Burning Bright

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

There’s a new “big cat” loose in cold-water fisheries of the hemisphere, the healthy spawn of demons and angels. Just as rainbows and browns are known to cross-breed with salmon, even in the wild, the DNA of cagey and savage browns can also intermingle with char–in specific, the angelic “jewel of the headwater” char we call brook trout–to produce a fast-growing, aggressive and eminently hardy intergeneric hybrid cross-breed known as the Tiger.

And technically it’s not new, given that it occurs outside of labs. Browns don’t usually breed with other trout species in the wild–their life strategies, one critical aspect of which is the time of year they spawn, allow them to share habitat and still preserve the many advantages of their unique and diverse DNA. Salmo trutta, the species from which the many sub-species of brown trout and sea trout spring, can thus remain separate from western hemisphere “Oncorhynchus,” the genus of rainbows, cutthroat and the various goldens. (If brown genetics and other trout genetics do accidentally mix, the offspring will be sterile, which again safeguards DNA dilution.) However, on rare occasions, browns tango with brookies, who also spawn in autumn. The hybrid “tiger trout” (Salmo trutta × Salvelinus fontinalis) is the result when they do.

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