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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Overhead River Habitat (River Scout)

Range / Habitat

  • Brown trout is native to the northwestern coast of Europe and parts of Asia, but has been introduced widely elsewhere in the world.
  • The species is found in streams, ponds, rivers and lakes. Some individuals move between salt and fresh water. Those living in the sea remain close to shore and do not move far from their natal river.
  • Prefers cold, well-oxygenated upland waters and favors large streams in the mountainous areas with adequate cover in the form of submerged rocks, undercut banks, and overhanging vegetation.
  • Lake populations undertake migration to tributaries and lake outlets to spawn.
  • Most individuals spawn in rivers and streams with swift current, usually characterized by downward movement of water into gravel substrate.

Physical Characteristics

  • Brown trout has a fusiform body and its head is small and pointed. It has a large mouth that extends past the eye and has well developed teeth.
  • Body is olive brown or greenish colored with numerous black spots, extending below the lateral line. The spots may be surrounded by pale halos.
  • Upper body is darker and the sides are usually orange, fading to a pale belly. 
  • Brown trout can grow to a maximum size of 55 inches (140 cm) and weigh up to about 110 lbs. (50 kg), although lengths of about 28 inches (72 cm) are more common.

Diet / Feeding

  • An individual that lives in the sea or a lake will forage in pelagic and littoral habitats. 
  • Adult preys on mollusks, crustaceans and small fish.
  • Juvenile feeds mainly on aquatic and terrestrial insects.

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Life history and spawning behavior is similar to the Atlantic salmon: Salmo salar.
  • Brown trout can live in water with a higher temperature than most other trout, which may explain its wide introduction in North America.
  • This is a successful and aggressive species which has become a permanent, reproducing population in most of the regions where it has been released.
  • Several countries report adverse ecological impact after the introduction of the brown trout.