Jay Kirchner of Coeur d’Alene was fly fishing on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River last weekend when he hooked a scrappy cutthroat trout.
“It hit an Elk Hair Caddis on the surface,” he said. “There was nothing odd about the strike or the fight except that when I could see it during the fight it looked odd.
“It wasn’t until I got it in the net that I saw the fish had two mouths,” said the public information officer for the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.
“I laid it out on the shore for a quick picture, then set it loose again. The cutthroat happily swam off.”
The Spokesman-Review forwarded the photo to fisheries biologists for their opinion, since it wasn’t clear whether the lower mouth is a natural deformity or whether it’s the healed result of suffering hooking damage as a younger fish.
The lower jaw flap resembles the plastic lip that causes a diving lure to dive with the force of water.
“Very rarely, we’ve documented two-headed fish in hatcheries. This case looks like damage due to hooking disfiguration,” said Joe DuPont, the agency’s Clearwater Region fisheries manager, formerly the field biologist who conducted definitive studies of Coeur d’Alene River cutthroats.
“I’ve seen this before, but never to that degree.
Chip Corsi, Panhandle Region manager and fisheries biologist said he’s seen this type of hooking deformity during his surveys.
“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.”
Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.
You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.comments powered by Disqus
Most recent column
The 2000 Idaho Legislature declared huckleberries the state fruit. But like potatoes, Washington has its share of the delicious purple berries prized for pies, pancakes, muffins, ice cream, jam, wine and just about anything else that needs a touch of tart sweetness. The huckleberry season …
Recent blog posts
HABITAT – The public is invited learn how small-farm forestry can benefit wildlife and the environment at a multi-generational tree farm at an Aug. 9 event near Colville. Visitors also ...
HUNTING -- The Hunting Film Tour is coming to Spokane on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at the Bing Crosby Theater. The collection of nine high-quality hunting films has been edited into ...