I fished the West Branch of the Delaware this weekend, and found a pod of fish midging up in Deposit. Finding myself without my midge box, I used a parachute Trico and started hooking a number of small fish. Then I found a larger one showing some fin, targeted it and hooked and landed it. It was a brown, but it had markings much like a tiger trout, with brook trout vermiculations on the back, and some wavy markings on the sides, but the wavy markings were not as pronounced or detailed as in other tigers I've caught. They were not parr marks, but broken wavy bands of darker coloration along the sides of the fish. The fish had the red spots of Vohn Behr browns as well--just as some tigers do. I was tickled, as it seemed to be the first wild tiger I'd landed, but finding some other larger fish (relatively speaking--none of these fish were over 12") and targeting them, I managed to land about 4 more that looked much like the first. By that time I was doubting they were tigers, but they also did not look like the other fish I caught there, which were clearly browns with no vermiculations on the top or sides. Finding this many fish that had some markings I associate with tiger trout, I began to speculate that perhaps someone had stocked the fish, if they were tigers. I know there is a small population of brook trout in the West Branch, but it seems impossible to find this many tigers in one spot. The fish were perfect, no fins abraded or droop, and their coloration was bright, just like the other small browns I caught there. Does anyone (Jason??) have any ideas about this variation in coloration for small brown trout? I've never seen anything like it.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"