Outdoors

Biologists react to photo of two-mouth trout

Cutthroat trout with two mouths caught in the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River on Aug. 20, 2011. (Jason Kirchner)
Cutthroat trout with two mouths caught in the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River on Aug. 20, 2011. (Jason Kirchner)

FLY FISHING — I posted the explanation for this photo of a two-mouth cutthroat trout caught Saturday by fly fisher Jay Kirchner in my blog earlier in the week.

Here's the reaction from two North Idaho fisheries biologists, indicating the rarity of the catch — and release.

“Never heard of such a thing!”

Jim Fredericks, IFG Panhandle Region fishery manager

“That looks like damage due to hooking disfiguration. I've seen this before, but never to that degree.

“Very rarely, we've documented two headed fish in hatcheries, but those fish look considerably different than that cutthroat trout.”

Joe DuPont, IFG Clearwater Region fisheries manager, formerly the field biologist who conducted definitive studies of Coeur d'Alene River cutthroats.

“I have seen fish like this while doing electrofishing surveys, in several rivers. In most cases I believe the deformity is due to a severe hooking injury, but there are other possible explanations (pretty sure in most cases it's the result of an injury and not a genetic deformity). It's not really a second mouth, but the separation of the tissue that connects the jaw with the gular (tongue) structure. Remarkably, these fish are often healed up and in pretty good condition in many cases.”

Chip Corsi, IFG Panhandle Region manager and fisheries biologist. 




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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