Trout of North America: The Complete Guide
May 18, 2021 | 9 minute read Comments
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Reading Time: 9 minutes

North America is a Trout fishing paradise. From remote mountain streams to great rushing rivers, the waterways of the US and Canada are perfect for many different types of Trout. So many, in fact, that it can get pretty confusing. The various Trout of North America all look similar and often live in the same place, so how do you know what you’re catching?

A drawing of 8 different North American Trout species on a blue background.
This isn’t even all of them!

This guide will give you some easy tips on knowing your Trout. Learn what lives where and how to tell it apart from everything else. Find out a little about how the different Trout families fit together. You may be surprised to find that your favorite fish aren’t Trout at all!

The Natives: Pacific Trout

These guys are the undisputed kings of North American Trout fishing. They’re great to eat, even better to catch, and they have some real star appeal to boot. There are only two species of Pacific Trout in North America but each fish varies hugely depending on where you catch it.

Rainbow Trout

A small Rainbow Trout being held above a shallow stream by a fisherman.

Rainbow Trout are probably North America’s best-known species. They get their name from the signature pink stripe that runs along their side, but that’s not the only way to recognize them. Black spots on their body and dorsal fin and a wide, square tail are also giveaways.

Rainbow Trout are native to the Pacific coast, from Alaska all the way down to Mexico. They have been introduced far beyond this native range, though. You can find Rainbow Trout throughout much of southern Canada, in all the Great Lakes, and as far south as Georgia and Alabama. They have also been stocked all around the world.

There are a few different types of Rainbow Trout. Steelhead are the ones that first spring to mind for most people. These guys may look very different, but they’re actually just the anadromous (sea-run) form of Rainbow Trout. The other main subspecies are Golden Trout and Redband Trout, which only show up in specific rivers in Midwest and Pacific states of the US, although they’re stocked outside of that range.

Cutthroat Trout

A Cutthroat Trout being held just out of the water with a fly fishing rod submerged beneath it.

Cutthroat Trout may not make the same headlines as their bigger, rainbowed cousins, but they do get a much cooler name. You only have to look at them to know why. The dramatic red behind their lower jaw makes Cutthroat Trout look like they’re constantly bleeding. If you want to be doubly sure, they should have small black spots mainly on the top half of their body.

Most Cutthroat Trout live in the western half of the US, from the Pacific Coast over to the Rocky Mountains. They also live in southwestern Canada, and ocean-going Cutthroat Trout can show up as far north as Alaska. Beyond their natural range, Cutthroats have been introduced in some parts of Quebec and the northeastern US.

Cutthroat Trout are the most varied of all North American Trout species, with a staggering 11 different subspecies alive today. Each subspecies looks a little different and lives in a specific river or drainage. In fact, many national parks have their own species of Cutthroat.

Gila and Apache Trout

A Gila Trout, one of the rarest types of Trout in North America, held by an angler before release
Gila Trout are as rare as they are pretty

Anglers could go their entire lives without seeing either of these fish. Unless you’re from Arizona or New Mexico, you may never have heard of them. Gila Trout only live in tributaries of the Gila River, mainly in the Gila National Forest and Aldo National Wilderness Area. Apache Trout are even rarer, limited to the upper Little Colorado and Salt Rivers and a few lakes where they were introduced more recently.

Even within their native range, Gilas and Apache are rare. Overfishing, loss of habitat, and introduction of Rainbow Trout into their waters devastated their numbers in the first half of the 20th century. Both species were among the first in the US to officially become endangered, and the IUCN still categorizes Apache Trout as Critically Endangered – one step from going extinct.

A critically-endangered Apache Trout, with its signature spots either side of its eye.
The easiest way to recognise an Apache Trout is by looking it in the eye.

Gila and Apache Trout are both rare beauties. Averaging just under a foot long, they have golden yellow bodies and dark spots along their sides. The easiest way to tell them apart is that Apache Trout have spots either side of their pupil, giving them a rotated cat-eye look. Gilas also tend to have smaller spots than Apaches.

The Invaders: European Trout

It’s no secret that many top game fish come from abroad. Peacock Bass are Brazilian and Chinook Salmon aren’t supposed to be in the Great Lakes. People have taken Trout all over the world, including one species which is going from strength to strength in North America.

Brown Trout

An angler holding a Brown Trout out of the water.

