St. Lawrence species

Brook trout

Salvelinus fontinalis

Type of resource

  • Fish
  • Pelagic fish

Other names

Truite mouchetée, truite saumonée, truite de mer, truite des ruisseaux

Status of the resource

  • Vulnérable

In season

Frais à l’année grâce à l’aquaculture.

SIZE : From 15 cm to 32 cm, up to 55 cm.

LIFE EXPECTANCY : From 3 to 5 years; record of 15 years.

LIFE CYCLE : Sexual maturity around 2 or 3 years.

Spawning takes place between late summer and autumn, when temperatures drop below 10 ° C.

The number of eggs laid by a female depends on its weight. They are laid on a gravel bed that is well oxygenated by the current. The male fertilizes the eggs immediately, and the female covers them. The eggs will develop over winter. They hatch after 50 to 100 days, depending on the water temperature.


Brook trout live in family groups and work together to find food. The secret of this strong social bond? Chemical signals emitted by molecules present in the mucus covering each individual.

The brook trout has a stocky, rounded head; a compressed body covered with tiny scales and a long, slightly forked tail.

Its wide mouth reveals a collection of teeth on its jaws, as well as on its palate and tongue. The lower jaw takes on the shape of a hook during the breeding season.

Its back is dark green and is adorned with numerous marblings. The color of brook trout turns silvery in salt water. Its flanks are marked with a series of orange-red spots rimmed with blue. The male has a bright orange belly. The ventral fins are highlighted by two contrasting bands of white and black.

Mainly found in the fresh, well-oxygenated waters of streams, rivers, and lakes.

Its habitat varies throughout its life. In eastern Quebec, when rivers present no obstacles, this fish can migrate to salt water and grow up for some time. It then returns to freshwater to reproduce. It is an anadromous fish.

Crédit : Jean-Christophe Lemay, photo taken in the Rivière Neigette, Rimouski, in 2018.













MACHINES : Gillnets, fly fishing, line fishing.

REGULATIONS : Brook trout is mainly a sports fishing activity. A fishing permit is required.

The sea version of brook trout, also known as sea trout, is fished commercially on the Lower North Shore.

Quebec is home to some 700,000 brook trout anglers. More than half of the brook trout populations are over-fished.

Brook trout is one of the species targeted by aquaculture. It is mainly intended for the re-seeding of natural environments and the sports fishing areas.

BENEFITS Brook trout is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamin B12.

LET’S COOK : Its texture is semi-firm and tender. Orange-pink flesh with a delicate, refined flavor. Brook trout can be prepared in a variety of ways: smoked, dried, grilled, breaded etc.


  • Cook quickly in the oven, at a high temperature to prevent the trout from drying out.
  • When pan-fried, it is well done when the flesh flakes easily with a fork.
  • Keep the head and bones to make fish stock for future chowders.