Maryland Fish Facts


Brown Trout
Brown Trout

Brown Trout
Salmo trutta

Key Distinguishing Markings:
  • Brown trout vary greatly in appearance.
  • Generally, they are olive green to brown on top shading to a creamy, golden-yellow on the sides and an off white along the belly.
  • Most brown trout are covered with black spots along their sides, back and dorsal fin with each spot surrounded by a light halo.
  • Frequently, the spots near the lateral line are red.
  • Unlike brook and rainbow trout, the tails of brown trout have few if any spots.​

View the Brown Trout Gallery

Brown trout 

  • Brown trout are not native to Maryland or to North American.
  • Their native range includes the British Isles and most of Europe.
  • As a result of wide spread introductions, they are now found throughout the world wherever water is suitable.
  • They were introduced to Maryland waters around the turn of the century and have become well established in many watersheds across the State.​

  • Because of their diverse diet, longevity and intelligence, it is easy to see how the state record brown trout grew to a walloping 18 lbs. 3oz.
  • The average size of brown trout is 12 to 14 inches.​


  • Spawning behavior of brown trout is very similar to that of the brook trout.
  • Brown trout, however, spawn a week or two later than brook trout, generally from late October through November.​

Fishing Tips:
  • Some of the best wild brown trout fishing is found in Baltimore County in the Gunpowder River watershed to include Bee Tree Run, Little Falls, Western Run and the entire mainstem of the Gunpowder Falls between Prettyboy and Loch Raven Reservoirs.
  • Other fine naturally reproducing brown trout fisheries include Jones Falls also in Baltimore County, Hunting Creek in Frederick County and the lower Savage River in Garrett County.
  • In addition, thousands of hatchery reared brown trout are stocked annually in many of Maryland's better trout streams. Areas that are routinely stocked with brown trout include Big Elk Creek, Patapsco River, Morgan Run, Patuxent River, North Branch Potomac River and the Youghiogheny River.
  • Much to the delight of fly fishermen, and sometimes to their frustration, brown trout are notorious surface feeders and are a delight to catch on a dry fly.
  • Frequently brown trout can be very discriminating and can tell the difference between a natural insect and a well-crafted imitation.
  • For current recreational size and creel limits, see Maryland's updated regulation page.​

Fun Fact:
  • Brown trout tend to grow bigger, live longer, and tolerate a wider range of habitat types than either brook trout or rainbow trout.
  • Fishermen consider them to be the smartest, most difficult to catch of the trout species found in Maryland.​

Family: Salmonidae (Salmonids)
Order: Salmoniformes (salmons)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)

​For more information on brown trout and their management, please contact Mark Staley - 410-442-2080.

​Illustration: Courtesy of Duane Raver/USFWS​​