Brown trout (Salmo)
Brown trout are long, narrow and moderately compressed. The color varies from an olive-green to a dark-brown back, silver-yellowish sides and yellow-whitish belly. The dorsal fin in front of the tail has a reddish hue. There are numerous red and dark brown spots scattered on the head, body and gill cover. The tail is slightly forked in young fish and square in older trout. Depending on the environment, their average weights range between 2.5 and 10 pounds, with an average length between 14 and 24 inches.
Brown trout are carnivorous, bottom feeders and prefer to eat at dusk or night. The young feed on aquatic insects. Food is carried to them by the river or stream current. From a small area, possibly only three yards long and one yard wide, they are able to obtain all the food they require.
As they grow in size their diet changes. Adult brown trout are voracious and eat food items such as worms, crustaceans, crayfish, mollusks, and salamanders. Some of the larger fish feed on the younger, smaller brown trout, frogs, birds, and mice, if available.
Brown trout, a native of Europe and western Asia, were first introduced to North America from Europe in 1883. As a result of successful stocking programs, they can now be found in rivers, lakes, and many reservoirs and streams throughout the United States. Sea-run populations of brown trout are also found in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
Brown trout tend to live in cool rivers and lakes with temperatures between 55 and 65 F. They hide in undercut banks, in stream debris, surface turbulence, and under rocks. Adults live in pools while the young tend to live in pools and rocky shoals or sandbars.
The meat of brown trout has a pinkish or yellowish color with an excellent flavor.
Most adults tend to stay in the same location in a river with very little movement to other stream areas. They can be found day after day, sometimes year after year in the same location.
The sea-run brown trout, often called seatrout, have a more silver coloration with spots that are less visible than the resident browns. They live in the fresh water for two to three years before traveling downstream top rivermouths and estuaries for one or two growing seasons. These brown trout will then only return to their previous freshwater habitat to spawn.
The Atlantic salmon are a subspecies of the brown trout.