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Two rainbow trout from same lake with big difference in taste | Category: Fishing Talk

Mark Totzke 2 years ago

I was fishing for trout at Lake Grasmere recently. It's a high country lake in Canterbury, South Island NZ

After a while drifting around on my iSUP I caught two really good sized rainbow trout.
The first one I caught on a small white/brow soft bait at the lakes edge and the second one I caught on a black/gold veltic spinner in the middle of the lake.

The second one was a little bigger and fatter than the first but they appeared to be both good conditioned rainbow trout.
Only after filleting I noticed a huge difference. The first one had very pale meat. A little pinkish but more white.
The second one had beautiful red, fatty meat, just like a salmon. The difference was also very prominent in taste.
Although both tasted good. The second one was almost indistinguishable from salmon after smoking in taste and appearance.

How can there be such a big difference in rainbow trout taken from the same small lake?
Are there different subspecies of rainbows? I know there are steelhead. But I though they are just bigger and sea run rainbows with the same eating qualities. And here in the high country lake there aren't any sea run trout anyway. Just huge rainbows.

Could it be that they both fed on a different diet in the same lake and that's why they took two different lures.
Or perhaps one was stocked and another wild?
I'm really puzzled at this difference in taste. Hopefully I'll catch more of the second type as it's just super delicious.

Both were hen trout with lots of eggs in them. The eggs tasted great by the way

The first trout - looks almost same like the second but white meat instead of red

The second trout, a bit fatter and tasted like salmon

the second one after hot smoking - looks and tastes almost like salmon

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
clydeman 2 years ago

This looks good!!!!! I have caught trout and some have tasted funny as well.It was the biggest one actually.

Ed Tyberghein 2 years ago

Second does look like it has greater body depth.
If these are stocked fish I would contact hatchery as they will know what is in lake. If wild, then be sure of subspecies id. as this could account. for difference.

itsaboat 2 years ago

I could be wrong, I have not had a lot to do with trout.

Looking at the photos, it looks to me like the top one is a rainbow trout. The bottom one looks like a brown trout.

As I say, I don't know much about trout. From what I understand brown trout are naturally pink to red fleshed. Rainbow trout are naturally white but will be pink to red if farmed and fed a supplement.

EDIT: I just took a second look. The top one definitely is a rainbow trout. So if wild and not farmed the flesh should be white.

The second still looks like a brown trout to me and the flesh should be pink to red.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 2 years ago

nah brown trout look very different. They are brown and have spots.

here is a brown trout I caught some time ago in comparison.
I'm now in brown trout territory again, so some new pictures are likely to come in soon.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
Mark Totzke 2 years ago

the lake is stocked with rainbow trout each year according to the fish and game website.
It also holds brown trout, but they are not being stocked.

On the website it says that in 2007 they released 1400 trout into this lake.
It doesn't say how many they release each year though.

Maybe it's got to do with the age of the trout and the red fat one was a bit younger?

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
itsaboat 2 years ago

As I say, I don't know much about trout. This is what the DPI say -

The Brown Trout is a thick bodied species with a large head, mouth and moderate to large eyes. The mouth extends to below the eyes. Colours can vary depending on factors such as age and habitat. Generally silver to olive-brownish and darker along the dorsal area. They display dark spots along the back and sides, but these can sometimes be indistinct. Most spots are surrounded by a pale halo and are often red below the mid-line.

"silver to olive-brownish" and the dots can "sometimes be indistinct".

I know sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference. I am looking at the head shape and your description. Maybe they are both rainbow. But you say they tasted different. The top one was white, which wild rainbow are. Brown trout are pink to red fleshed and the bottom one was pinkish to red. The top one has a roundish head and is definitely a rainbow. The bottom one looks to have a more flattish head and looks more like the head of a brown trout.