Despite their name, Brown Trout aren’t always brown. They can be golden or silver, depending on where they live. Whatever the color, they’re easy to recognize. Brown Trout have red-orange spots with silver rings around them. They also have more of a salmonish look to them than most species. There’s a good reason for that: They’re actually more closely related to Atlantic Salmon than other Trout.

Brown Trout were brought to North America from Germany. They took to their new home very well and these days you can catch them from Ontario to Georgia and throughout the Great Lakes. They also live all over the western half of America, from California to Colorado, and up into Alberta and British Columbia.

Brown Trout have a few subspecies back in Europe which sometimes cause confusion. Anadromous Brown Trout are called “Sea Trout,” while river and lake-dwelling fish are often called “River Trout” or “Lake Trout.” These have nothing to do with the Lake Trout of North America, though.

The Downright Confusing: Char

This is where things start to get complicated. There are several species of “Trout” in North America which aren’t actually Trout at all – they’re Char, a northern cousin of Trout and Salmon. Char all look very similar to each other. So much so, that people thought they were all one species for centuries.

Lake Trout

A male angler wearing sunglasses holding a Lake Trout, the biggest of all the Trout of North America. Behind him you can see water and the banks of the lake in the distance.

Lake Trout are the big brother of the Char family. This large cold-water fish can grow to over 80 pounds. Their size is actually the easiest way to recognize them, but they also have creamy spots and a much more deeply-forked tail than other species.

Lake Trout are native to most of Alaska and Canada, as well as the Great Lakes and the Northeastern US. They have spread beyond this range over the years, and now show up all along the Rocky Mountains and sporadically in lakes around the US.

Lake Trout aren’t as varied as Pacific Trout species, but they make up for it with their wide collection of nicknames. Depending on where you catch them, they may be called Mackinaw, Namaycush, Grey Trout, Touladi, or Togue.

Brook Trout

A school of Brook Trout underwater.

Our next “Trout but not Trout” is Brook Trout. These guys are much smaller than other Char species. They average around 1–2 pounds and rarely hit double digits. Other than size, the easiest way to spot them is by their worm-like markings along their back and head, and the white edges on their lower fins.

Brook Trout are native to the east of North America. They live in all the Great Lakes, south along the Appalachian Mountains, and north to the Arctic Sea. Today, you can find Brook Trout anywhere that’s cold enough – mountain streams throughout the Rockies and across the southern provinces of Canada.

Brook Trout have also been introduced all around the world. They have traveled as far as Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and Europe – think of them as the exchange buddy for all the Brown Trout coming over to America.

Dolly Varden Trout

A smiling fisherman holding a small Dolly Varden Trout.

Dolly Varden are one of the most northerly of all North American Trout species. Again, they’re technically a Char, not a Trout. In fact, it is only recently that people recognized that they were different to Arctic Char. They’re a species of Char that went unnoticed for a long time and then got called “Trout.” Awesome.

Dolly Varden Trout live all along the northwest, from the Arctic reaches of Alaska down to the northern half of Washington. Outside of North America, they have made their way across the sea and also populate rivers in Siberia and Japan. Dolly Varden are all naturally anadromous, and the few landlocked populations are the exception rather than the rule.

As you can imagine, Dolly Varden look pretty similar to other fish in their range. The best thing to go on is size – Dollies rarely top 10 pounds. They don’t have the worm-like marks of Brook Trout, either, and their tails are less forked than Lake Trout. Other than that, there’s not much to go on at a glance. You sometimes have to run the DNA to tell what fish you’re holding.

Bull Trout

A happy angler holding a Bull Trout, one of the rarest Trout of North America

Bull Trout are one of the rarest Salmonids in North America. They only live in large, cold rivers and drainages in the Pacific Northwest. You’re unlikely to see a Bull Trout unless you really go looking for them. If you’re set on finding one, the best places to go are Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and Alberta.

Bull Trout look almost identical to Dolly Varden and Arctic Char. In fact, they used to be known as “Dolly Varden” until the late ‘70s. The easiest way to know you have a Bull Trout is by their limited distribution and larger size – if it’s 12 pounds or over and doesn’t have a super-forked tail, it’s probably a Bull Trout. If it’s smaller, anything goes.

The Crossovers: Hybrid Trout

As well as the natural Trout species, there are a couple of hybrids which you might find on the end of your line. The chances of hooking one in the wild are low but it’s always best to know about them, just in case.

