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Salma trutra Linnaeus
The brown trout originally came from various
European areas. In the scientific name, Salma is the Latin for
the salmon of the Atlantic and trurta for trout.
Eggs of the Loch Leven trout were brought to
the United States from the Howieton Fishery, Stirling, Scotland,
in 1884. The Loch Leven trout differs somewhat in colour and
markings from the typical brown trout, but it is now considered
to be merely a local form of that species.
In any case, it is improbable that any pure
strains of the Loch Leven brown trout exist on this continent.
The body of the brown trout is typically trout-like, and, in the
breeding males, the teeth and hooked snout are strongly
developed. In general, the ground colour of the body is golden
brown with dark brown or black spots on the body, dorsal,
adipose and a few on the tail fin. Some body spots are edged
with orange, and some below the lateral line are edged with pink
or red, forming halos. Colours are most brilliant in spawning
Identification may be made easier if we look
for points of difference rather than for similarities. For
example, immature Atlantic salmon, steelhead rainbows in many
lakes and brown trout in a number of lakes may have strikingly
similar, bright, silver coloration with x-shaped black spots on
the body, but browns will have yellowish pectoral fins and a
tinge of red on the adipose fin. The caudal lin of the rainbow
trout is heavily spotted whereas the caudal lin of the brown
trout has few spots.
The chars (Salvelinus) are characterized by a
peculiar boat-shaped structure, the vomer, in the roof of the
mouth. In the genus Salvelinus, the teeth on the vomer are
restricted to the head of this bone, whereas, in the genus Salma,
the teeth are well-developed and extend well down the shaft of
Distribution The brown trout is native to the streams of western
Europe and the British Isles. It has been artificially
propagated and distributed in New Zealand, Africa and America.
In North America, introductions have been as follows: United
States, 1883 ; Newfoundland, 1884; Quebec, 1890; Ontario, 1913;
New Brunswick, 1921; and Nova Scotia, later. In l9l3, brown
trout fingerlings were introduced in the Speed River in the
vicinity of Hespeler, in streams in the vicinity of Simcoe,
Norfolk County, and in streams in the vicinity of St. Paul’s,
Plantings under private auspices may have
been carried out prior to 1913. By means of these and subsequent
plantings, brown trout fishing has been provided in several
streams in southern, agricultural Ontario rather than in the
rock-bound lakes and rapid streams of northern Ontario. They are
caught in fair numbers in the Humber, Credit, Speed, Grand,
Saugeen, Sydenham (Grey County), Nottawasaga and Muskoka Rivers.
Habitat Brown trout need clean, coldwater to satisfy their
living requirements. In southern Ontario, they frequent pools or
ponds fed by streams. They can adapt themselves to somewhat
warmer water than that tolerated by our native trout.
They seem to do best in water that does not
exceed 80°F _ Although they hold their own in many turbulent,
fast-flowing streams, they appear to show a preference for quiet
placid waters like those of their native home in England, France
However, experience has shown that
practically all streams that are suitable for brooks are
suitable for browns. This adaptation to cold water and rapidly
flowing streams brings them into direct competition with our
native brook trout.
Habits Movements: After spending the first two or three years
of life in the stream, the brown trout may move out into the
lake. And, where it has become established, like other members
of the genus Salma, it may enter the sea.
Spawning: The importance of
tributary streams in the life cycle of our stream-spawning trout
cannot be over-emphasized. Brown trout have been known to spawn
in wide, deep streams and in comparatively small streams.
Normally, the stream spawner seeks the cool tributary streams
where there is an abundance of clean gravel and rubble bottom in
the riffle areas. The migration to the breeding area takes place
October and early November, about the same
time as the eastern brook trout.
Females dig pits in the loose gravel and
rubble, using their tails and bodies as excavators. Large
females may dig three or four pits up to 12 inches deep in an
area which may extend 20 to 30 feet along the stream bottom.
Each pit is constructed so that a current is set up within it.
Eggs and milt are extruded simultaneously, and the eggs are
covered with gravel and rubble by the female. A large female
will lay over 3,000 eggs. During the spawning act, males defend
their territories against the intrusion of rivals or of enemies.
Food: Up to four inches in
length, the brown trout feed primarily on insects. Larger fish
also take insects and prey upon fish to a considerable extent,
especially when they leave the streams and move out into the
lake. Growth is much faster in the lake than in the stream. The
feeding habits of brown trout differ in some respects from those
of the brook trout taken from the same stream. Probably the most
striking difference is the large number of mayflies consumed by
the brown trout. Caddisflies, two-winged flies and beetles
appear to be much less acceptable to brown trout, judging by the
small percentages of these foods which occur in stomachs.
Observations appear to indicate that brown trout feed more at
the surface than brook trout.