Golden Trout of Mount Whitney

Piscifun fly fishing reels

Golden Trout of Mount Whitney Salmo agua-bonita (Jordan)


The most beautiful of all our many beautiful western trout is the famous golden trout of Mount Whitney. It is an inhabi- tant of small mountain streams on the western slopes of Mount Whitney, tributary to Kern River. It is locally abundant in Volcano Creek and the South Fork of Kern River. It has also been introduced into streams about Owen Lake, on the east slopes of the Sierras, which were formerly without trout. The golden trout has been derived apparently from the Kern River trout. It is a small trout, reaching a length of only a few inches, and is remarkable for its unexcelled gameness and its unsurpassed beauty.

Head 3 3/4; depth 4 1/3; eye 4 2/3; snout 4 1/2; maxillary 1 4/5; D. 12; A. 10; scales 160 to 180, 123 pores; pectoral 1 4/7; ventral 2; caudal 1 2/5; gillrakers not very short, 10+11. Head rather long, bluntish at tip; mouth moderate, the maxillary extending a little beyond the eye; hyoid teeth not evident - opercle moderate; post orbital bone very small; scales very small, round, not imbricated; fins moderate; anal high; caudal moderately emarginate. Colour, olive above; sides and belly light golden, always showing the parr marks of immature trout; middle of side along lateral line with a deep scarlet lateral stripe, broadest under the dorsal, where it is about as wide as the eye, thence narrowing to either end and not reaching either the head or the caudal fin; middle line of belly with a broad scarlet band, extending from chin to anal fin and equally bright all the way; a fainter shade along lower part of side from anal fin to tip of caudal; no crimson dash on throat, the whole region uniform bright orange; opercles largely orange; dark spots chiefly posterior, large and well marked, some on tail and posterior part of body as large as the pupil, smaller but well marked on the dorsal fin; a few small spots scattered along anterior part of body in some examples, none in front of adipose fin in others; upper anterior angle of dorsal abruptly yellowish-white, this colour edged by a dark oblique streak made by coalescent spots, the rest of the fin light olive with 4 or 5 rows of small black spots; pectorals largely orange; ventrals deep orange, with faint blackish tips, the anterior edge of the fin conspicuously and abruptly whitish, as in the eastern brook trout; anal dusky orange, the tips of the last rays blackish, the outer anterior corner abruptly white, the white stripe wider than the pupil and separated from the body colour of the fin by a dusky shade; caudal olive, tinged with orange on its lower edge, and profusely spotted with black; inside of mouth pink, the gill-cavity light orange.

From American Game and Food Fishes. Jordan and Evermann, 1902.