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Lake: Iceberg Lakes - JPWA
Fish: Golden Trout

Golden Trout or Cutthroat and Missing Gillplates?

Post By: ND Transplant      Posted: 9/27/2021 7:18:07 AM     Points: 14546    
Fished North Iceburg Lake this weekend (9/25/21) with a buddy and was hoping to catch my first Golden Trout. The second photo sure looks golden to me and the fish doesn't have any cutthroat markings but this could all be wishful thinking as he doesn't have the markings of a Golden Trout. What are all your thoughts on it and also take a look at the last photo of the cutthroat hen. See the missing gill plates? The cutthroats in Lake Gibraltar had a lot of these missing gill plates and I think it's due to lack of nutrients.
 Reply by: brookieflyfisher      Posted: 9/27/2021 9:09:56 AM     Points: 6196
Fist of all, those are some great fish out of a couple lakes that are pretty hard to get to, so congrats!

In my opinion we're looking at three cutthroat. Golden trout have fewer spots overall, and white tips on their anal, dorsal, and pelvic fins. Cutthroat trout never have white tips on these fins. Goldens also tend to have parr marks into adulthood, but not always.

You could maybe convince me that there's a tiny bit of hybrid genetics going on with the second picture, but it would be a really far stretch IMO.
 Reply by: ND Transplant      Posted: 9/27/2021 9:11:07 AM     Points: 14546
@Brookie, thanks for confirming. Have you ever seen the gill plate issue in the third photo?
 Reply by: brookieflyfisher      Posted: 9/27/2021 9:22:23 AM     Points: 6196
I have seen that in quite a few different contexts. I'm not a fish disease guy so I can't say I know what's going on there.

I would love to hear from someone with a background in fish culture and development.
 Reply by: panfishin      Posted: 9/27/2021 3:27:51 PM     Points: 9369
no idea on the second pic if its a golden or not...but i have caught one trout at Spinney that had a much smaller portion of the gill plate missing. still seemed to be a very healthy fish and didn't have a problem growing well in Spinney.
 Reply by: 3wayfisha      Posted: 9/27/2021 4:14:10 PM     Points: 420
100% cutties, fish sometimes lose gill plates when it gets caught up in the line, i have caught cutties and other trout where the gill plate got clipped off during the fight..at least that is my experience, not sure about nutrient defficiency
 Reply by: ND Transplant      Posted: 9/27/2021 5:44:41 PM     Points: 14546
Thanks for all the replies about the gill plates. Here's what I found: "Vitamin C deficiency. In salmonids (trout and salmon), tilapia and milkfish, gilthead sea bream. Vitamin C deficiency can cause shortened opercula and abnormal support cartilage in the gills of salmonids (Halver et al. 1975 and Soliman et al. 1986, Hilomen-Garcia 1997, Merchie et al. 1997 as cited in Darias et al. 2011)."

I am trying to get a hold of someone at CPW just to see their take as well. Article link: [log in for link]
 Reply by: randog      Posted: 9/28/2021 12:17:33 PM     Points: 1814
Hotspotting at its finest, it's a cutthroat. Somethings are best kept a secret
 Reply by: Native_BW      Posted: 9/29/2021 10:57:45 PM     Points: 8
lolz Rando most ppl couldn't even find this place let alone make the hike
 Reply by: ND Transplant      Posted: 9/30/2021 6:56:48 AM     Points: 14546
@Native_BW no doubt. This hike in particular is a 1.7 mile literal scramble up boulders gaining 2,000 feet in that time. It is rare that I see any other fisherman at any alpine lakes in RMNP, IWPA, and JPWA.
 Reply by: randog      Posted: 9/30/2021 10:27:27 AM     Points: 1814
ND. Well this is colorado so there will be may people willing to do the hike. Hotspotting is Hotspotting if people make the hike or not. Not really that hard of a hike. Just have to look at a map. By the way the Goldens were stocked at a size that will take 3 + more years to be catchable size. Pending that they don't get eaten by the cutthroat trout. Tons of people are looking for new places to go. Should let them figure it out by themselves.
 Reply by: ND Transplant      Posted: 9/30/2021 11:53:15 AM     Points: 14546
@randog - I don't understand the attempt at English in your last reply. This is a very hard hike to this lake in particular. I bet you'd quit 1/3 of the way in. Get a grip.
 Reply by: skiman      Posted: 9/30/2021 1:24:47 PM     Points: 2825
Why can’t we remain civil? Calling someone out for no reason is not only offensive, but childish as well. Most people on this site care about the state of fisheries, and sharing information is the purpose of FX. Any reference to the location of a lake, and fish species caught isn’t meant to be “hot-spotting”, but rather an attempt to share information about a successful trip. At my age, and with my physical limitations, I enjoy hearing about these adventures!
 Reply by: brookieflyfisher      Posted: 9/30/2021 2:11:53 PM     Points: 6196
I'm mixed about the hotspotting thing with high mountain lakes. On the one hand, it's not like it's a secret that there's good fishing at just about every lake in the high country. Thanks to the CPW it's not like there's a shortage of lakes with golden trout or good-sized cutthroat in the high-country anymore.

On the other hand, the research says the size of trout in high mountain lakes can be negatively affected by fishing pressure because it takes forever for fish to grow in high mountain lakes.

That said, I'm in serious doubt that a fishing forum is going to increase fishing pressure at any one location--modern social media and the difficulty of the hike are probably the real arbiters of fishing pressure at any given high mountain lake.

Then there's the fact that fish don't belong in any of these originally-fishless high mountain lakes anyways. There have been significant declines in rare insect, amphibian, and bird species because of relentless stocking of nonnative fish for fun.

Personally I understand both the arguments from both sides and I just figure it's not worth getting angry about. If one lake gets hammered that usually means there's another one out there people are ignoring. Burn that boot leather and get after it.
 Reply by: Native_BW      Posted: 10/1/2021 12:08:58 AM     Points: 8
🤣 LMAO @ Rando the troll trying to bury this thread by bumping all the other old threads with meaningless one word or emoji posts. 🙄 🤨
 Reply by: Native_BW      Posted: 10/6/2021 11:02:36 PM     Points: 8
Irony…

While jigging for eyes at Creek last weekend, I caught a Rainbow that was missing BOTH gill plates very similarly to the subject of this thread. 😱🥺
 Reply by: ND Transplant      Posted: 10/7/2021 8:58:10 AM     Points: 14546
@Native_BW - poor old Randog.

I caught a few up at lower storm lake again last weekend with missing gill plates. I think it might be an angler catching them and them damaging the plates. I have an email out to CPW to get their take.
 Reply by: randog      Posted: 10/7/2021 1:03:50 PM     Points: 1814
Nd transplant I'll take that bet, lol it's a cake walk. I've been there plenty of times, even up the south rock face. I find it funny you think that I couldn't make it ⅓ the way up. That would only be about 1.9 miles lol. I bet I could do anything you hike in half the time. Guess which one is the Iceburg hike. I've done hikes 20+ miles. With that said all of them were just day hikes. . You think my cutthroat pictures come from Georgetown? 😄 I've had previous posts on this forum with a cutthroat from every lake you have mentioned. Ps the 10 mile hike is IBL.

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