I could be wrong, but it looks to me like you have one rainbow and one brown trout.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 2 years ago

yeah - I think you're wrong this time LOL

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
itsaboat 2 years ago

Here is a short Youtube thingy...The spots and colours can be almost identical on both. Sometimes the shape of the head can be the only way to tell the difference. Brown trout are not always brown, they can be silver and the spots can be "indistinct" which means hard to see.

The more I look at it...The more that bottom one looks like a brown trout.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 2 years ago

well, what I can I say - it's definitely not a brown trout Let's agree to disagree
I have caught a bunch of brown trout and they look very different in this part of the woods.

I'm thinking more in the line of steelhead vs rainbow.
It would be interesting to hear if anyone else thinks it's a brown trout though.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
Ed Tyberghein 2 years ago

I think when you found hatchery stocks the lake, you found the answer. Their stock is likely hybrids of various sorts and it just some wild cards got thrown in when they were stripping the stock. I think if you look close you might find some differences in the two that might help determine pink from white flesh. I am a warm water fisheries guy though not a cold water. They were sure some nice fish!!

itsaboat 2 years ago

Can't be a steelhead.

You are correct in your OP. Steelhead are the same fish...sea run rainbow trout. But as you say, it's a high country lake not connected to the sea and there are no steelhead there.

I am not an expert on trout. But everything you say points to the bottom photo being a brown trout.

We all agree the top photo is a rainbow trout. Its flesh was white indicating it is a wild fish. Stocked maybe, but not farm fed. So we could assume all the fish in the lake are wild.

Wild brown trout have pink to reddish flesh. The bottom fish had pinkish flesh. Rainbow trout are only pink if farm fed.

Rainbow trout have spots along the top above the eye line and are tightly packed and can appear to be a solid black stripe. Brown trout have spots all over. The bottom fish has spots widely spread going down bellow the mouth and well below the eye line.

Rainbow trout have a roundish, blunt sort of head. Brown trout have a flatter and more pointy head...The fish in the bottom photo appears to have a flatter and more pointy head.

I was in Aldi (or was it Woolies) about 2 weeks ago. 2 women in front of me and one said to the other "we should get some of this smoked brown trout". The other said "never heard of it what is it like". The first one said "it tastes just like smoked salmon but it's half the price". You say when you smoked the bottom fish it tasted like salmon.

In fact brown trout are in many places considered better eating because they taste a bit like salmon. On the other hand rainbow trout can sometimes have a muddy taste.

You know what they say...if it looks like a duck and waddles like a duck and clucks like a duck, it is probably a duck

A second opinion might prove me wrong. But I reckon it is a brown trout because it ticks all the boxes.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 2 years ago

okay okay, it's a brown trout for sure...

Attention! Please don't read the next part if your username is itsaboat:
(ah - don't even think about reading it, I will know if you did )

It's 100% not a brown trout. They are both rainbows as in no way one of them would be a brown.
The only brown trout is the one in the picture I uploaded for demonstration purposes to show someone called itsaboat, who said himself that he doesn't know much about trout, what a brown trout looks like. Hahaha

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
itsaboat 2 years ago

OK...I wont read it...damn I just thought about reading it

I guess you wont be sending me a T-shirt for Christmas now haha

Now...let's take a look at them perch you have been catching....haha

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 2 years ago

LOL - don't even try to convince me that they are not perch!

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
itsaboat 2 years ago

haha....We call them redfin over here

haha...Had you going for a second hey? Yeah, they are English Perch and very good eating.

I know I am off your Christmas list but I will be nice to you...Maybe, if I play nice I might stay on your birthday list

Oh...By the way, I never did mention...That is one nice brown trout you got there. Did you catch it wearing that same T-shirt as you were wearing when you caught that rainbow ?

Oopps...I think I might be off the birthday list

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
TheSESmith 2 years ago

Both are clearly rainbow! I have been catching/eating both natural native & hatchery raised, for years. Both can vary in thickness, flesh color & taste, depending on food source/diet, aquatic environment, aquatic quality/clarity, & temperature.