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(Salvelinus namaycush)

Trout is the common name for a number of species of freshwater fish belonging to the genera Oncorhynchus, Salmo and Salvelinus, all of the subfamily Salmoninae of the family Salmonidae. The word trout is also used as part of the name of some non-salmonid fish such as Cynoscion nebulosus, the spotted seatrout or speckled trout.

Trout are closely related to salmon and char (or charr): species termed salmon and char occur in the same genera as do trout (Oncorhynchus - Pacific salmon and trout, Salmo - Atlantic salmon and various trout, Salvelinus - char and trout).

Most trout such as lake trout live in freshwater lakes and/or rivers exclusively, while there are others such as the rainbow trout which may either live out their lives in fresh water, or spend two or three years at sea before returning to fresh water to spawn, a habit more typical of salmon. A rainbow trout that spends time in the ocean is called a steelhead.

Brook Trout   Brown Trout   Cutthroat Trout   Lake Trout   Rainbow Trout

Brook Trout


Brook trout are members of the char subgroup of the salmon family (Salmonidae) which also includes the Arctic char, bull trout, Dolly Varden and lake trout. Char are distinguished from other trout and salmon species by the absence of teeth in the roof of the mouth, the presence of light colored spots on a dark colored body, their smaller scales, and differences in skeletal structure.

Also known by the vernacular names "native trout" or "natives", "brookie", speckled trout, and brook char, the species name fontinalis means "living in springs". Brook trout have cooler water temperature requirements than the non-native brown and rainbow trouts.


Adult brook trout in typical headwater stream habitats typically range from 6 to 13 inches in total length with exceptional individuals in large stream habitats approaching 16 inches. Brook trout tend to grow larger in larger bodies of water.


As a rule, char are visually distinguishable from other trout having dark base coloration with a pale pattern of spots. In contrast, the true trout have light base coloration with a pattern of dark spots. Breeding male brook trout are medium to dark olive from dorsum to mid-side with a pale yellow-olive or yellow vermiculate pattern. Their sides contain scattered small red spots, haloed with pale blue. Coloration transitions from olive-yellow to orange to orange-red bordered by black along the lower sides. Undersides including lower jaw are milky-white. The dorsal fin is typically pale olive-yellow with black bars. Lower fins including the pectoral, pelvic and anal have milky white margins, paralleled just above by a black streak and are otherwise orange-red. Nonbreeding adults are similar except that the pale pattern has less contrast, red spots are pale or unapparent and the orange or red lower sides are pale to absent.

Wild brook trout populations are typically associated with moderate gradient, rocky mountain stream habitats that have permanent cool or coldwater spring sources. Brook trout populations are generally most successful in perennial streams with water temperatures less than 20°C. Hatchlings suffer high mortality rates in waters with sustained temperatures of 20°C and above and adults can tolerate temperatures up to about 25°C. Closed canopy forest cover is a key common denominator for the persistent long-term success of most brook trout populations within stream habitats.

Brook trout are considered native from the Hudson Bay basin and northeastern Canada, much of the Great Lakes basin, a small portion of the upper Mississippi drainage, Atlantic coastal areas from Maine to New Jersey and interiorly along the Appalachian chain as far south as northern Georgia. Brook trout have become widely established via introduction throughout North America and elsewhere, with the exception of Australia and Antarctica.

Brook trout are primarily crepuscular being most active near dawn and dusk. During mid day hours, brook trout are more likely to retreat to deeper waters or shaded areas if available as they seem to prefer more overhead security during daylight hours. Behaviorally, brook trout are aggressive predators but are cautious and easily spooked.

The only apparent limitation in the diet of brook trout is likely the size of their intended prey. Their diet includes nearly any aquatic or terrestrial invertebrate or vertebrate of suitable size that either occurs naturally in the stream or happens to fall in. In general, for the majority of brook trout's diet is composed of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, primarialy insects. That being said brook trout will also consume fish and other vertebrates. One of the most noteworthy prey items extracted from a brook trout captured within the park was a sub-adult five-lined skink.

Brown Trout



Brown trout are members of the Atlantic trout and salmon subgroup of the salmon family (Salmonidae) which also includes the Sevan trout, Ohrid trout, Adriatic trout, flathead trout and Atlantic salmon. Of these, only the Atlantic salmon is native to North America, the remaining species, including brown trout are Eurasian species.

Considered the most valuable exotic fish introduced to North America, the brown trout is known by few other names, the most commonly used being the "German" brown, a reference to the dominant brood stock propagated in North America. The name trutta is Latin for trout. Brown trout have higher tolerance for warmer waters than either brook or rainbow trout.


Individual fish typically range from 7 to 14 inches in total length with exceptional individuals approaching 20 inches.

Brown trout occupy a range of aquatic systems and habitats from coldwater mountain streams to larger rivers, ponds and lakes.
The larger brown trout occupy large dam outflow habitats and large reservoirs where waters are cooler.


Brown trout are tawny to olive brown dorsally to mid side, often with a brassy appearance. Sides grade from tan to yellow. Their back and sides are marked with olive brown to black spots. Their sides also marked with orange to red spots, some haloed with white to pale blue. Their undersides, including the lower jaw, are white to pearl. The dorsal fin is typically yellow-olive, marked with brown to black spots. Lower fins including the pectoral, pelvic and anal have white margins, paralleled just above by a dark zone and are otherwise yellow-olive to amber, sometimes yellow orange. Breeding males develop a long, hooked jaw and tend to brighten in overall coloration.


