I wasn't trying to either; I am curious if there is a difference you can use to reliably discern stockers. A lot of people seem to base it on size, but that doesn't always guarantee anything, especially in DH where they stock a larger average size and include some bonus big ones. Now if you catch a brookie where they only stock rainbows, it is probably wild...
Very often stock fish have worn noses, tails and fins. Unless a stock fish has been in the river a good while they tend to be more silvery with less pronounced red on the side.
"Native" or wild Rainbows have a deeper green back and more visable red along the side. They also have vertical black oval bars along the side when they are smaller. I always look at the nose and fins first.
Brown trout wash out significantly in the hatchery. Brook tend to recover their color faster in the river than either Brown or Rainbow.
In my experience, You can also look at the tail fin, A stock trouts tail fin is rounded off by being in the concrete pools. "wild trout" or hold overs have sharp, crisp edges to their tail fins. I haven't devoted any time to fly fishing this season so far, been concentrating on Bow season in Lincoln county. My son-in-law and I did fish the Tuskegee DH, Sylva area the weekend prior to DH closing. bottom was slick as heck, water moving fast and water cloudy. I slipped and went down, it was hard to get back up. Luckly my waders didn't fill. couldn't get to where I wanted to be.
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