Tiger Trout

A Tiger Trout being held above a river after being caught. Tiger Trout are a hybrid of Brook Trout and Brown Trout.

Tiger Trout come from crossing a male Brook Trout with a female Brown Trout. They don’t look much like either parent – or any other fish for that matter. They have a dramatic worm-like pattern across most of their body. They’re also thicker-built than most Trout species and like to throw their weight around, making them a favorite for many sporting anglers.

Tiger Trout rarely occur in the wild. You can find them in Wisconsin and Michigan but your best bet of catching one would be in a stocked lake. Wherever you come across them, they’re not a fish you’re likely to forget!

Splake

A close-up of an angler holding a Splake. Splake are a cross-breed of two North American Trout species: Brook Trout and Lake Trout.

Splake are a cross-breed of a male Brook Trout and female Lake Trout. They start eating other fish much earlier than natural Trout species and grow much more quickly as a result. Because of this, they have earned the sinister nickname “Wendigo Trout” after the ravenous beast of Algonquian folklore. They look similar to Brook Trout but with a Lake Trout’s forked tail.

Splake can theoretically reproduce in the wild. This has only happened a few times, though, and the vast majority of Splake are deliberately bred and stocked. The largest breeding program is in Ontario, where the government stocks them in the Georgian Bay and several small lakes as fast-growing sport fish.

To Sum Up: The Many Trout of North America

We haven’t gone into the nitty-gritty of identifying every species because it can vary a lot based on when and where you catch them. Even then, some species are so similar that they didn’t even count as being different until a few decades ago. Here’s a recap of what we’ve covered here.

All in all, there are 11 species of Trout in North America:

  • Two Pacific Trouts: Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout.
  • One European Trout: Brown Trout.
  • Four Chars: Brook, Bull, Dolly Varden, and Lake Trout.
  • Two known hybrids: Splake and Tiger Trout.

Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout are the most varied Trout species. They’re also the easiest to recognize thanks to their colorful throats and stripes.

Brown Trout isn’t closely related to any other Trout. It looks similar in shape to Atlantic Salmon and has red spots with silver rings. It isn’t always brown.

Brook, Bull, Dolly Varden, and Lake Trout live farther north and all look very similar. Lake Trout are the biggest. Brook Trout are generally the smallest and have unusual markings.

Splake and Tiger Trout only really exist in deliberately stocked populations, although they can show up in the wild. They’re more aggressive than most Trout species.

Has this helped you understand the various types of Trout in North America? What’s your go-to way to tell them apart? Let us know in the comments below. Otherwise, find a local guide and start catching them!

Comments (79)
  • Joey

    Jun 4, 2021

    Great article! What about the Grayling tho? They just brought them back to Montana and are doing the same in Michigan!

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      Albert

      Jun 7, 2021

      Hi Joey,

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked it!

      You’re right, Grayling are great fun to catch, especially for their size. I wanted to focus on Trout in this article, because there are just too many salmonids to cover in one piece. I’ll have to write something up about Grayling sometime soon, though.

      Tight lines!

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      Stephen Pettit

      Jul 21, 2021

      What about cut-bows? Cutthroat and rainbows are known to hybridize in the West. I have caught them in Colorado.

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      Katie

      Jul 21, 2021

      Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for your comment. Cutbows are a really interesting hybrid! Because of the sheer number of Trout species that exist, however, we decided to focus on distinct species and the most widespread hybrids around, which is why they didn’t make it into this post. Maybe it’s worth us writing a whole other article on some of these other hybrids!

      Thanks again for getting in touch.

      Tight lines,
      Katie

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  • Cory

    May 18, 2021

    I noticed you put in the article about brook trout not being in lake erie. There are brook trout in lake erie, just not a huge number. I caught a mail and female in the same day in one of lake eries tributaries.

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      Rhys

      May 18, 2021

      Hi Cory,

      Thanks for reading and for your keen observation! I’m sorry for the misleading information and have updated the article accordingly. Thanks again for the clarification, and I’m delighted to hear you’ve been making the most of Lake Erie’s incredible fishing opportunities.

      Tight lines,

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  • Massimo

    Mar 27, 2021

    Hi,

    Nice article indeed!
    I wander where the “golden trout” is sitting here?
    Isn’t this trout a native one from USA and Mex?

