Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rare Finds: The Fur Bearing Trout

If you have ever tried to swim some of the mountain streams and lakes of the Pacific Northwest, then you know and bleepin' cold the water can be. The animals of this ecosystem have all needed to adapt to these harsh conditions. Fish, given that they live in water all of their lives, need to be well prepared for the cold.

The Fur Bearing Trout is the best adapted of all trout species. While most fish grow scales, the Fur Bearing Trout, has a smooth mink-like pelt that grows up to an inch long, protecting it from the harsh cold temperatures of the snow melt of mountain streams. Unfortunately, they have become quite rare. French Canadian settlers caught many of these unique fish before they discovered that beaver were much more abundant and less intelligent and that they had a much prettier pelt. Beavers also typically don't smell like fish. Well, at least a good beaver should not smell like a fish...ahem.

The Mountain Streams of the Cascades still contain colonies; unlike other fish, they live a gopher like existence with a well established matriarch. When one is caught they usually mourn and go through a unique color change and their pelts turn white.
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