My last blog post had a picture of a mystery fish and I asked if you could identify it. Check out this link to see the picture and comments:
The pictured fish is a Splake. A Splake is a hybrid between a male Brook Char (Salvelinus fontinalis) and a female Lake Char or Mackinaw (Salvelinus namaycush). Brookies and Macks are both Char rather than Trout. Both are commonly referred to as Trout and are of the Salmonid family but are truely Char (Salvelinus). The easiest way to differentiate Char from Trout is Char have light spots on a dark background vs. Trout sport dark spots on a light background.
Splake are rarely created naturally. Most Splake are raised in a hatchery and are sterile which makes them a popular option for fisheries managers in that they cannot reproduce. Add that to the fact that they are known as a voracious minnow feeder and you commonly find Splake in fisheries with a rough fish or invasive fish problem. Managers often use Splake and other hybrids to help control populations of unwanted species. Sterile hybrids have a distinct advantage over non-sterile fish in that managers can cease stocking once the unwanted species are controlled and in a few years no longer have the hybrids in the fishery. This can then help native fish re-claim a once out of balance fishery.
Splake and other hybrids are relatively new as management tools and as a fringe benefit offer anglers a new species to investigate and catch.