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California Golden Trout
Post 19 May 2022, 07:38 • #1 
Sport
Joined: 06/15/20
Posts: 71
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA.
Back in the early 2000s, I had already advanced beyond a newbie fly fisher, but I hadn't really given much thought to fish and their native habitat. I was living out west at the time, and was camping in Sequoia National Park. I had my fly rod along, and came across a nice littler creek and got into some pretty trout. Looking back I hadn't paid much attention to what kind of trout they were, but just enjoyed catching them. Am I correct at identifying them as California Golden Trout?




I know there are several different subspecies. Any help in identifying these would be greatly appreciated.


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Post 19 May 2022, 08:36 • #2 
Master Guide
Joined: 06/07/12
Posts: 698
Location: US-CA
It depends on where you were in the park. Probably the most definitive resource is the California HeritageTrout Challenge guide published by the DFW:

https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=137391

Your fish looks like the Little Kern Golden shown on page 85. But… I have caught small rainbows with that color pattern too. Check the ranges against where you caught it and let us know!


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Post 19 May 2022, 08:43 • #3 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/22/16
Posts: 1423
Location: SJC
Maybe. One thing that muddies the water is that many, if not most "golden trout" in CA lakes and streams outside their native range in the southern Sierra are actually rainbow-golden hybrids. The breedstock in the Cottonwood Lakes were used to plant many other waters, and at some point during the were found to have been contaminated by rainbows. There is more info at the following page -

https://flyfishingthesierra.com/cottonwood_gtcreek.htm

Still, that is a pretty fish, whatever it is.


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Post 19 May 2022, 09:29 • #4 
Sport
Joined: 10/30/18
Posts: 75
Location: Gateway to Death Valley
Those look to be young rainbow trout with par marks.

Golden trout have yellow (golden) bellies and a distinct orange lateral stripe even when young with par marks.

Image


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Post 19 May 2022, 11:22 • #5 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 10/09/09
Posts: 2640
Location: US-NM
Very nice.........Aurelio


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Post 19 May 2022, 11:34 • #6 
Sport
Joined: 07/22/20
Posts: 66
Location: US-CA
I love fishing up in Sequoia National Park. My understanding (and I'm no expert), is many of these are Rainbow-Golden hybrids. Have you been up there recently, and if so, how are the water levels?


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Post 19 May 2022, 12:22 • #7 
Sport
Joined: 06/15/20
Posts: 71
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA.
Thanks Motosacto and Odanata for those good resources. That pdf booklet is especially nice. But after looking into it a bit, I believe Spec is probably right. It doesn't seem like a golden, rather more of a rainbow or hybrid as BrianN noted. BrianN, no I haven't been up there recently. I no longer live out west, and those pictures I posted are 15 years old by now. I was just looking back at old photos and wishing that perhaps I actually did catch a California Golden trout.


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Post 19 May 2022, 16:06 • #8 
Sport
Joined: 07/22/20
Posts: 66
Location: US-CA
I was up there last year in late summer, water levels were pretty low but the trout were holding on. They absolutely loved small hopper patterns thrown about an hour before sunset. I watched 2-3 trout actually fight over the hopper. They weren't as excited about foam hoppers, but loved the more natural patterns like the Shroeder's or Dave's hoppers. The drought is supposed to be fairly severe this year, hope the trout hang on.


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Post 19 May 2022, 22:54 • #9 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 2383
Location: US-CO
There are some Kern River Golden Trout that look like and can interbreed with rainbows. The Volcano Creek Golden Trout is the real beauty of the lot. I think they are the prettiest fish in North America. With a bit of a hike they can easily be caught in the Golden Trout Wilderness where I took this picture.



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Post 20 May 2022, 07:48 • #10 
Global Moderator
Joined: 04/20/07
Posts: 8461
Location: US-ME
Best bet is to inquire of the state's regional fishery personnel. The fisheries staff for that area will either know or want to know. Give the specific where and when. Quite likely they have a population inventory, including patterns of migrating fish, for that watershed, and you will learn a lot by asking. The state's website is a good starter, but the right regional staff member can often tell you about each pool in a brook. https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Fi ... lden-Trout


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Post 21 May 2022, 00:20 • #11 
Guide
Joined: 09/03/20
Posts: 118
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Golden Trout… I want to catch the fish someday…


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