Brown Trout vs Brook Trout – How To Tell The Difference

How to tell the difference between the brown trout and the brook troutThere are many ways to easily tell the difference between the brown trout and the brook trout. It is very important to be able to easily distinguish between the two species, because often times if you are keeping trout the minimum size is very different. They can often be found in the same rivers and without caution, they can be mistaken for the wrong species by the untrained eye.

Differences Between the Brown and the Brook Trout

Using the table below you should immediately be able to tell the difference between these 2 species.



Brook Trout

(Salvelinus fontinalis)

Brook trout vs brown trout

Brown Trout

(Salmo trutta)

Brown trout - brook trout comparison

Average Size Between 6-15 inches Between 8-24 inches
Spots Pink spots with blue halos surrounding them.

Brook Trout spots

Red and Black spots with white halos.

Brown trout spots


Body Coloration Back is grey-green with worm like markings. The belly of the brook trout will commonly have very vivid orange coloration. The Color intensity of the overall fish will become much more pronounced closer to spawning season in the fall. Back is brown, copper or orange with black spots. The belly of the brown trout is usually yellow – orange, but the orange is much less intense than that of the brook trout. The color of the brown can vary from almost silver (when found in lakes especially) to very vivid and pronounced colors close to the fall breeding season.
Habitat Mountain streams and smaller creeks and rivers. Can also be found in some lakes. They like riffle water but can be found anywhere in an average trout stream. Any sized creek or river and commonly found in lakes. Preferred habitat will usually consist of deep water and cover nearby.
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