About the Fish We Chase / Trout

Before we get into specifics, there are just a few terms to get straight when it comes to trout. "Native" trout  are fish that have existed naturally (endemic) in a given geographical area without any human intervention. These fish have been living and reproducing in their watersheds for ages, and were there long before people started transplanting species. "Wild" trout are born in a natural environment (river, lake, etc.)... any water that is not a hatchery. Wild fish populations spawn and reproduce naturally and they are self-sustaining. If planted fish reproduce in the wild, their offspring are then considered to be wild fish.

The only true native trout of North America are the rainbow trout and the cutthroat. There are at least 14 subspecies of rainbow trout and 15 subspecies of cutthroat trout.The brook trout is also native to North America but it is technically not a trout but a char. You will also find considerable information here (below) on many subspecies of both rainbow and cutthroat trout. For general information on native trout and other "trout like" species of North America I suggest the following. If you are interested in more details on trout, the links further down will be of interest.

Trout of North America: The Complete Guide - (fishingbooker.com)

Learn about the Different Trout Species - (troutster.com)

Note: If you are especially interested in fishing for Wild Trout follow this link to find out where in the US they can be found and the species that exist in each state...click here...


Rainbow Trout - The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is  native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. It has been introduced into many freshwater environments across the world and now exists in the wild on every continent except Antarctica.

For more information on  Rainbows:

Rainbow trout - Wikipedia

Rainbow trout - US Fish & Wildlife

Rainbow trout - USGS

Rainbow trout - FishBase

See Rainbow Subspecies...

See Rainbow Hybrids & Variations...

Steelhead trout is a name given to the anadromous form of the coastal rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus. m. irideus) or redband trout (O. m. gairdneri). The steelhead are native to freshwater and ocean environments across North America, but have been introduced to every other continent except Antarctica. Steelhead use aquatic obstructions like vegetation, boulders, and fallen trees as protection. Steelhead migrate to spawn during the summer months and the winter months,

For more specific information:

Rainbow Trout Subspecies

Rainbow Trout Hybrids and Genetic Variations

Rainbow Trout

Cutthroat TroutThe cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) is a fish species of the family Salmonidae native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean, Rocky Mountains, and Great Basin in North America, and is the state fish of Wyoming. As a member of the genus Oncorhynchus, it is one of the Pacific trout, a group that includes the widely distributed rainbow trout. There are at least 14 separate subspecies. They are generally grouped by the geographical areas from which they originated. There have been several conservation programs created since the near extinction of the steelhead in the 1940s. The reduction in population is mainly due to manmade obstructions within river systems. This is usually caused by dams blocking access, or humans changing the river landscape for recreation and access to water. It is estimated that only 500 steelhead trout return to the Southern California watersheds.

See Cutthroat Subspecies...


Brown Trout - The brown trout (Salmo trutta) is a European species of salmonid fish that has been widely introduced into suitable environments globally. It includes both purely freshwater populations, referred to as the riverine ecotype, Salmo trutta morpha fario, and a lacustrine ecotype, S. trutta morpha lacustris, also called the lake trout as well as anadromous forms known as the sea trout, S. trutta morpha trutta. Brown trout were first introduced into the US in 1883. The first brown trout introduced outside its native range was in Australia in 1864 and have since been introduced on all continents except Antarctica.

Sea trout is the common name usually applied to anadromous (or sea-run) forms of brown trout (Salmo trutta), and is often referred to as Salmo trutta morpha trutta. Other names for anadromous brown trout are sewin (Wales), peel or peal (southwest England), mort (northwest England), finnock (Scotland), white trout (Ireland) and salmon trout (culinary). For more information on sea trout...click here...

For more information on the Brown Trout click on the links below...

Brown Trout - Wikipedia

Brown Trout - USGS

Brown Trout - Troutster.com

Brown trout

Brook TroutThe brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is a species of freshwater fish in the char genus Salvelinus of the salmon family Salmonidae. It is native to Eastern North America in the United States and Canada, but has been introduced elsewhere in North America, as well as to Iceland, Europe, and Asia. In parts of its range, it is also known as the eastern brook trout, speckled trout, brook charr, squaretail, or mud trout, among others. A potamodromous population in Lake Superior, as well as an anadromous population in Maine, is known as coaster trout or, simply, as coasters. The brook trout is the state fish of nine U.S. states: Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia, and the Provincial Fish of Nova Scotia in Canada.

Robert J. Behnke describes three ecological forms of the brook trout.[7] A large lake form evolved in the larger lakes in the northern reaches of its range and are generally piscivorous as adults. A sea-run form that migrates into saltwater for short periods of time to feed evolved along the Atlantic coastline. Finally, a smaller generalist form that evolved in the small lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams throughout most of the original native range. This generalist form rarely attains sizes larger than 12 in (30 cm) or lives for more than three years. All three forms have the same general appearance.

"Trout" Only by Name (Char) dolly varden, bull trout, etc.

image credit:bangordailynews.com


Other trout - there are a few trout that do not fit neatly into the four groups above. They are Apache Trout, Gila Trout and Mexican Golden Trout. To read more...Other trout...