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Similarities And Differences Among New York's Trout

Similiarities and differences among New York's trout species
Species Description Habitat Reproduction Feeding Fishing Information Comments
Brook Trout 6-10" long in streams; 10-12" in ponds Up to 8 lbs.

Square tail

Olive green with lighter wavy markings above, yellow spots and some red spots on side

White line along front edge of lower fins
Cold lakes, ponds and streams

Often found in very small brooks
Spawns in fall

(mid Oct-early Dec)

Female digs shallow nest (redd) on gravel beds in spring-fed streams
Usually eats insects Prized gamefish

Relative east to catch

Use flies, small minnows or worms
New York State Fish

Well-known for beauty and high catchability

New York native
Lake Trout 15-34 " long

Up to 30 lbs.

Forked tail

Silvery to dark gray above, white below

Light yellowish spots on sides, tail and dorsal fin
Deep, cool, well-oxygenated lakes Spawns in fall

(late Oct-Nov)

Scatters eggs over shallow, rocky reefs

No nest is built
Adult mainly eat fish such as smelt, alewives, sculpins and minnows

Young eat insects and crustaceans
In early spring troll near the surface with artificial lures or natural fish

In summer troll deep with downriggers or wire line and use flashy lures
New York native

Prized due to large size and strength

Taste somewhat inferior to other trout
Brown Trout 8-20" long in Inland waters

20-32" long in Great Lakes

Up to 30 lbs.

Silvery to olive green above with dark brown or black spots (sometimes a few red or orange) on sides, dorsal and adipose fins

Occasionally several spots on tail
Cool streams and lakes

Some sea-run strains
Spawns in fall

(late Oct-Dec)

Female digs shallow nest on gravel areas of clear, cold streams
Small brown trout mainly eat insects

Large brown trout eat fish such as minnows, smelt and alewives
Relatively difficult to catch

Cast or troll flies, artificial lures, worms and minnows
Introduced from Europe in the 1880's

Tolerate warmer water than either brook or lake trout

Withstands heavy fishing pressure better than other trout
Rainbow Trout 8-20" long in Inland waters

20-34" long in Great Lakes

Up to 25 lbs.

Silvery to olive or blue/green above with numerous black spots on head, sides, dorsal fin, adipose fin and tail

May have pink-red banc along side
Usually cool lakes and larger streams Spawns late winter-spring (Jan-May)

Female builds nest on gravelly areas of clear, cold streams
Small rainbows mainly eat insects

Large rainbows eat fish such as minnows, smelt and alewives
Fairly easy to catch

Cast or troll flies, artificial lures, worms and minnows

Prized sportfish. Well-known for its leaping and fighting abilities when hooked
Introduced from the Pacific Coast

Sea-run (or lake-run) variety are called steelhead

Steelhead are present only in Great Lakes, Lake Champlain and their tributaries