Brown trout

General information about brown trout (Salmo trutta), a cold-water fish species in Alberta.



  • Brown trout are golden brown in colour with large black spots on the back, and red spots (some with pale halos) on the sides. They are the only trout with both red and black spotting.


  • These fish are native to Europe, Asia and North Africa.
  • Brown trout were introduced into Alberta waters in 1924. The Bow River and some tributaries of the Red Deer River have become important sportfishing areas for this species.

Natural History


  • Brown trout are now fairly common in slow streams along foothills.
  • Brown trout are more tolerant of silting and warm water than the native trout of Alberta.


  • Young brown trout feed on insects and other invertebrates, but the larger fish are active predators of other fishes, including young brown trout.

Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • In Alberta, brown trout spawn from October to December, when water temperatures fall below 8 to 10◦C (46 to 50◦F).
  • Females dig redds (nests) and covers fertilized eggs with gravel.
  • Young hatch from March to late April.

Conservation and Management


Brown trout are classified as Exotic/Alien in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Current management


Brown trout are cold-water game fish subject to current Alberta sportfishing regulations. For details, see the My Wild Alberta website at:

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