North America is home to a variety of freshwater trout, ranging from a few inches in length, to trophy fish that can weight 30 pounds or more.

Arctic Char

The Arctic char is a member of the Salmonidae family which includes salmon and trout. The most common name (char) is sometimes spelled charr. Arctic char are found in both freshwater and saltwater in Arctic, sub-Arctic and alpine waters. Char are found in Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, the United Kingdom, Northern Europe, Scandinavia, and Russia.

Brook Trout

Brook trout are gray, with patterns of red, yellow and orange, topped off with cream spots and white tipped fins. They are typically smaller than other trout. On average, brook trout reach sizes of 7-12 inches, these colorful fish occasionally reach lengths of 18 inches or more.

Brook trout are members of the char sub-group, which includes lake trout, bull trout, Dolly Varden and arctic char. The brook trout is the only stream-dwelling trout native to the Great Lakes.

Brown Trout

Brown trout are native to Europe and Asia but have been stocked successfully in the North America and other regions. Freshwater brown trout vary color from silvery with few spots and a white belly, to the typical brown fading to creamy white on the fish’s belly, with medium-sized spots surrounded by lighter coloration. The silver forms of brown trout are sometimes mistaken for rainbow trout.

Lake Trout

Lake trout are another member of the “char” sub-group of salmonine fishes; distinct from the “true” trout and salmon. Lake trout have small, light, irregular shaped spots on a silvery-to-dark background, although color can vary considerably depending on seasons and local conditions. Lake trout can be distinguished from other char by the absence of pink spots and their deeply forked tail. They average one to three pounds, but trophy fish topping 25 pounds are possible.

Rainbow Trout

The rainbow trout is one of the most respected and sought after North American trout. Rainbow trout occur as both freshwater resident and sea-run races. These colorful trout are native to western North America, but have been widely introduced to waters throughout the USA, Canada and other countries around the world.

The flesh of rainbow trout has a mild but distinctive flavor. Wild rainbow trout have a reputation as having superior flavor compared to farmed fish. The fish is prepared in a variety of ways, often cooked with head and fins intact, which makes for an appealing presentation.


The steelhead is a sea-going form of rainbow trout. Sea-run steelhead tend to be more flavorful than freshwater forms of rainbow trout.

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