strange Trout Alpine lake area

This past summer I caught two trout that were only 5"-6" long but they had a color pattern I have not seen before. The trout themselves had a black backs and the sides were grey rather then silver like most trout. Otherwise the trout looked like small rainbow trout. The trout were caught up in the Alpine Lake area in a small lake with a very dark bottom and old rock slides around most of the lake. I feel that the trout because of the dark bottom and lack of fallen trees or other places to hide well in, have adapted in this way to hide better from predators like hawks from above. If some one else knows otherwise or something else about this strange but pretty type of trout I would love to hear from you on it. I wish I had a photo of the fish but it was burried in my back pack at the time and I did not want the fish to be out of the water to long before they were released.

Rob Blomquist

Formerly Tight Loops
If it was a bit smaller mouthed, with a tall dorsal, then it was likely to be a grayling. That is the only fish that I know of that describes like you say, but I would not call it a trout-like fish.

Maybe it was a Kokanee, but I would not consider them to be in small alpine lakes. I think that grayling could hold out however. Grayling are very rare in Washington, but they are only found in the mountain lakes, as they prefer more artic conditions than we have.

was it actually black, or very very dark green? what color were the spots? I'm tending to think brook trout, which is actually a char, an exotic species that is native to the eastern seaboard and the upper midwest. They can be grayish on their sides, and then very dark green on their backs in spawning colors, so maybe transitional one way or the other... Of course you may likely know what a brookie looks like and already ruled it out.

Bull Trout or Dolly Varden, both native char, can be kind of grey, and sometimes darkish on their backs, but with fairly gaudy spots of red and/or yellow.

Were its scales very fine like a trout, or a little rougher? If the scales were a little rougher and more distinct, it might have been some kind of whitefish, or I suppose even a grayling. I don't know if grayling are native to WA or not, but there are some in the Granite Lakes near Marblemount, so it's possible there's been at least a stocking history in high lakes. On the other hand, the very large dorsal on a grayling is pretty distinct; it would have been near impossible not to notice.
It was not a Greyling even though I have never caught one yet, you are right the large dorsal I would have noticed. Since seeing the Greyling on some of the fishing shows on Alaska I have always wanted to catch one. So I know what they look like. Maybe the next time I get up to Alaska I will get a chance. The side of the fish just below the back did have some green tint on it, but it was not like the Kokanee I have caught in Idaho. The ones I caught in Idaho still had silver scales, this fish had none. though it was close enough it may have been a diffrent strain of Kokanee. I know it was not a White Fish they are also easy to identify. I used to catch many small Brook Trout in high mountain streams and have seen some color diffrences in the smaller ones. So it may have been that, but it was not colored like one I had ever seen in rivers, but I have never caught one in a lake. Any one else out there ever fish the lower Alpine Lakes, If so what types of fish have you caught, that this might have been. This lake was up trail 1007.
I would ask a couple of questions here.

Did the fish have spots? And if so, were the spots light/colored (like a brook trout), or were they dark (like a cutthroat/rainbow)?

I am aware of a few places that have Sunapee trout, which is actually a char (similar to a brook trout). I have also heard of a few instances where lake trout were introduced into the Alpine Lakes. Sightings of these fish are rare, but not impossible.


After reading these post about strange looking trout it made me think about the fish that I saw on Pilchuck Creek two years ago. I was fly fishing from the bridge at Bryant down. These fish that I saw were in schools in the shallows. They were about 5 to 6 inches long,but what was strange was their markings. They had red and white stripes down their sides. And every time I tried to get close they would scatter. But when I moved off they would head back into the shallows. I was told that eels spawn in that creek,but these looked like trout. The depth of the water that they were in was only 1 inch deep. It was almost like they were trying to beach them selves. Jim S. :HMMM


Active Member
Hey Jim,

I'll put my money on spawning red-sided suckers as the fish you saw in Pilchuck Cr. I used to see them in Rock Cr. (Klickitat County) and from the bank just a few feet away in gin clear water they were extremely tough to tell from the native trout and steelhead. It wasn't until we caught one (after hours of casting to them thinking they were trout/steelhead) that we identified it. I have since seen them in the Stilly, Sky, Snoqualmie and some SW Washington streams. I'm pretty sure they're native to the rivers unlike squawfish and carp.

I do not remember noticing any spots on the body of the fish at all. I did not take a long time looking at the fish because I want the fish I release to survive, and when they are that small the are very frail. So I might not have gotten a chance to notice the spots if they did not stand out. In other words if they are a dark color like the fish were. Seems like from some of the other post I have read here, many others have caught fish that seemed diffrent in one way or another. Keeps things intresting for us all, to always have a chance to catch something that we our selfs have not caught before. :BIGSMILE