Salmo trutta
Brown Trout

Brown Trout

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The natural history of the northwoods



  • Salmo, from the Latin, salio, "to leap"
  • trutta, from the Latin "trout"
  • Common name from its general, background coloration
  • Other common names include: Brownie, English Brown Trout, European Brown Trout, German Brown Trout, German Trout, Lochleven Trout, Von Behr Trout, truite, breac, gealag, truite brune, truite d'Europe, Öring (Swe)


  • Kingdom Animalia
    • Phylum Chordata,
    • Subphylum Vertebrata,
      • Superclass Osteichthyes, bony fishes
      • Class Actinopterygii, ray-finned and spiny rayed fishes
      • Subclass Neopterygii
      • Infraclass Teleostei
        • Superorder Protacanthopterygii
        • Order Salmoniformes, salmon and trout
          • Family Salmonidae, salmon and trout
            • Genus Salmo, Atlantic salmon


  • The wild trout of Europe, imported to North America
  • Length averages about 16"
  • Weight typically only a couple of pounds
  • Coloration
    • in streams a light brown with silvery sides and pronounced black spots on the back. Usually no spots on tail.
    • in large lakes or in the sea the overall coloration is silvery.
  • Body
    • anal fin of 12 rays or less
  • Head
    • inside of mouth is white
  • Lifespan
    • live for five to six years
    • first spawn in late autumn of their third year



  • Native to Europe; now found in New Zealand, Asia, South America, and the US.
  • In the US found from coast to coast, and as far south as New Mexico, Arkansas, and Georgia.


  • Found in both streams and lakes.


  • Carnivorous, feeding on insects, crustaceans (especially crayfish), molluscs, salamanders, frogs, and rodents.
  • Generally feeding on the bottom, emerging to the surface at night.


  • Native to Europe and western Asia, the Brown Trout was introduced into North America in 1883.
  • World Record: 40 lbs, 4 oz., from Little Red River in Herber Springs, Arkansas, on May 9, 1992 by Howard L. Collins.
  • Minnesota Record: 16 lbs, 12 oz, from Lake Superior (St. Louis County)



  • Spawns late autumn to early winter in shallow, gravelly waters. The female digs the redd (nest) where she lays about 2000 eggs. After the eggs are fertilized, the female covers them with fine gravel. The young hatch the following spring.



Boreal border

Last updated on 15 October 1999