‘Ugly fish’ caught in Vermont pond sparks debate. “As if it came out of an acid bath”

A strange-looking fish pulled from a frozen pond in Vermont has sparked an online debate about what makes it so “ugly”.

It is assumed to be a chain pickerel, which is usually green and covered in “dark chain-like patterns”.

But this one looks more like a lab experiment: cream-colored, with gray flecks and a weird yellow racing stripe down one side.

“Check out this weird chain pickerel,” online angler group Vermont Fishing wrote on Facebook on Feb. 2.

“Has anyone ever seen or caught anything like this?” Is it a partial albino? A piebald fish? While it almost looks like a fish lying in a cooler in direct contact with the ice for a few hours, the fisherman assures us that it went through the hole exactly as you see it.

Student Caden Hurley and his ice fishing buddies Dylan Partlow and Ryan Vassuer caught the fish Jan. 28 on Sabin Pond in Woodbury.

Hurley said they were definitely caught off guard by what came off the ice.

“We saw the flag and ran out,” Hurley told McClatchy News. “When we released it, we knew the species, (but)… I said ‘Dude look at this thing.’ I guess 22-24 (inches) and 3 lbs. We took our fair share of photos and posted them.

Hurley did not weigh in on the online debate.

Vermont Fishing asked its 7,100 Facebook followers if they’ve caught anything like this, and the responses suggest it’s rare.

Many guessed that the fish was either a hybrid or a mutant born from water contamination.

Still others suggested it was something other than a pike.

This is what a chain pickerel looks like.

“An ugly fish,” wrote Sterling Pelsue. “Looks like he came out of an acid bath.”

“I think it’s super cool. I know it’s a major mutation but I think it looks great,” said Carly Buswell.

“I would have kept it and put it on the wall,” Reva Bartlett said.

Hurley, a civil engineering student at Norwich University, doesn’t think it has anything to do with water quality. They caught a handful of pike earlier in the day and they were all normal, he said.

Still, he appreciates the interest in fishing that the debate has generated.

“I didn’t realize it would get so much attention, but it’s great to see so many people taking an interest in it, and a pretty cool memory for me and the boys,” he said.

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