    Best regards.
    M

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      Albert

      Mar 29, 2021

      Hi Massimo,

      Mainly in the comments section! 😉

      Joking aside, there are a few different fish called “Golden Trout.” Most of them are actually subspecies of Rainbow Trout, though, and are covered in the Rainbow Trout section. However, the Mexican Golden Trout is considered a separate species, so I’ll have to add that one in at some point.

      All the best!

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      William Dykema

      Jul 1, 2021

      California golden trout is also a different species since 2014 by ITIS, FishBase, and the Catalog of fishes. There are two other species mistakenly called golden trout which are subspecies of rainbows, those being the kern river “golden trout” and the little kern river “golden trout”. So the California goldens that are found in Wyoming are indeed different, but its almost impossible to tell the difference as an average person between the kern river goldens because they look nearly identical to California goldens and they live in many of the same waters. I don’t know why no one could think of some new names for all these fish but it certainly has caused some confusion hahaha. Anyways thought it was some information, thanks for the awesome article.

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      Albert

      Jul 5, 2021

      Hi William,

      Thanks for getting in touch, and for all the info. I totally agree, things would be a lot easier if people got more creative with names. In fact, we’ve got an entire article on confusing fish names!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

      Tight lines!

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  • shane grant

    Mar 25, 2021

    Hey Albert.

    I noticed you forgot (or didnt know) about sparr wich are a arctic charr and brook hybrid (stocked in manitoba for a while but I dont know much else). There are also Aurora which are a sub species of brook

    I think you should add arctic charr and list of all of the subspecies of each fish without going into them.

    If you know about salmon too you should make an article about it, I’m starting to get into salmon but they all look so similar until they spawn.

    Thanks alot, have a great day.

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      Albert

      Mar 25, 2021

      Hi Shane,

      I generally stayed away from subspecies, just because there are so many of them, and this would be more of a book than a blog post if it included all of them.

      I left out Arctic Charr deliberately, because this article is focused on all the “Trouts” in North America. I know that’s a pretty vague categorization, seeing as “Trout” doesn’t mean anything scientific, but it seemed the most straightforward and useful way to cover the topic.

      If you’re looking for info on Salmon, check out our “Trout vs. Salmon” article. this goes into more specifics about how the families fit together, and also covers their taste if you’re interested in that.

      I hope this helps!

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  • Nelson Taylor

    Feb 17, 2021

    A nice article. I live in Maine so we have plenty of trout and salmon. We always liked getting a stringer of Brookies or a Landlocked salmon for dinner.

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      Albert

      Feb 18, 2021

      Hi Nelson,

      Lucky you! Maine sure has some amazing Trout and Salmon fishing.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

      All the best!

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  • Todd M Samson

    Feb 17, 2021

    Seems to me you left out Cuttbows…from your hybrid selection.
    todd

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      Albert

      Feb 17, 2021

      Hi Todd,

      Seems I did! I’ll have to add them to the list at some point.

      All the best!

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  • David

    Feb 14, 2021

    You did a good job of identifying the Chars that are called trout, but no mention of the Blueback Trout, or the Sunapee trout, both Chars, native to Maine and Sunapees I believe New Hampshire!

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      Albert

      Feb 17, 2021

      Hi David,

      My understanding is that Bluebacks and Sunapees are both varieties of Arctic Char, not unique species. They’re definitely iconic in the Northeast, but there are just too many subspecies and local varieties to cover in one article – it would end up just being a massive list of names.

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’m glad you liked the article.

      Tight lines!

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      Adam Curtis

      Apr 21, 2021

      Bluebacks and Sunapees are char. They are also subspecies of brookies, along with sea run brookies – which look like a bleached brookie. They were first thought to only be in a few bodies of water in northern New England. They have definitely spread throughout the waterways of central west Maine, though still super rare.

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      Albert

      Apr 22, 2021

      Hi Adam,

      Interesting. Thanks for the info!

      Tight lines!

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  • Lucy Mauterer

    Dec 30, 2020

    Hi Albert,

    My son and I fish the trout streams of North Georgia. We have caught browns, rainbow, and brook. Pretty sure they mostly stock rainbow. Usually my son leaves me on the lower streams with my rod and a camp chair (I am handicapped) and hikes up the mountain towards the source. He gets much better fishing that way. We so enjoy being outdoors in the clean mountain air and usually take a couple of fish home, if they are big enough.

    He’s good about cleaning them and rinsing and freezing them in water so they don’t freezer burn. We don’t get to go that often. I drive because he doesn’t like to drive. So we are a team.

