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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Geneticists Hatch ‘Brownbow’ Trout

Orange County Register

A new yet-to-be-named fish is coming to a few selected lakes this spring, thanks to the Mount Lassen Trout Farm in Northern California.

“We have successfully hybridized a rainbow trout with a German brown trout,” said Phil Mackey, hatchery spokesman. “This has never been done, to our knowledge, outside of a laboratory.”

Geneticists at the University of Washington first discovered it could be done.

Some insiders have dubbed the fish the “brownbow.”

“This is probably one of the most exciting things to come out of our research center in several years from a recreational standpoint,” Mackey said.

The fish is expected to make its world debut at Irvine Lake in Southern California. The trout will be dotted from top to bottom and figures to be aggressive like a rainbow and wary like a brown.

Previously, the Mount Lassen Trout Research Center introduced triploid rainbow trout to Irvine and Santa Ana River lakes.

Essentially, these are trout - a.k.a. superfish - that are bred a certain way that forces them to bypass the spawning cycle and feed year-round. Consequently, they grow twice as fast as regular hatchery trout.

The new brownbows also bypass the spawning cycle, a reason they might become better stockers than the German browns.

Brown trout are notoriously difficult to raise because they stop feeding a month before they spawn.

This lack of nutrition leaves them susceptible to disease and usually results in a furry coat of fungus forming on their skin.

“Getting a brown beyond two years of age is really difficult,” Mackey said. “We’re sure we can do that with this fish.”