In heavily fished waters, brown trout may become increasingly wary and nocturnal and very selective in which food items they will and will not respond to.


Due to a combination of size and diet, brown trout often displace native brook trout where the two species overlap. They tend to dominate the best available habitat by either forcing brook trout from preferred habitat and, to an extent, by preying directly upon brook trout.


Brown trout feeding strategies and diet differ with respect to their size. Generally, brown trout less than 12 inches feed primarily on insects drifting freely within stream currents. Above 12 inches, brown trout diets shift to larger prey items including crayfish and other fish, including other trout. Other occasional prey items include mollusks, salamanders, frogs and small mammals.

Cutthroat Trout

AKA: Blue-back trout, Cutthroat, Red-throated trout, Clarks' trout,  Short-tailed trout, Native trout, Lake trout, Mountain trout


The cutthroat trout is native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean, Rocky Mountains, and Great Basin in North America. It is one of the Pacific trout, a group that includes the widely distributed rainbow trout. Cutthroat trout are popular gamefish, especially among anglers who enjoy fly fishing. The common name "cutthroat" refers to the distinctive red coloration on the underside of the lower jaw. The specific name clarkii was given to honor explorer William Clark, coleader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Several subspecies of cutthroat trout are currently listed as threatened in their native ranges due to habitat loss and the introduction of non-native species. . Cutthroat trout are raised in hatcheries to restore populations in their native range, as well as stock non-native lake environments to support angling.

Throughout their native and introduced ranges, cutthroat trout vary widely in size, coloration and habitat selection. Their coloration can range from golden to gray to green on the back. Cutthroat trout can generally be distinguished from rainbow trout by the presence of basibranchial teeth at the base of tongue and a maxillary that extends beyond the posterior edge of the eye. Depending on subspecies, strain and habitat, most have distinctive red, pink, or orange linear marks along the underside of their mandibles in the lower folds of the gill plates. These markings are responsible for the common name "cutthroat", first given to the trout by outdoor writer Charles Hallock in an 1884 article in The American Angler. These markings are not unique to the species, some coastal rainbow trout and Columbia River redband trout populations also display reddish or pink throat markings.

At maturity, different populations and subspecies of cutthroat trout can range from 6 to 40 inches in length, depending on habitat and food availability. Sea-run forms of coastal cutthroat trout average 2 to 5 pounds. The length and weights of mature inland forms vary widely depending on their particular environment and availability of food. Stream-resident fish are much smaller, 0.4 to 3.2 ounces, while lacustrine populations have attained weights ranging from 12 to 17 lb in ideal conditions. The largest cutthroat trout subspecies is the Lahontan cutthroat trout. These fish average 8 to 9" in small streams and 8 to 22" in larger rivers and lakes. In ideal environments, the Lahontan cutthroat trout attains typical weights of 0.25 to 8 lb. The world record cutthroat trout is a Lahontan at 39 in and 41 lb.

Lake Trout

Lake trout is a freshwater char living mainly in lakes in northern North America. Other names for it include mackinaw, lake char (or charr), touladi, togue, and grey trout. In Lake Superior, it can also be variously known as siscowet, paperbelly and lean.

The lake trout is prized both as a game fish and as a food fish.

Lake trout are the largest of the chars; the record weighed almost 46.3 kilograms (102 lb) (netted) with a length of 50 inches, and 15 to 40-pound fish are not uncommon. The average length is 24–36 inches. The largest caught on a rod and reel according to the IGFA was 72 pounds, caught in Great Bear Lake in 1995 with a length of 59 inches.

When hooked, especially the big ones will make a short run and just thump and twist and turn.

From a zoogeographical perspective, lake trout are quite rare. They are native only to the northern parts of North America, principally Canada, but also Alaska and, to some extent, the northeastern United States. Lake trout have been widely introduced into non-native waters in North America and into many other parts of the world, mainly Europe, but also into South America and certain parts of Asia. Although lake trout were introduced into Yellowstone National Park's Shoshone, Lewis and Heart lakes legally in the 1890s, they were illegally or accidentally introduced into Yellowstone lake in the 1980s where they are now considered invasive.

Rainbow Trout

The rainbow trout is native only to the rivers and lakes of North America, west of the Rocky Mountains, but its value as a hard-fighting game fish and tasty meal has led to its introduction throughout the world.

Rainbow trout, also called redband trout, are gorgeous fish, with coloring and patterns that vary widely depending on habitat, age, and spawning condition. They are torpedo-shaped and generally blue-green or yellow-green in color with a pink streak along their sides, white underbelly, and small black spots on their back and fins.

They are members of the salmon family and, like their salmon cousins, can grow quite large. They average about 20 to 30 inches long and around 8 pounds, but can grow as long as 4 feet and weigh up to 53 pounds.

They prefer cool, clear rivers, streams, and lakes, though some will leave their freshwater homes and follow a river out to the sea. These migratory adults, called steelheads because they acquire more silvery markings, will spend several years in the ocean, but must return to the stream of their birth to spawn.

Rainbow trout survive on insects, crustaceans, and small fish. Their populations are healthy worldwide and they have no special status or protections. However, they are now considered a non-native pest species in some areas where they have been introduced.




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