    Enjoyed your article!

    All my best,

    Lucy

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      Albert

      Dec 31, 2020

      Hi Lucy,

      Thanks for getting in touch. It’s great that you and your son enjoy the outdoors together. When it comes to spending quality time together, you just can’t beat fishing. And if you get a tasty meal at the end of it, even better!

      Tight lines!

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  • Bill

    Nov 28, 2020

    My question involves the Lake Trout in the finger lakes, primarily in Cayuga Lake in New York State. The lake is stocked with 60,000 Lake Trout yearly, each of which have one of their fins clipped to mark them as stocked fish. I have caught Lakers that have ALL of their fins, and have a yellow coloring in their tails, fins, and underside. I was told there are 2 different species in the lake , but have never really read from a reliable source if this is true. I have read that in the USA there are 3 subspecies of Lake Trout, but it seems that NYS has not offered any information as to how many species are in the finger lakes.

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      Albert

      Nov 30, 2020

      Hi Bill,

      Interesting! The Finger Lakes do hold a naturally-reproducing stock of Lakers as well as hatchery-raised fish. However, these are common Lake Trout. The only subspecies I’m aware of are in Lake Superior and around the Huron Mountains in Michigan – a long way from New York!

      If you catch another one with interesting coloring, my advice would be to take a picture and report it to the DEC. It could be a local mutation.

      Tight lines!

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      Rick stark

      Apr 22, 2021

      I lived in central NY state for a while and did some fishing in the finger lakes and lake Ontario. Seemed to me that fish from some lakes tasted better than from other lakes. The big steelhead or rainbows and browns we would catch in Lake Ontario were typically smoked as they did not have the wonderful flavor smaller trout from other lakes and streams had. Maybe it was the size or the lake. Enjoyed them either way

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      Albert

      Apr 23, 2021

      Hi Rick,

      Interesting! Could be down to the clarity of the water, but most likely just the age/size of the fish you were catching?

      Either way, I’m sure they were mighty tasty!

      Tight lines!

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  • Fred

    Sep 18, 2020

    What about Grayling?!

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      Albert

      Sep 21, 2020

      Hi Fred,

      I tried to keep this article purely Trout-themed, because it’s a confusing-enough group of fish at the best of times.

      Grayling are a salmonid, but I wouldn’t call them a Trout. Because of this, I left the off the list, similar to Arctic Char.

      All the best!

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  • John Webb

    Aug 10, 2020

    Trying to identify trout from Lake Desmet can’t seem to paste a pic though. Sending link to it: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1166644713715437&set=gm.2754159651494357&type=3&theater&ifg=1

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      Albert

      Aug 11, 2020

      Hi John,

      That’s a mighty odd one!

      My best guess is that it’s an unusual-looking Brown. It’s tough to say without seeing it in more detail, though.

      What does everyone else think?

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  • Char Rael

    Jul 27, 2020

    Here in N.M we Have Apache Trout and Gila Trout in the East also CutBows, oh also our sub of Cutthroat are gorgeous and have orange flesh best fish ive ever tasted!

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      Albert

      Jul 28, 2020

      Hi Char,

      Wow, I’ve never heard of a Cutbow Trout before. Just when you think that there can’t be any more crossovers!

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Tight lines!

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  • Keith

    Jul 18, 2020

    I’ve noticed that The Splake and Dolly Varden look very muck alike. Having caught my share of Dolly’s in Alaska, I recently caught a Splake in Utah. I have been scratching my head because I was sure it was a Dolly.

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      Albert

      Jul 20, 2020

      Hi Keith,

      You’re right, they do look pretty similar. I guess that’s the Char family genes shining through!

      Splake tend to have slightly more distinctive spots in my experience. How does everyone else tell them apart?

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  • Rilian

    Jul 1, 2020

    Gila and Apache Trout- rare and endangered/threatened, but classified as different species that other Pacific trouts. And what gems they are..

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      Albert

      Jul 2, 2020

      Hi Rilian,

      Good point! They are beautiful fish.

      I didn’t include them originally, just because they’re so rare.

      As you say, though, they are different species, so I may have to add them in.

      All the best!

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  • lucas

    Jun 30, 2020

    what about Palomino trout!!!!!!They’er cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      Albert

      Jul 1, 2020

      Hi Lucas,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      A lot of people have been asking about Golden Rainbows and Palominos.

      I might have to add a bonus section on them – they sure are cool!

