Wisconsin's Inland Waters Trout Records
Driftless streams have four specific types of trout in the waters. Female trout grow bigger than males. Their colors are typical more muted than the males. The four species are brown,brook,tiger and rainbow.
First is the TIGER trout. This trout is not stocked and happens in stream. It is a hybrid trout. It is a cross between a male brook trout and a female brown. This trout is extremely rare and is not even listed in the trout regulations.
This interspecies cross is unusual, in part because each fish belongs to a separate genus (Salvelinus for brook trout and Salmo for browns). It happens rarely in the wild, but can be (and is) easily performed by fisheries biologists or hatchery technicians.The egg yoke sacs of these hybrids are thin and many tiger young don't hatch because of it.
The tiger trout is a sterile hybrid cross between a female brown trout and a male brook trout. The fish exhibits unusual markings found in neither parent. Tiger trout are rare in the wild, appearing only in areas where brook and brown trout share spawning grounds. The tiger looks most similar to the brook trout species. This cross can not be done the other direction because brook trout eggs are to small to be impregnated by brown trout.
Tiger trout will be getting even more rare in the upcoming years due to the Gill Lice epidemic killing off many brook trout.
There is no recognized inland record in Wisconsin for tiger trout.
Brown trout come in many different strains. The two most common were brought over to the United States from Europe in the 1880s to be stocked. These two most common strains are the Scottish Loch Leven browns and the German browns. Initially they were easy to distinguish from one another. The German brown had red spots intermingled with the blackish brown spots. The Scottish browns had no red spots. The obvious markings have faded through the years because of species cross breeding.
Brown trout colors are varied these days. The type of water they live in contributes to their coloring. Browns that live in a sandy environment take on the lighter colors of the sandy bottom to blend in better and thus hide better from predators. The things they eat also cause their colors to vary. Spawn can also cause the male browns to take on much more profound coloring. The bench mark for a large inland brown in Wisconsin is 20 inches.
The Wisconsin inland state record for brown trout is a 34.3 inch long fish weighing 18 pounds 6 ounces. It was caught on May 7, 1984 in Lake Geneva by Perry McKittrick
The rainbows are hatchery cast offs and typically are placed in catch andrelease only water. They can be excellent fighters but they are poor table fare due to being fed liver pellets in the hatchery. Most rainbows leave the streams they are stocked it. It is because of the instinct they have patterned in them to go down stream. The record for rainbows is not a prestigious thing because they are brooders from the hatchery.
Wisconsin's inland water record for Rainbow trout was set in June 2006 by Will Lusthoff when he reeled in a 12lbs-3oz trout out of Elbow Lake. The rainbow trout measured 29.5 inches in length.
The only native species to our waters are the brook trout. This trout is really not a trout and is a member of the char family. Brook trout are known for their reckless abandon while feeding. At times they are too aggressive and some people don't fish for them because they consider them stupid. Their fins are bright red edged with white. The benchmark for a big brook trout in the area is 12 inches. Brook trout are currently at risk of extinction due to a Gill Lice Epidemic in driftless streams.
Wisconsin's (inland) brook trout record is 9lbs 15 ounces caught by John Mixis in September of 1944 in the Prairie River.
A couple of the state records are questionable due to the lack of genetic testing back 20 years ago and earlier. The brown and brook trout records are questioned and many in the know ask if these record trout could have been someone's pet from their pond that escaped.