Man Catches Rare Furry Trout in Wisconsin

Think the legendary fur-bearing trout is a hoax? Well a fisherman in Wisconsin claims to have actually caught one.
Man catches rare fur-bearing trout in Wisconsin river
Fur-bearing trout. Photo credit: George Weber

In the Great Lakes, according to legend, trout grew coats of fur to stay warm in the cold depths. In the Colorado River, folklore says it was because of hair tonic being dumped in the water. In Iceland, they are a scourge sent to punish humankind for their wicked ways.

As fantastic as it sounds, the mythical fur-bearing trout may not be as closely related to the jackalope as we think. Maybe this furry abomination isn’t as much of a hoax as we think. Last week a fisherman in Wisconsin claimed to have actually caught one, but, he claims, it’s not actually fur covering the fish.

He posted his story to a local news outlet:

Wanted to share a rather remarkable catch I had this afternoon. I was fishing the Menomonee River where some trout were packed into a bottleneck. I caught a few and nothing was out of the ordinary until I reeled this one in. I have never seen anything like it. I contacted a local wildlife official and they referred to it as a rare fur-beating trout. They went on to explain that this was an extreme case of Saprolegnia, or cotton mold. Apparently old Great Lakes legends spoke of these as a uniquely evolved trout species that existed only in the deepest, coldest parts of the lakes and needed the fur to stay warm.

A friend of mine has a saying:

“In Wisconsin we have nine months of winter and three months of crappy sledding.”

While it does seem likely that every living creature in Wisconsin will eventually evolve thick coats of fur to stay warm, this cuddly-looking trout is not growing hair. It may actually be cellular necrosis. Not so cute, right?

But it would still look great on the wall.

Vintage fur-bearing trout postcard
Vintage postcard of a fur-bearing trout taxidermy mount

Hoax or not, anyone who spends enough time on the lakes here in Wisconsin is sure to have a story or two about something strange they spotted in the water. What do you think? Is the legend of the fur-bearing trout grounded in real, albeit unpleasant, scientific fact?

Share your view in the comments below.

14 replies
  1. Avatar
    Danny de Mooy says:

    Whahaha even wikki saids its a hoax….you really believe that shit, its rabbit hair. and if you believe this is still real, then i advise you to go and see a dockter right away

  2. Avatar
    mindsurfer1 says:

    I’ve caught several fuzzy tuna but this is the first I have heard or seen of these. Looks like one of my gym socks when the cat gets it. Without that ugly mug, of course.

  3. Avatar
    Heather Cheng says:

    It’s not a hoax, but your reality is. This is a type of virus or disease, you have NOT travelled outside of your four squares.

  4. Avatar
    G M Bolen says:

    I’ve seen things that had fur on them and smelled a bit like a fish but I have not actually seen one of these.


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