Brown Trout

Salmo trutta


Brown trout female side view photo with black background
Brown trout, Salmo trutta, female, propagated at Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery
Lance Merry
Other Common Name
German Brown Trout

Salmonidae (trouts) in the order Salmoniformes (salmon, trout, chars and others)


The brown trout is a sleek, streamlined fish with soft-rayed fins and small scales. Body and dorsal fin with round, black spots, body with small red or orange spots surrounded by a lighter halo. Tail fin is usually not forked and usually without spots. Anal fin usually with 9 rays.


Total length: 8 to 15 inches; maximum about 37 inches and 26 pounds.


Brown trout side view photo with black background
Brown Trout
Brown trout, Salmo trutta, propagated at Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery


Image of a brown trout
Brown Trout


Brown Trout
Brown Trout


photo of a fisherman releasing a brown trout underwater
Brown Trout-3
An angler releases a brown trout in this underwater shot.
Habitat and conservation

Hatchery-raised brown trout are stocked into cold streams and lakes with water temperatures that generally remain less than 70 degrees F. In streams, brown trout are most often found around dense cover, such as submerged logs or undercut banks, or in deep water below riffles.


Brown trout are carnivorous, feeding on aquatic and terrestrial insects, crayfish, crustaceans, snails, and small fish. Large adults feed primarily on fish and crayfish.

image of Brown Trout Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri

Found in about 60 miles of spring-fed, mainly Ozark streams and in Lake Taneycomo.


A native of Europe and the British Isles, this game fish was introduced into our country as early as 1883. More than 200,000 brown trout were introduced to Missouri from 1927 to 1933. Stocking efforts resumed in the 1960s, concentrating on the Current and North Fork rivers, and expanding to other cold Ozark streams and Lake Taneycomo. Populations in our state are not self-sustaining and are maintained by periodic stocking.

Life cycle

All brown trout populations in Missouri are maintained through releases of hatchery-reared fish. Their lifespan is usually about 4 years, but they are capable of surviving for 8 or more years.

Human connections

The Department estimates that trout angling and related activities contribute $382,000,000 to Missouri's economy annually.

Ecosystem connections

Brown trout help to control populations of their aquatic prey. They can have an adverse effect on native species.