Trout Species of North Carolina

Posted in Information.

 

rainbowRainbow Trout
Oncorhynchus Mykiss
Average Stream Size
Length:10 in. to 16 in. Weight: 2 to 6 lbs. 
Rainbow trout are native to the Pacific Ocean and fresh waters of western North America. They naturally range from Mexico to Alaska and inland to the Rockies. However, they have been widely introduced throughout the world, and now occur across central North America to the eastern coast. Rainbow trout were first introduced to Atlantic Canada in the late 1800s.

Food
Rainbow trout take a wide variety of foods, but in freshwater they eat mainly insects, crustaceans, snails, leeches, and other fish if available. Alll trout are opportunistic feeders, which means if a meal, such as a worm or a minnow--or what is perceived by the trout as a meal.

Spawning
They prefer water temperatures of 53 degrees to 64 and do well in clear, cool, deep lakes or cool, clear, moderately-flowing streams with abundant cover and deep pools. They spawn in the spring (usually from March to May) in small tributaries of rivers, or in inlets or outlets of lakes. Spawning can also take place in late fall or early winter.
Life Expectancy
Generally  seldom longer than 6-8 years in the wild.

Description
In North Carolina, the adults in fresh water colors vary from becoming silvery on the sides to becoming yellow on the sides and brown on the back.
Many small black spots cover the head, back, sides and fins, and spots on the tail are in obvious rows. The adipose fin (small fin in front of the tail on the back) has a black border. Mature fish have a distinctive rosy stripe along the side that extends from the gill cover to the caudal fin.
Young rainbow trout (parr): have 5 to 13 well-spaced dark part marks on the sides and show less spotting on the body than adults.

Water Habitat
Rainbow trout prefer very similar habitats to brown trout and can tolerate higher water temperatures. They often use lower reaches of rivers and streams.

 

brownBrown Trout
Salmo Trutta
Average Stream Size
Length: 8 in. to 14 in. Weight: 2 to 4 lbs. 
For centuries before the discovery of rainbows, cutthroats, and brookies, when people went "trout" fishing, they went brown trout fishing. Native to Europe, browns were first formally stocked in the United States on April 11, 1884 in Michigan's Pere Marquette River. Today they can be caught in the Northeast, the Appalachians, the Upper Midwest, and the mountainous regions of the West.

Food
Variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects, earthworms, snails, crayfish, salamanders, frogs, sculpins, dace, and even their own fry. All trout are opportunistic feeders, which means if a meal, such as a worm or a minnow--or what is perceived by the trout as a meal, is usually eaten. Many larger browns are primarily nocturnal feeders, and during prolific insect hatches, browns can be extremely selective about what they'll eat

Spawning
Brown trout spawn in the fall and early winter (October to February) at the same time Brook (speckled) trout spawn, or later.The female uses her body to excavate a nest (redd) in the gravel. She and the male may spawn there several times. A 5 lb female produces about 3400 golden Coloured eggs that are 4 to 5 mm in diameter. Females cover their eggs with gravel after spawning and the adults return downstream. The eggs develop slowly over the winter, hatching in the spring. A good flow of clean, well-oxygenated water is necessary for successful egg development.
After hatching, the young fish (called alevins) remain buried in the gravel and take nourishment from their large yolk-sacs. By the time the yolk-sacs are absorbed, water temperatures have warmed to 44 degrees to 53 degrees. The fish (now known as fry) emerge from the gravel and begin taking natural food.They mature in their third to fifth year and many become repeat spawners.

Life Expectancy
Generally  seldom longer than 6-8 years in the wild.

Description
In North Carolina, their sides are silvery or brownish  yellow and bellies are white or yellowish; dark spots, sometimes encircled by a pale halo, are plentiful on the back and sides; spotting also can be found on the head and the fins along the back; rusty-red spots also occur on the sides; the small adipose (or fatty) fin in front of the tail has a reddish hue; They closely resemble Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout, but salmon have no red coloration on the adipose fin and rainbow trout have lines of black spots on the tail. Young brown trout (parr) have 9-14 dark narrow parr marks along the sides and some red spotting along the lateral line.

Water Habitat
Brown trout prefer very similar habitats to our native brook (speckled) trout except that they can tolerate slightly higher water temperatures. They often use lower reaches of rivers and streams that are unsuitable for brook trout.

 

brookBrook Trout
Salvelinus fontinalis
Average Size
Length: 6 in. to 8 in. Weight: 1/4 to 1/2 lbs. 
The brook trout is regarded, as one of North America's most beautiful native fish species. In the Southern Appalachians, locals  call them "specks." Recent genetic studies suggest that the native brook trout found in the Southern Appalachians, including the mountains of western North Carolina, may be a separate subspecies of the brook trout found farther north.

Food
Variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects, earthworms, snails, crayfish, salamanders, frogs and occasionally small fish. Artificial flies in the 12-18 size.

Spawning
Occurs in fall, generally September through November. Female constructs nest (redd) in gravel. Adults do not guard nest. Numbers of eggs vary from 100 to 5,000 depending upon the size of female. Incubation period varies depending upon water temperature. Eggs hatch in 50 days at 50 F.

Life Expectancy
Generally short-lived, seldom longer than 4 years in the wild. Maximum 8 years.

Description
In North Carolina, brook trout are generally small, ranging in size up to about 8 inch seldom more than 12 inches. They are handsomely colored with the back and upper sides of the body typically olive-green with mottled, dark green wavy markings that extend onto the dorsal and caudal fins. The lower sides are lighter with yellow spots interspersed with fewer spots of bright red surrounded by blue.

Easy Identification:
The lower fins are orange with a narrow black band next to a white band that borders the forward edge. Spawning fish acquire a heightened brilliance when the belly and lower fins become a bright red-orange. The color of a fish can vary from one area to another, depending upon the surrounding habitat.

Water Habitat
Brook trout are most abundant in isolated, high-altitude head- water streams and brooks where the water is free of pollution and rich in oxygen. Brook trout are inherently cold-water fish, and can perform well within a temperature range of 40 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. However, brook trout have been shown to feed at temperatures as low as 34 degrees, and the lethal temperature limit of the brook seems to be around 30 degrees. Brook trout prefer streams with stable water flows, silt-free gravel for spawning and an abundance of deep pools and riffles with sufficient in-stream cover, such as logs, boulders and undercut banks. In North Carolina, brook trout spawning begins in September and continues through November.  The fertilized eggs are covered with gravel and remain in the redd until they hatch in the early spring (usually March)


All Illustrations copyright of Bruce L. Bunch
Visit http://www.brucelbunch.com/