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Salvelinus fontinalis  (Mitchill, 1814)

Brook trout
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Native range | All suitable habitat | Point map | Year 2100
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Salvelinus fontinalis   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Salvelinus fontinalis
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Australia country information

Common names: Brook char, Brook trout, Brookie
Occurrence: introduced
Salinity: freshwater
Abundance: | Ref:
Importance: | Ref:
Aquaculture: commercial | Ref: Arthington, A.H. and F. McKenzie, 1997
Regulations: | Ref:
Uses: no uses
Comments: Introduced to the Murray-Darling basin, in the State of New South Wales (NSW) and released in the freshwaters of highland areas. Also introduced to Tasmania with a reproducing population in Clarence Lagoon, Tasmania (Ref. 7300). Also known from streams and lakes of the Tyndall Ranges, Tasmania, and from the one stream near Armidale, NSW (Ref. 44894). The species has established self-sustaining populations in at least five streams and several lakes in New South Wales. It has been stocked, and is now also established by natural reproduction in the Thredbo River (including its tributary Little Thredbo River, and Lake Crackenback), Lake Jindabyne (near Jindabyne), Three Mile Dam (near Kiandra), Dry Dam (near Cabramurra), Rainbow Lake (near Perishers Creek), the upper Tooma River (near Khancoban), Ogilvies Creek (a tributary of the Tooma River), Pinch River and Jacobs River (near Ingebyra). In Tasmania, the species' distribution has been expanded considerably in recent times. While the Clarence Lagoon and Clarence River population continues to flourish, there are also self-sustaining populations in the Anthony/Henty river systems on the West Coast of Tasmania. The large hydro-generating Lake Plimsoll (near Tullah) and the nearby natural waters Lake Rolleston and Lake Selina (and their tributaries) all contain self-reproducing populations of brook trout. In addition to these established populations, hatchery reared brook trout (1+ aged fish) now also comprise a significant share of the liberations of trout made for ‘put-and-take’ angling purposes within Tasmania’s Central Plateau and lower elevation hydroelectricity reservoirs such as Dee Lagoon, Bronte Lagoon (near Bronte Village), Brady’s Lake, Lake Binney (near Tarraleah), Lake Leake (near Campbell Town) Lake Meadowbank (near Maydena), Brushy Lagoon (near Westbury) and Craigbourne Dam (near Colebrook) (Glen Power, pers. Comm., 2007). The species has self-sustaining populations in at least five rivers and one lake in New South Wales. They are the Thredbo River and its smaller tributaries and Lake Jindabyne (Snowy Mountains), Ogilvies Creek (a tributary of the Tooma River, NSW, where the species was stocked in the 1980s and 90s), the Pinch and Jacobs Rivers (tributaries of the Snowy River) and one stream in the New England Tablelands District of New South Wales. In Tasmania, the species' distribution has been expanded considerably in recent times. While the Clarence Lagoon and Clarence River population continues to flourish, there are also self-sustaining populations in the Anthony/Henty river systems on the West Coast of Tasmania. The large hydroelectric lake and the nearby natural lakes Rolleston and Selina (and their tributaries) all contain brook trout (Glen Power, pers. comm., 2001).
National Checklist:
Country Information:
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: McKay, R.J., 1989
National Database:

Classification / Names

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Salmoniformes (Salmons) > Salmonidae (Salmonids) > Salmoninae
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL

Common names from other countries

Main reference

Size / Weight / Age

Max length : 86.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7248); common length : 26.4 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12193); max. published weight: 8.0 kg (Ref. 100229); max. reported age: 24 years (Ref. 72501)


Marine; freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic; anadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 15 - 27 m (Ref. 3899)

Climate / Range

Temperate; 0°C - 25°C (Ref. 35682); 65°N - 30°N, 95°W - 52°W


North America: native to most of eastern Canada from Newfoundland and Labrador to western side of Hudson Bay; south in Atlantic, Great Lakes, and Mississippi River basins to Minnesota and northern Georgia (Applachian Mountains), USA; headwaters of Chattahoochee River (Gulf basin). Introduced widely in North America and temperate regions of other continents. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.
Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions

Short description

Dorsal spines (total): 3 - 4; Dorsal soft rays (total): 8-14; Anal spines: 3-4; Anal soft rays: 8 - 14; Vertebrae: 58 - 62. Distinguished by the combination of dark green marbling on its back and dorsal fin and by the red spots with blue halos on its sides (Ref. 27547). Pelvic fins with axillary process; caudal nearly straight or with a shallow indentation (Ref. 27547). Color varies, but generally rather green to brownish on back, marked with paler vermiculations or marbling that extend onto the dorsal fin and sometimes the caudal; sides lighter than back, marked with numerous pale spots and some red spots, each of the latter surrounded by a blue halo; anal, pelvic and pectoral fins with a white leading edge followed by a dark stripe, the rest of the fins reddish (Ref. 27547). In spawning fish the lower sides and fins become red (Ref. 27547). Sea-run fish are dark green above with silvery sides, white bellies and very pale pink spots (Ref. 27547). Caudal fin with 19 rays (Ref. 2196).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Occurs in clear, cool, well-oxygenated creeks, small to medium rivers, and lakes (Ref. 5723, 86798). Nerito-pelagic (Ref. 58426). In its native range, general upstream movements have been observed in early spring, summer and late fall; downstream movements, in late spring and fall (Ref. 28546, 28548, 28549, 28550). Some fish, popularly known as salters, run to the sea in the spring as stream temperature rises, but never venture more than a few kilometers from river mouths. It may remain at sea for up to three months (Ref. 28546, 28549, 28551). Feeds on a wide range of organisms including worms, leeches, crustaceans, insects (chironomids, caddisflies, blackflies, mayflies, stoneflies and dragonflies (Ref. 5951), mollusks, fishes and amphibians (Ref. 3348, 10294); also small mammals (Ref. 1998). Stomachs of some individuals contained traces of plant remains (Ref. 1998). There are reports of introduced fish reaching 15 years of age in California, USA (Ref. 28545). Cultured for food and for stocking (Ref. 27547). Extensively used as an experimental animal (Ref. 1998). Marketed fresh and smoked; eaten fried, broiled, boiled, microwaved, and baked (Ref. 9988).

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

Threat to humans

  Potential pest

Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums


Special reports

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Internet sources

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805)
PD50 = 0.5000 many relatives (e.g. carps) 0.5 - 2.0 few relatives (e.g. lungfishes)

Trophic Level (Ref. 69278)
3.3   ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.

Resilience (Ref. 69278)
Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (tm=1-3; tmax=7)

Vulnerability (Ref. 59153)
Moderate vulnerability (43 of 100)
Price category (Ref. 80766)
Very high