Many of the rainbow trout and landlocked salmon found in Lake Coleridge can look very similar. All three of the fish in this bin (top picture) are rainbow trout. (Click on the pictures to enlarge). Pictures 1 and 3 are rainbow trout. In picture 2 the fish are landlocked salmon. All the fish were entered in the Lake Coleridge Fish & Game Fishing Competition on Opening Day 2011.
According to Hamish Stevens of South Island Fish & Game, “To the untrained eye some rainbow trout can appear like chinook salmon particularly when they are small. This is not surprising given how closely related the two species are however the shape of the anal fin is a dead giveaway. Often the confusion is when a mature rainbow is caught that displays dark colors alongside a very silver maiden rainbow like the photo of rainbows you have attached. Anglers see a noticeable difference between the two and wrongly assume they are a different species.”
Thanks for that Mike. I know in the past I’ve looked at a fish sometimes and been quite sure it was a rainbow, a brown, or a landlocked salmon, without really knowing why I was sure I had it right. If that makes any sense! The anal fin checking method, shown by Hamish Stevens, is a good quick way to be certain. Some of the maiden rainbows in Lake Coleridge can look just like silver coloured landlocked salmon at times. I agree with you about looking forward to Coleridge Opening Day. It gets in your blood after a few years!