Okay, let’s see if I can create a good, old fashioned ruckus. Take a look at the photo below.

I caught this trout a while back swinging a leech fly in one of my favorite rivers. I’ll tell you three other things about it.

1. I hooked the fish in New Jersey, but won’t disclose any further info as to where.

2. The trout, as is classic with larger browns, was holed up tight to a log jam in slower water and refused the offering on my first two bad casts.

3. This is a stocked trout, although how long ago it went in, I’m not sure.

What I’m driving at is the age old question of do stocked fish count? Here was a specimen that exhibited behavior typical of wild browns elsewhere, but it was born in a hatchery. I worked hard for it, as it was late in the season and the trout had slowed down. So maybe the real question is, when do stockers become legitimate targets? As soon as they hit the water? After they acclimate and have been holding over for a while? Never? How about this: Would you pay to have this fish mounted? Let’s talk about it. I’m curious to hear some opinions.