Game Fish of the Week: Brown Trout

Name: Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) 
AKA:  Browns, German’s, German Browns, Butter, Brownies
Range:  Native to Europe. Found in 34 of the 50 states in the USA.
Found In: Cold Rivers, Streams, Ponds, and Lakes

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Catching a trophy brown trout (Salmo trutta) has earned a spot on most angler’s bucket list. The brown trout has gained a reputation as the top predator in most rivers and streams throughout the US. They are some of the most intelligent yet ferocious fish an angler can encounter. These large dream fish are often reclusive choosing to hunt at night or in high water. Unlike most brookies and rainbows, browns are more capable of understanding what is real and what is fake due to their amazing vision. This makes them one of the most challenging game fish an angler can face.

Five Facts You Never Knew About Brown Trout:

How About Some History?

Believe it or not, brown trout are not native to the US. Even though the species thrives in 34 US states, the species is originally brought over from Germany. The species first came to the U.S. in 1883, when a New York fish farmer named Fred Mather imported brown-trout eggs from Baron Lucius von Behr, president of the German Fishing Society. He then released them 4,900 brown-trout fry into Michigan’s Baldwin River. Since then, the population has boomed and have been left with the historical name of the German Brown Trout.

A Brown Trout Is Lifted Out Of A Net
When’s the last time you lifted a buttery brown trout out of a net and watched it swim away?


No matter the size, brownie feed on a variety of food sources. They can slurp down tiny mayflies on the surface or swallow a large brook trout whole. However, Brown Trout feed subsurface 90% of the time. If you want to target these beasts, we recommend you use a variety of nymphs and streamers. But if you want to get fancy, a challenging and insane way to catch brown trout is on a mouse pattern at night!

A Fly Angler Gets Ready To Make His First Cast In Winter
Don’t freeze your butt off without knowing how to catch fish first.

The Odds Are Stacked Against Them…

A healthy mature brown can lay more than 10,000 eggs.  The survival rate of an individual trout egg is very slim. Of the few eggs that hatch, most the fry will die out as well.  The remaining trout will use instinct to survive. These incredible species were born with a gift to know where to stay safe, eat, and breed. Once they reach a few inches they will begin to grow rapidly. However, these fish will remain prey to many birds, other fish species, and of course, anglers like you and me. Overall, out of the thousands of eggs, only 1 out of every 1,000 will make it to adulthood to spawn themselves.


Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to trick these fish into eating your almost indistinguishable fly pattern? Brown trout have excellent vision. Their vision is so keen, their eyes can focus in different directions at the same time. This allows them to see in nearly every direction at once. They also can pinpoint their food through rapid currents and murky water. So don’t be afraid to cast your size #18 zebra midge in strong whitewater riffles or dark murky pools. Their vision is their greatest line of defense against you and your fishing fly box.

Learn How Not To Fish For Trout
Brown trout all around the world want you to keep listening to really bad fishing advice.

It’s In Their Genes

Ever wonder why brown trout are colored in so many different shades? It’s their genetic diversity. Biologists have discovered as many as 50 different sub-species of brown trout. Browns are capable of interbreeding, but they usually don’t spawn together with other species. However, it is known that brown trout are a single species but hold great variation. The traditional three types of brown trout consist of the lake brown trout, sea-run brown trout, and brown trout that live permanently in streams and rivers.

A Feisty Scotland Brown Trout Is Lifted From The River Tweed
Scotland’s rivers are full of wild, willing fish that will reward a well-presented cast.

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