Since 1910, The Whistle Pig Fishing Club has been enjoying the wilds of the Loyalsock Valley at the Ogdonia Lodge in Hillsgrove during the first two weeks of June each year. This year was one for the history books. Two very rate Tiger Trout, one 13” and the other 17”, were caught, photographed, and released.
So where did they come from? Could they be a rarity in Nature? Could be it the mix of a male brook trout and female brown trout that was born in one of the tributaries and washed into the mainstem during high flows?
A few 6” – 9” tigers have been electro shocked in the tributaries over the last 10 years but where did they come from.
Were they stocked by the PA Fish and Boat Commission?
Did someone else stock them? Doubtful.
Roger Mallon, a reporter for the Reading Eagle, wrote in a March 27, 2011, article “According to the PFBC, State hatcheries have been experimenting with raising a small number of tiger trout over the last couple of years to determine if they would grow any faster or more efficiently than other species.”
“Thus far, we have not seen any advantage of raising tiger trout. The experiments have produced several thousand tigers each year and a few are put in with the loads of brook trout to be stocked throughout the Commonwealth. Although biologically possible, wild tiger trout are extremely rare.” (http://www2.readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=297483)
In a March 23, 2008, online article by Bob Frye for TribLive, he wrote “The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, which has raised a relatively small number of tigers — a hybrid mix of a brook and a brown trout — for the last four or five years is about to pull the plug on the experiment.
“There are tigers being stocked this year and there are still some in the system for next year, but after that we are going to terminate the program,” said Leroy Young, director of the commission’s bureau of fisheries.
The tiger trout program was never an “official” undertaking per se, Young said. Rather, hatchery managers have been raising the fish.
The Reynoldsdale hatchery in Bedford County has produced about 20,000 each year for Greene, Fayette, Somerset, and Bedford counties. But the hatcheries do not have specific tiger trout production goals, so no one has kept close tabs on how many have been dumped into waters around the state, said Tom Cochran, manager of the commission’s southern hatcheries.”
Cochran goes on to say that the PFBC wanted to “simply to give anglers something unique to fish for, like the golden rainbow trout known as palominos — the commission has been giving tiger trout a try.
Don Anderson, a PFBC Commissioner at the time said “the results have not been promising. In a hatchery setting, 90-95 percent of the brook and brown trout eggs that hatch survive to reach the fry stage. With tiger trout, the survival rate is closer to 25 percent, he said.”
The Fish and Boat Commission only stocked tiger trout during the pre-season stocking period, and only in waters that otherwise get brook trout. (In 2008) (https://archive.triblive.com/news/tiger-trout-becoming-scare-throughout-state/. Tiger Trout are currently on the approved list of fish that can be stocked in Pennsylvania waters but approval must be given first by PFBC.
There must be more, and we would like to know if any of you have caught a Tiger trout in the Loyalsock Creek or any of its tributaries. We would love to hear your stories and any information that you have.
Please contact Steve Szoke at email@example.com, home phone 570-314-2114 or by texting him at 570-801-3100.