Great Lakes brown trout (Illustration Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

What it looks like

  • brown back
  • silvery or pale brown sides with dark spots, often with a lighter ring
  • white belly
  • tail may have a few faint spots
  • white mouth and gums
  • the only salmon or trout with orange on adipose fin (small fin between dorsal fin and tail)
  • leading anal fin ray extends the length of the fin
  • short, stocky caudal peduncle (where body meets tail)
  • Great Lakes brown trout are larger than the inland lakes variety
  • in Great Lakes variety, the back may be blue/green and spots may be smaller


  • length: 20-60 centimetres (8-24 inches)
  • weight: 0.5-4.5 kilograms (1-9.5 pounds)
  • Ontario record: 15.6 kilograms (34.4 pounds)

Similar fish

Where it is found


Brown Trout map

Inland lakes brown trout (Illustration Credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)

  • introduced into Ontario streams from Europe in 1913
  • now found throughout the Great Lakes and their tributaries, and streams in southern Ontario
  • most abundant in Lake Ontario, Georgian Bay, Great Lakes tributaries, inland stocked creeks
  • use Fish ON-Line, an interactive mapping tool, to find specific lakes and rivers


  • pools or ponds fed by streams
  • quiet, calm waters
  • turbulent, fast-flowing streams

Find a fishing spot with Fish ON-Line

Angling tips

  • feed most aggressively at night
  • cast from piers and break-walls
  • use brook trout bait to catch the inland lakes variety
  • target the Great Lakes variety by trolling
  • look for the Great Lakes variety in shallower waters than rainbow trout and Chinook salmon
  • in the fall, catch the Great Lakes variety in tributaries using small spinners or plugs, or small baits beneath floats

Common baits

  • spinners, spoons, jigs
  • small plugs, including those imitating minnows
  • flies, worms, roe