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  • Steve Carnes

    Jun 25, 2020

    The Wind Rivers in Wyoming have a ton of golden trout, in all the lakes and streams, thanks to Finis Mitchell, who backpacked them in early in the 1900s.

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      Albert

      Jun 25, 2020

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I had never heard of Finis Mitchell, seems like an interesting guy to say the least!

      All the best!

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  • Kaleb

    May 11, 2020

    The first brown trout to be stocked in the US came from Germany, not the UK.

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      Albert

      May 12, 2020

      Hi Kaleb,

      Thanks for getting in touch, and for pointing that out. I’ll update it right away.

      Tight lines!

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  • Christopher Skipp

    May 9, 2020

    What about Greenback trout?

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      Albert

      May 11, 2020

      Hi Christopher,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      In this article, we wanted to focus on the main species and most common crossovers.

      Greenbacks are one of 14 different subspecies of Cutthroat Trout. Add in the dozen or so subspecies of Rainbow Trout, and there are just too many to cover in one list.

      They do look cool, though!

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  • Daniel

    Apr 22, 2020

    You fail to mention that rainbow trout and cutthroat trout are actually salmon in the genus oncorhynchus. So what is actually a true trout? Do we just use “trout” as a non-scientific name for a group of mostly freshwater salmomidae?

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      Albert

      Apr 23, 2020

      Hi Daniel,

      The closest thing to a “True” Trout is Brown Trout, because it has “trutta” in the scientific name.

      However, there are no scientific criteria for what makes a Trout a Trout.

      My personal guess is that, originally, everything Salmonish that wasn’t a Salmon (Salmo Satar) was called “Trout.”

      “Char” is the exception. It lives further north, so the name was borrowed from Celtic, whereas “Trout” comes from Ancient Greek (Thanks, Wikipedia!).

      When people arrived in the New World, they decided that Pacific Salmons were worthy of the name, but everything else looked more like a Trout.

      That’s just a guess, though. Does anyone else have a different theory?

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      Reed

      May 3, 2020

      I think trout are able to reproduce more than once whereas reproduction is the end of the road for the salmon.

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      Albert

      May 4, 2020

      Hi Reed,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      That makes sense for Pacific Salmon, but Atlantic Salmon can actually spawn more than once. Good theory, though.

      All the best!

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  • Gouber

    Apr 8, 2020

    What about Golden Rainbows or Palomino trout stocked heavily in WV and PA waters?

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      Albert

      Apr 9, 2020

      Hi Gouber,

      Thanks for the comment. I did mention Golden Rainbow Trout and their natural range. I’ve added a line that they’re stocked beyond that, just to make things clear.

      All the best!

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  • ROBERT SIMMS

    Feb 16, 2020

    Palomino Trout.

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      Albert

      Feb 17, 2020

      Hi Robert,

      Palomino Trout sure are cool. However, they’re not actually a species of Trout – they’re a genetic variation of Rainbow Trout.

      Have you ever caught one?

      Tight lines!

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  • Michelle

    Dec 1, 2019

    I buy what they call Steelhead trout in the grocery store fish department. I live in the Canadian Maritimes. The fish manager says that the Steelhead trout is caught off the Canadian East Coast. Can you please give me some information on the Steelhead trout? Thank you.

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      Albert

      Dec 2, 2019

      Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Steelhead is the ocean-going version of Rainbow Trout. The species native is to the Pacific Coast but is now found throughout North America, as well around the world as far as Argentina and Tasmania.

      I would imagine that any commercial Steelhead harvested in the Atlantic is farmed rather than wild-caught.

      Is this the kind of information you were looking for? If not, give me a little more detail and I might be able to help.

      Tight lines!

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      Michele Rideout

      Dec 2, 2019

      Yes, thank you. You answered my question. I Thank you for your information.

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      Albert

      Dec 3, 2019

      Happy to help!

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  • Poody Halbersson

    Oct 25, 2019

    Many more hybrids exist, you must list them, and there are rare arctic char subspecies in maine, called blueback trout, or sunapee trout, brook trout and char can hybridize, and landlocked atlantic salmon exist too.

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      Albert

      Oct 28, 2019

      Hi Poody,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      You’re completely right that there are many more Trout hybrids and sub-species in North America. In fact, there are 15 sub-species of Cutthroat Trout alone!

      Because of this, I decided to focus on the distinct species and most widespread hybrids.

