Very difficult to say for sure though. Sorta seems like the kind of fish Isaac would conjure up in photoshop to mess with us!
I was worried that would come up, but rest assured, this is a real fish! If you ever make it back down this way, we can take you there.
Both the first and the third look incredibly stunning. In all seriousness, I'd be happy to buy one (or a half dozen) if you could ship to PA.
Myself and another nanfa member, who never posts here, will be returning to the pond tomorrow, and taking a lot more photos. We will let you know what we find. I'm assuming those were breeding colors, so it will be interesting to see what they look like mid winter.
First fish would best be evaluated based on age as determined by otoliths.
This specimen was preserved in formalin, and we might be able to convince our ageing lab to take a look.