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Stockings Boost Nebraska’s Tiger Trout Population

Tiger trout in White River
A pair of tiger trout swim on the rocky bottom of the White River near Crawford. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

A fish species that has been a rare catch in Nebraska is becoming more common thanks to the work of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Thousands of tiger trout, a hybrid of brown trout and brook trout, have been raised at the Rock Creek State Fish Hatchery near Parks, Nebraska, and are being stocked at locations throughout the state for the first time. The colorful species has characteristics of both brookies and browns and is easily identified by the worm-like scale pattern that covers its body. Most of the fish being stocked are 10-12 inches.

In years prior to the stockings, which began in January, Panhandle streams produced the occasional tiger trout — apparently the result of natural reproduction. The state record is a 13½-inch, 15-ounce tiger trout that was caught in the Hat Creek near Harrison in April 2015. Fish of the species will grow to be much larger than that, however. Wyoming’s tiger trout record, for instance, exceeds 11 pounds.

Following is a list of locations, with quantities, where tiger trout have been released:

Northwest – Bessey Fish Pond in Thomas County, 500; Blue Creek in Garden County, 1,500; White River in Sioux County, 750.

Southeast – Two Rivers State Recreation Area No. 5 in Douglas County, 500.

Southwest – Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area in Keith County, 10,298; Rock Creek Lake in Dundy County, 500.

The coming weeks will bring stockings of 400 tiger trout to the Alliance Golf Course Pond in Box Butte County and 600 to the Wood Reserve Ponds in Sioux County. About 100 tigers will be released at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area in Kearney County prior to the annual Outdoor Expo on May 7.

The north fork of the Dismal River in Hooker County will be added to the list later this year, as well as follow-up stockings at the listed locations.

A daily bag limit of five trout, of all species combined, is allowed at most locations throughout the state, with no more than one over 16 inches. At the Soldier Creek Wilderness Area and Wood Reserve Ponds, only two trout are allowed per day. Two Rivers State Recreation Area allows four fish per tag, with up to three tags available per day.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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