Brook Trout, Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill 1815)

Other Names: Brook Char, Brookie, Char

A male Brook Trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, showing breeding colours. Source: David Paul / Museum Victoria. License: CC BY Attribution

Although somewhat similar to other trout species, the Brook Trout has a very large mouth that extends beyond the eye. The body is dark olive-green above, with irregular mottling and paler markings, and red spots with bluish halos on the sides.
This native to the east coast of North America was introduced to Australia in the 1870s. Although Brook Trout have been stocked in various lakes and streams in the Murray-Darling Basin, most populations have fortunately failed to establish.

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray, Salvelinus fontinalis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2019,

Brook Trout, Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill 1815)

More Info


Released in the freshwaters of highland NSW with a reproducing population in Clarence Lagoon, Tasmania. Native to Atlantic coast and freshwater of Canada and U.S.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin 10-14; Anal fin 9-12; Pectoral fin 11-14; Gill rakers 14-22; Vertebrae 58-62; Lateral line scales 110-132. 

Body, slender, elongate; moderately laterally com­pressed; head rela­tively large, 22-27% of total length; snout somewhat rounded; mouth terminal, very large, reaching back beyond eyes; teeth present on head of vomer but not on shaft; eye moderate, diameter 15-22% HL; breeding males may develop a hook (or kype) at the front of the lower jaw; well-developed teeth on upper and lower jaws (premaxillary, maxillary, and dentary), on the head of the vomer (not on shaft), on palatines, on tongue (in 2 rows). Scales small, cycloid. 

Dorsal fin high on back originating in front of ventral fins; fleshy adipose fin behind dorsal; anal fin short-based, below adipose fin; caudal fin shallowly forked; pelvic fins abdominal, relatively small, square to rounded with an axillary process at base.


To 85 cm TL.


Coloration is bright in large adults; back dark olive-green with irregular wavy and dense paler markings, sides somewhat paler with red spots surrounded by blue halos; belly silvery-white; dorsal fin and tail olive-green with irregular markings, pectoral, pelvic and anal fins dusky-grey with a bold white stripe along leading edge followed by a contrasting black stripe. Breeding adults with a flush of bright orange-red along sides and belly, and the lower fins become reddish.


Carnivorous feeding on a range of aquatic insects, crustaceans, molluscs and terrestrial insects as well as small fish.


Eggs are deposited in a nest constructed in the gravel by the female. Eggs large 3.5-5.0 mm diameter

Species Citation

Salmo fontinalis Mitchill, S.L. (1815). The fishes of New York, described and arranged. Trans. Lit. Philos. Soc. N.Y. 1(5): 355–492 6 pls [435]. New York, USA.


Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray

Brook Trout, Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill 1815)


Allen et al 2002

Crossman 1973

Lintermans 2007

McDowall 1980

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. (1984). Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management.  Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs 280 col. Figs.

Mitchill, S.L. (1815). The fishes of New York, described and arranged. Trans. Lit. Philos. Soc. N.Y. 1(5): 355–492 6 pls

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37094002



Max Size:85 cm TL

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