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Lightning Trout - Santa Ana River Lakes

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Just lately I was invited to Santa Ana River Lakes to evaluate and view a newly developed trout from Mt. Lasson Trout Farm. I'm not sure whether "developed" is the proper term to explain how this fish evolved. Mother Nature can really do some strange things if you know how to manipulate her. The boys at Mt. Lasson sure know how. They have developed a genetically altered trout that blows your mind. Genetic alteration is not new. Geneticists have been responsible for the creation of the "triploid trout". This fish can grow quickly to large size while existing in small cramped places. This makes it highly desirable and economically sound for commercial exploitation. These rainbows are the ones you see in the fish markets year round.
A geneticist is responsible for the alteration of the tilapia (African perch) He found an albino like tilapia swimming around with hundreds of normally colored , dark almost black brothers and sisters. He isolated it until he found another pale individual of different sexual gender and then mated them( and others to make a long story short). After developing many generations of tilapia they now have created a brand new strain of pale fish that because of the coloration, sell much better in the commercial market.

At Mt. Lasson, a hatchery worker discovered a male rainbow trout with vertical stripes and a golden appearance. Apparently, according to the scientists, a recessive gene became dominant in this individual and produced the golden hue. They bred the male with hundreds of normal female rainbows hoping that one or more of the females also possessed the same recessive gene for the golden appearance. They got lucky and found a few of theses females with the gene. Approximately 25 percent of their total offspring showed the golden coloration of the new trout. They were separated and selectively bred with one to the other.
After several generations of selective breeding all of the offsprings are 100 percent golden in color. Mt Lasson is calling them "Lightning Golden Trout."

It's difficult trying to describe in words their strange coloration. The gold radiation shimmers so much it's like looking at an out-of-focus photograph. When you touch them you can almost feel the radiation in your fingertips. They are bulkier than normal rainbows and they have a distinctive red slash flushing from their gill cover and traveling about 1/2 inch wide, down their lateral line.
I was lucky and got to throw a mini-jig into a holding pond of about 300 fish... all 300 tried to get it at once. They are very strong lunging type fighters. They remind me of the last black sea bass I caught. ( about 20 lbs). We filleted 6 fish and found the filets to be red salmon colored and delicious fried up in Italian Bread Crumbs.

Santa Ana River Lakes will be planting 2000 lightning trout February 11th. Go catch one of these creatures. If they swim by you certainly can't miss them. They actually light up the area. By the way, a yellow and white mini-jig is close to guaranteed in that lake.

Santa Ana River Lakes:
Off the 91 freeway to north on Tustin to right on La Palma Phone 714 632-7830

Added: Fri Oct 10 2008

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