So the other day I took my nephew Max, who was visiting from out of town, on a one-day fishing excursion to Putah Creek. March is not the best time to hit the creek, but we didn’t have many options available to us. Fortunately Max took a long his new camera, which kept this young and aspiring photographer busy, while I re-rigged and retrieved flies out of trees. In case you’ve never fished Putah creek, it is a very “technical” body of water to fish, with lots of brush, finicky trout and fast water. After exploring different sections of the river in search of a good spot, we did finally find a run that looked promising and hooked up.
I must say that I have caught a lot of strange trout over the years, but this one was a first. My first impression was that this was a new species, or some kind of abomination. The nose of the trout was elongated and rectangular, it looked somewhat like the nose of a porpoise. Did I in fact catch a freak of nature or maybe even a new mutation of trout? After Max took a few pictures, I released the fish in awe, contemplating new names for this species, “The Cyrano de Bergerac trout, Bottle Nose trout, Porpoise Head ”
But I knew there had to be an explanation, so I posted the picture on Bono’s Putah Creek Web Forum. Apparently I had caught a “spawned-out male”. We all know that before they spawn, trout will go through a transformation. Besides changing color, the dominant males form a hooked jaw (aka kype). But what happens after the spawn? Well the jaw mutates back, and during that process the fish might go through some funny stages. So in the end I didn’t discover a new species, but I did learn something