Brown Trout

The Brown Trout is a popular table fair and one of the most popular cold-water game fish in North America. The best techniques for catching Brown trout include bait casting and fly fishing using a dry fly or crawfish imitation.

brown trout feeding at the surface

How to identify Brown Trout

The brown trout is similar in appearance to the Atlantic salmon. Both fish have black, sometimes red spots along their upper sides, backs and gill covers. In fresh water brown trout turn a bronze to a dark brown hue. In salt water their coloration often turns silvery with their spots fading.

brown trout identification diagram

Brown trout and Atlantic salmon often live in the same areas. They can be difficult to distinguish. In fresh water, brown trout tend to have a much greater number of spots than Atlantic salmon, and their spots often exhibit light halos. Brown trout also have darker, more pronounced spots on their doral, adipose and to a much lesser degree caudal (tail) fins. Atlantic salmon don’t typically have noticeable spots on their fins.

Brown trout have squarish, sometimes concave tail fin. Brown trout have a double zigzag row of well-defined vomerine teeth on the roof of the mouth.

Identifying characteristics:

  • Vomerine teeth on roof of mouth
  • Mouth extends past posterior of eye
  • Body golden brown to silver
  • Dorsal fin may have white tip
  • Edge of adipose fin reddish to orange
  • Squarish, slightly concave tail
  • Blackish to red spots with silver halos
  • Lighter yellowish abdomen
  • Pectoral fin shorter than dorsal fin

Brown trout range from 10 to 15 inches in length and weight between 1 and 5 pounds. They can reach up to 24 inches. The largest brown trout on recorded weighed in at over 40 pounds.

Where to catch Brown Trout

The brown trout is a freshwater fish that is highly sought after by anglers. It lives in streams and lakes worldwide. Native to Europe and parts of Asia, the brown trout is also found in Newfoundland, Canada, U.S., South America, New Zealand, and Africa. In the U.S., it lives in the Great Lakes area, the southern Appalachians, northern Georgia, southern Mississippi River outlets, Nebraska, and in every state west of Texas.

Range: Northeast, South, Midwest, West
Brook Trout Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Brown Trout:

How to catch Brown Trout

The brown trout is highly admired and one of the most difficult types of trout to catch. These fish head to freshwater streams to spawn in the fall and early winter. During the fall, it’s advisable to head out at night when they are known to feed aggressively. Look for them near rocks, overgrown vegetation and in deep pools.

Many anglers enjoy fly fishing for brown trout, although these fish will sometimes ignore or be spooked by the bait or fly. If fishing for them in the Great Lakes, trolling works well, as do baits used under a floater.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Brown Trout:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Brown Trout

Those who prefer to fly fish for brown trout should use a dry fly or imitation crawfish. Anglers who prefer lake fishing should opt for streamers, wooly buggers, green caddis, crayfish, and pheasant tail nymphs.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Brown Trout: