Trout and Salmonids

General Description

Trout were introduced into Australian waters in the late 1800’s from the northern hemisphere. A popular species amongst recreational fishers, trout occur in streams, lakes and rivers across Victoria.

In Victoria, there are several types of trout and salmonids in our waters including brown, rainbow, brook and cheetah trout as well as chinook salmon.

Brown Trout

Brown trout (Salmo trutta) occur in cool streams, lakes and reservoirs. Brown trout vary in colour depending on their habitat, age and diet. They are usually brown or olive in colour overall, however, they may appear silvery. They have dark spots on the upper body, sides, dorsal fin and gill covers. The spots are often surrounded by an often reddish, light halo.

According to the Victorian Fisheries Authority, the populations of brown trout in Victoria are roughly divided into two parts – the eastern and western stocks. In western Victoria, most suitable waters rely on stocking with hatchery fish by the Victorian Fisheries Authority. In eastern Victoria, the populations are mainly self-sustaining.

Populations of brown trout that are self-sustaining and breed in rivers are referred to as ‘wild trout.’

Wild Trout

Wild trout are self-sustaining populations of brown trout that typically occur in the higher reaches of our trout streams. Wild trout are admired for their colouration and the unique fishing experience they provide for anglers.

Wild trout populations have demonstrated that they are resilient, while their numbers fluctuate due to environmental factors, they bounce back when conditions are suitable. The performance of the wild trout fishery is dictated by external factors (climate and river health) and not the effects of recreational fishing.

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout are native to North America and were introduced to Australia in the late 1800’s.

The colour of the fish is often dependent on the environment. Rainbow trout vary from being olive-green to steely-blue in colour, they have lighter sides and often a a silvery-white belly. They have small, dark spots on the body and head. Along the sides of the body, there is often a pink, red or orange stripe.

As with brown trout, rainbow trout are stocked annually into many Victorian waters through the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s fish stocking program.

Brook Trout

Brook trout are an introduced species from North America that are currently only approved to be stocked into Lake Purrumbete by the Victorian Fisheries Authority. However, the species is widely farmed in hatcheries across the state for its table qualities.

Cheetah Trout

Cheetah trout are a hybrid species, they are a cross between a female rainbow trout and a male brook trout. In 2019, cheetah trout were first stocked into Victorian waters at Lake Purrumbete.

Tiger Trout

Tiger trout are a sterile hybrid created from a cross between a male brook trout and a female brown trout.

We currently don’t have tiger trout in Victoria. In 2018, we wrote an article ‘Hopes for Tiger Trout to Roar into Victoria‘ which received a high level of interest in stocking the species from anglers.

Chinook Salmon

Chinook Salmon is an introduced species. In Victoria, they have previously been stocked by the Victorian Fisheries Authority in the south-west including Lake Purrumbete and Lake Bullen Merri.

Where to Find

Trout are often stocked into Victorian lakes and some rivers for recreational fishing opportunities. There are also a number of Family Fishing Lakes across the state which are stocked with trout prior to the winter and spring school holidays.

Fishing Rules

There is an annual trout and salmonid closed season on rivers and streams with dates varying each year. Check the Victorian Fisheries Authority‘s current Victorian Recreational Fishing Guide for this year’s dates.

Some rivers have specific regulations that apply to trout. For the rules and regulations regarding trout and salmonids, visit the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s Trout and Salmonids regulations page.

Threats and Management Issues


Subscribe to our mailing list

Join our 50,000+ subscribers in receiving our Fishing Lines News delivered straight to your inbox. Don’t miss out on all the issues affecting your fishing, projects improving your fishing and opportunities to have your say about your fishery.

* indicates required
Communication Preferences (tick all that apply)