Native Fish Strategy

Brown trout

Scientific Name Salmo trutta Linnaeus 1758 photo by Neil Armstrong

Distribution and Abundance
Brown trout is native to Europe and western Asia and was first introduced to Australia in 1864. Fisheries agencies in the Basin have substantial stocking programs for this and other trout species. Vic and NSW fisheries agencies release approximately five million salmonids each year; and private hatcheries also make releases. Brown trout is widely distributed in the cooler upland streams of Vic, NSW and the ACT, as well as a small number of streams in SA. It is not present in Qld. There is a tendency for Brown trout to become the dominant species in lakes and dams where both Rainbow and Brown trout are present.

A medium sized, fish, similar in body shape to the Rainbow trout, but lacking the fine, black spotting on the tail and the pink stripe on the sides. Maximum weight 20kg; commonly 1–4kg. Often have large spots on the back and sides, but none on the tail, and usually have an orange rear-edge to the adipose fin. The spots on the back are usually dark and those on the sides are either dark or reddish-orange surrounded by a light halo.

General References
• Cadwallader 1996; • Clements 1988; • Davies & McDowall 1996; • Jackson et al. 2004; • Jackson & Williams 1980; • McDowall 2003, 2006; • Tilzey 1976;

Biology and Habitat
Brown trout is found in cool upland streams and lakes. The diet contains a wide variety of freshwater insect larvae, snails and wind-blown terrestrial arthropods, aquatic crustaceans, and small fish. Brown trout spawn between April and August, earlier than Rainbow trout. As in Rainbow trout, the eggs are deposited in a gravel nest (‘redd’) constructed by the female in flowing water. The eggs are large (4–5mm diameter) and hatch in 6–20 weeks depending on water temperature. Brown trout is slightly less tolerant than Rainbow trout of warm water, preferring temperatures below 25¡C. Brown trout is often found with the parasitic copepod Lernaea sp. attached, particularly around the fins. It is generally a longer-lived species than Rainbow trout, often surviving to six years of age, although individuals have been recorded in excess of 25 years of age overseas. Brown trout form the basis of important recreational fisheries in southeastern Australia and is widely stocked. However, in light of its serious impact on a number of threatened native fish, particularly galaxiid species, it is no longer stocked in a number of streams and dams where threatened species are known to be present.

PDF Links
Fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin: An introductory Guide;

Impacts on Native Fish
As with Rainbow trout, Brown trout has had a serious impact on the distribution and abundance of south-east Australia’s native galaxiids, such as Mountain galaxias and Barred galaxias. Brown trout is suspected of having deleterious impacts on Trout cod and Macquarie perch and a number of other threatened native species. Trout species are also thought to impact on a number of threatened frogs, such as the Spotted tree frog (Litoria spenceri).

First published - January 2009 Murray-Darling Basin Authority GPO Box 1801 Canberra ACT 2601 Tel 02 6279 0100 Fax 02 6248 8053

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