in the region.
While California anglers are familiar with the descriptive title thanks to online forums, tackle shop banter, and the pages of Western Outdoor News, not much is known about them other than the facts that they typically are larger than the average stocked trout and they put up a hell of a fight on light tackle.

The eggs for these Kamloop-variety rainbows come from Troutlodge in Sumner, WA. The products of these eggs are triploid rainbows that are sterile, and this inability to reproduce means less stress on the fish as well as the potential for quicker growth. It’s not uncommon for Tailwalkers to leave the truck and enter the lake at over two pounds each.

They are hatched at the family-run Chalk Mound Trout Ranch in Bridgeport, Nebraska and as fingerlings they are first moved into raceways, then later they are moved to natural ponds prior to stocking.

The trucks are equipped with a cooling unit that allows a climate-controlled atmosphere that shortens acclimation time when the fish are delivered.

Prior to stocking, Nebraska Tailwalkers spend time in a natural pond environment which gives them more of a "wild" demeanor and allows them to maintain a full-finned appearance.

“It is our proprietary procedures that give our fish their fight,” said Chalk Mound’s owner/operator, Ron Bright. “If we revealed it all, everybody would be doing it!”

In order to make a safe trip from America’s heartland to the lakes of Southern California, Chalk Mound utilizes special delivery trucks with an ever-evolving original design.


The trucks are equipped with a cooling unit that allows a climate-controlled atmosphere that shortens acclimation time when the fish are delivered.


Fish from the Chalk Mound Trout Ranch "finish" in these tanks prior to being loaded on to a state-of-the-art delivery truck designed by the hatchery managers.


The trucks that deliver Nebraska Tailwalkers to Southern California utilize the latest technology to ensure a climate controlled and stress-free trip to our local lakes.

“We will continue to use whatever technology is available,” added Bright.

The Ranch currently sells its fish in Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and California. The “So Cal” lakes that regularly feature Tailwalkers include: Lakes Dixon, Wohlford and Poway, Santa Ana River Lakes, Corona Lake, Mountain Lakes Resort, Lake Mission Viejo, Lake Casitas, Lake Cachuma, and Lake Arrowhead. The staff at Chalk Mound continues to work to expand their market to make their fish available to more people. This is made possible when fishermen encourage lake operators to bring them in.

“Our product differs from that of our competitors in many ways. It is the way we handle, care for and finish our fish that makes Nebraska Tailwalkers the outstanding example of rainbow trout that they are,” aid Bright.



© 2023 Mike Stevens
Originally published in Western Outdoor News.
About the author, Mike Stevens:
A Southern California native, Stevens specializes in targeting trout in the Eastern Sierra region of the state, but the San Diego resident also has experience fishing the lakes of San Diego, Riverside, and L.A. counties. He spent five years in the fishing tackle industry, and he also spent two years working in a marine fish hatchery. On the saltwater side, he enjoys the local offshore scene and surf fishing, and he has fished from Montana to California to Cabo San Lucas. As a writer, his work has been published in Western Outdoor News, Fish Taco Chronicles, and Fish Wrap Magazine to name a few, and he is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of California.