Illustration by Steven Schalla, FlyFishingtheSierra.com, used with permission
A native of the “old” world, Brown Trout were stocked in the United States as far back as the 19th century, and are now the second most widely distributed wild trout species after rainbow trout. They generally have a brownish-yellow body but this can be highly variable. Colorations can range from a deep golden yellow to a silvery gray with hints of greenish blue. It is the only trout with red or orange spots on the adipose fin, which is just in front of the tail. Black rounded spots exist above the lateral line and the tail fin is squarish with no spots.
Adult brown trout will often grow larger than other trout species because they find, occupy, and defend the prime cover and feeding spots in a stream, and predate on other fish species more readily. Browns also have better “dim light” eyesight than most other trout, which assists their predation. More than other trout, they live to advanced age and can grow to trophy size.