Eastern Australian Salmon, Arripis trutta (Forster 1801)

Other Names: Australian Salmon, Bay Trout, Black Back, Blackback, Blackback Salmon, Buck, Buck Salmon, Cocky Salmon, Colonial Salmon, East Australian Salmon, Kahawai, Newfish, Salmon, Salmon Trout

A school of Eastern Australian Salmon, Arripis trutta, at Jimmies Island, Batemans Bay, New South Wales. Source: Andrew J. Green / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution


A popular sports fish with a dark bluish-green body, and indistinct rows of spots forming narrow irregular bands along the upper sides. Juveniles have golden bars on the upper sides that break up into spots in larger individuals, a yellowish pectoral fin with a black basal spot, and a black margin on the caudal fin. The scales of Eastern Australian Salmon feel smooth to touch, especially those of large fish.

Eastern Australian Salmon schooling at Bawley Point, New South Wales.

Video of juvenile Eastern Australian Salmon in the surf at the mouth of the Thurra River, Croajingolong National Park, Victoria.

Video on Australian Salmon research by FRDC (Arripis trutta): population structure, reproduction, diet and composition of commercial & recreational catches in New South Wales.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Arripis trutta in Fishes of Australia, accessed 12 Jul 2020,

Eastern Australian Salmon, Arripis trutta (Forster 1801)

More Info


Known in Australian waters from about Moreton Bay, southern Queensland, to western Victoria and northern Tasmania, occasionally reaching Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Also at Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. The species is abundant in New Zealand, ranging eastwards to the Chatham Islands.

Eastern Australia Salmon undertake migrations of up to thousands of kilometres, and form vast schools along oceanic beaches and exposed areas coastal areas.

Juveniles form small schools in coastal bays and estuaries, mostly in the southern part of their range.


Body long, slender, streamlined; edge of bone under before eye with prominent serrations in smaller fish; scales smooth to touch in large fish. Length of caudal fin lobe about the same as head length. 


To 89 cm


Dark blue green above, silvery white below, with golden bars on the upper sides in juveniles that break up into large spots in slightly larger individuals, a bright yellow pectoral fin bright yellow, and caudal and spinous portion of dorsal fin with a blackish margin.


Carnivore - feeds mostly on small pelagic baitfish, but also on pelagic crustaceans such as krill.


Matures at about 4 years of age at about 39 cm. Spawns in the surf zone between Lakes Entrance and Bermagui during late spring and summer. Large migratory schools are often seen moving along the open coast, and juveniles may be found in bays and estuaries.


Commercially fished in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, and taken mostly with purse-seine and beach haul nets. This highly-prized fighting fish is also taken with rod and reel using baited hooks and spinning lures. Considered to be a strong-flavoured fish with relatively dark pink flesh.

Similar Species

Very similar to and difficult to distinguish from the Western Australian Salmon, Arripis truttaceus. The species differ in gill rakers counts - Eastern Australian Salmon have 33-40 on the first gill arch, vs about 25-31 in the Western Australian Salmon.

Species Citation

Sciaena trutta Forster, 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae: 542. Type locality: Wellington Harbour, New Zealand, 41°16'S, 174°53'E (neotype).


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Eastern Australian Salmon, Arripis trutta (Forster 1801)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37344002

Behaviour:Schooling species

Depth:0-50 m

Fishing:Commercial and sports fish

Habitat:Pelagic inshore

Max Size:100 cm TL; 15 kg

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map