      I also wanted to focus on fish called “Trout” to reduce some of the confusion around the name and the family. This is why I didn’t mention Landlocked Salmon or Arctic Char.

      I hope that makes sense.

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  • Kaleb M.

    Oct 14, 2019

    Arctic Char live further north than Dolly Varden, and Brook Trout average much less than 5 lbs, more like 1 lb. Cutbows are another hybrid, Tigers also do not reproduce in the wild, they’re sterile, and there MANY of them in Michigan and other Midwest states. Some of this info is a bit off..
    By the way, the record Lake Trout is 72 lbs caught on a line, and 83 lbs with a net. No 100 lb Lake Trout..

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      Albert

      Oct 14, 2019

      HI Kaleb,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I took another look at the points you mentioned and updated them. I guess it’s a fisherman’s curse to overestimate the size of fish. I also wasn’t thinking about Arctic Char in this article, but you’re right that they’re in the same family and live farther north.

      Thanks again for getting in touch.

      Tight lines!

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      Scott McCray

      Mar 5, 2020

      Actually, Tiger Trout can and do occur occasionally in the wild. Tiger trout themselves are sterile, however if there are Browns and Brook in the same water it can happen naturally.

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      Albert

      Mar 6, 2020

      Hi Scott,

      You’re completely right, although it’s pretty rare to find them in the wild. Just makes hooking one all the more special!

      Tight lines!

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  • Karen P

    Sep 10, 2019

    What about Golden Trout?

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      Sean

      Sep 10, 2019

      Hey Karen,

      Thanks for reading.

      We actually did mention Golden Trout as a subspecies of Rainbow Trout. These beautiful fish are native to the rivers of California, and were even named official fish of the state back in 1947.

      Sadly, Golden Trout are considered critically endangered these days.

      What’s your favorite thing about Golden Trout?

      Have a good one!

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      seth gordon

      Jun 23, 2020

      Golden Trout are only native to one river basin: Kern river; they have been stocked elsewhere in California and some other states. They are not critically endangered and can be harvested in small numbers.

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      Sean

      Jun 23, 2020

      Hi Seth,

      Thanks for reading.

      You’re right, Golden Trout are native to the Kern River basin: we’re sorry if that wasn’t clear enough.

      You’re also correct in saying that California Golden Trout can be harvested in small numbers.

      However, the subspecies is listed as Critically Imperilled by NatureServe, and according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, categorized as State Species of Special Concern.

      Thanks for sharing, Seth.

      Have a good one!

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      Ethan

      Jul 13, 2020

      Up here in PA there is a albino rainbow trout called Golden Rainbows which can breed with regular Rainbows to make Palomino trout.

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      Albert

      Jul 13, 2020

      Hi Ethan,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Palomino Trout sure are pretty aren’t they. Have you caught one before?

      Tight lines!

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      Jim Van Gilder

      Aug 23, 2020

      Golden trout are breed in West Virginia and placed in streams around the state. As far as I am concerned California can have them all. They are very finaky and the meat is not near as good as the rainbow. They are very pretty however.

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      Wolf

      Apr 17, 2020

      What about Marble trout?

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      Albert

      Apr 21, 2020

      Hi Wolf,

      Marble Trout are certainly popular in Slovenia but I haven’t really heard of them in the US.

      Are they stocked somewhere?

      All the best!

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      Michael

      Jan 4, 2021

      What about Gila or Apache trout?

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      Albert

      Jan 5, 2021

      Hi Michael,

      You’re actually the third person to bring these up. I didn’t originally include them because they’re so rare and there’s already a confusing amount of species. However, people really seem to care about them so I’ll add them in.

      Tight lines!

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      Michael

      Jan 5, 2021

      I caught one in oak creek canyon az

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      Albert

      Jan 6, 2021

      Hi Michael,

      How exciting! What did you catch, an Apache or a Gila? I didn’t think either of them lives that far west.

      All the best!

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      Michael

      Jan 6, 2021

      Excuse me I meant silver creek AZ not oak creek and it was a Apache trout that is the state fish of Arizona which is where we caught it.

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      Albert

      Jan 8, 2021

      Hi Michael,

      Ah, that makes more sense. Was it your first one?

      All the best!

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      Michael

      Jan 12, 2021

      yes it was my first one it was 10 inches and I caught it on a silver panther martin.

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      Albert

      Jan 13, 2021

      Nice! Here’s to many more!

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