Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)

Brown Trout © Peter Hayes


Brown trout thrive in clean well-oxygenated streams, rivers and lakes. A slim, graceful fish with olive-brown back shading with a yellow to a whitish belly, it is always dark-spotted. Some brown trout may have red spots along the flanks.
Pairs breed in winter over loose gravel beds, cutting troughs in which orange eggs are shed and fertilised. As the young develop they take up station in the current and intercept passing invertebrate food items. Bigger, dominant trout hold the most productive lives.


Brown trout’s diet mainly consists of invertebrates but older, larger trout will eat smaller fish.

How to identify/track?

The presence of spots and the apparent absence of scales distinguish trout from coarse fish. The brown trout could be possibly be confused with sea trout or even with small salmon in the headwaters of the Hampshire Avon system.

Did you know?

  • The brown trout is hugely variable in appearance and size – it could be full grown at 150g, or maybe significantly heavier.
  • The migratory sea trout is regarded as the same species.
  • As an angler’s favourite, it has travelled all around the world.
  • The brown trout has a strong association with Wiltshire’s chalk streams.

Reserves where they are present

Langford Lakes in the River Wylye, or any reserves with clean clear brooks.

Print out a copy of the Brown Trout factsheet

For more about the work we do in Wiltshire's rivers, see our Water Team's current projects.

If you'd like to help us continue to care for brown trout habitats in Wiltshire, please consider making a donation to support our work. Thank you!