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World of the Bizarre

Man catches weird 'furry' trout in Wisconsin

By T.K. Randall
May 8, 2015 · Comment icon 41 comments

The fish appeared to be covered in a coat of white fur. Image Credit: George Bower
One fisherman got more than he bargained for when he hooked a trout while fishing near Milwaukee.
It had been an otherwise unremarkable day out fishing along the Menomonee River when George Bower, who had been catching trout that were packed in to a bottleneck, reeled in one particularly bizarre specimen that appeared to be covered in white fur.

The catch seemed to match the local legend of the infamous 'fur-bearing trout', a fictional creature that was said to have developed a thick coat of fur all over its body to maintain heat.

The myth of this peculiar animal was particularly prevalent all the way up to the 1930s thanks to a spate of hoaxed specimens such as that produced by taxidermist Ross C. Jobe which turned out to be nothing more than a regular fish with a coat of rabbit fur attached to its body. (See here)

What exactly it is that Bower caught on his line in Wisconsin however remains unclear.
While it is obviously not the fabled fur-bearing trout from the legend, some believe that the fish he reeled in may have been suffering from what is thought to be an extreme case of cotton mold, a condition that can produce a white furry appearance.

Critics on the other hand argue that the amount of mold coverage is far too excessive to have occurred naturally and that the photograph is likely to be a hoax.

"I contacted a local wildlife official and they referred to it as a rare fur-bearing trout," Bower told us in an e-mail. "They went on to explain that this was an extreme case of Saprolegnia, or cotton mold."

"I doubt it will make Cabella's non-traditional mount wall but I'm still excited to reel in a genuine Wisconsin legend!"

Comments (41)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #32 Posted by KariW 9 years ago
That was my first thought when I saw the picture, but then the guy has 'come clean' about the fish having cotton mold so I gave him the benefit of the doubt kind of. It does look like a hoax but then the mold is supposed to be an extreme case. Even allowing it looks like the fish has been inserted into a furry sleeve. Still waters, that was my take on it too. It looked faked. I even wondered if the fish was feeding on some dead furry animal. Very strange....if true?
Comment icon #33 Posted by She-ra 9 years ago
The details of this story (along with the photograph) were submitted to the site directly via e-mail. Well personally, I love this. I'm glad I was able to learn something new today I have never heard of this before now. Whether it's a hoax or whether it's real I'm here to read and learn about unexplained mysteries and this certainly fits the bill Strange indeed.Thanks for sharing the submitted e-mail Saru.
Comment icon #34 Posted by Fred Tinkerton 9 years ago
"Furry Trout"? That's what I catch every time I don't scoop up the dogs' poop quickly enough.
Comment icon #35 Posted by blacktack 9 years ago
Check out the movie "Brotherhood of the Wolf"...a great French action flick that takes place in the 18th century i believe. There is a reference to the furry trout during a dinner scene and the main character brings out a mounted one to make a fool of the nobles he is dining with.
Comment icon #36 Posted by mfluder 9 years ago
Thanks Monsanto!
Comment icon #37 Posted by Blurfoot 9 years ago
'Furry trout' is the Duke of Edinburgh's term of endearment for his dear lady wife.
Comment icon #38 Posted by TripGun 9 years ago
Why not just hold it in typical fish posing mode with it on the line? Because he is holding that fur on.
Comment icon #39 Posted by Ralaman 9 years ago
So what? I saw a Mexican woman with more hair on her upper lip then on a wookies ass. A furry trout is nothing special.
Comment icon #40 Posted by Italktoomuch 8 years ago
It turns out that it's a hoax. According to Snopes, it's false. Here's the explanation as follows:
Comment icon #41 Posted by thenIsaid 8 years ago
LOL doesn't look like any white mold I've ever seen. The fish would have been long dead before the mold possibly reached such a point. The mold would have been on the head, eyes and tail (indeed it would probably have started around those areas). The fins aren't even visible so it couldn't swim. And lastly, looking at the eyes of that fish, it looks like it is probably pretty healthy. Even mild cases of white mold create a cloudy, sick looking eye.

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