Brown Trout

We fish we care

Genus  Salmonidae


Brown trout are a medium-sized fish with a large mouth fitted with sharp teeth. The upper body and sides vary in colour from chocolate brown to a light silvery tan. The sides of the body are covered  with markings which can vary from small black spots to quite large brown or red irregular blotches. There are no spots on the tail. The fins contain soft rays which pose no danger of spiking when  handling this species. Brown trout were introduced to Australia in 1864 and are native to Europe and western Asia.



Being a freshwater species brown trout are found in lakes and streams throughout the cooler parts of Victoria with the central highlands and the south west being well known for quality fishing.  Populations found in most lakes and reservoirs are dependent upon stockings by Fisheries Victoria which rely on suitable water levels and conditions. Information on stockings can be requested from Fisheries Victoria. The shallow margins of lakes produce good fishing, particularly when water levels are rising.



Most brown trout caught in Victorian waters would range in size from 400 grams up to two kilograms. Larger fish up to 3 kg are caught less frequently and occasionally brown trout up to 4.5 kg or  more are encountered.


Fishing techniques and tackle

Light tackle is the key to catching brown trout. A 1.8-2.1 metre rod with a matching reel and 2-3 kg line is a good starting point. If bait fishing on the bottom, the weight of the sinker should be kept to  a minimum. Fishing with unweighted baits is even better. Suspending baits below or behind a bubble or quill float is an excellent technique. Hooks need to be small (size 6-10) and preferably  chemically sharpened. Prime times to fish are around dawn and dusk, but brown trout can be caught throughout the day and night as well. A wide variety of lures including spoons, small bibbed  hardbodies and spinning lures with revolving blades are proven trout takers. Soft plastic lures which resemble small fish are also very effective. Fly fishing is another popular and exciting method to try.



Brown trout feed on a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects, as well as small bait fish. Common baits include scrubworms, minnows, mudeyes, grasshoppers and black crickets. The key is to  ensure that baits are presented alive.



Waters in central Victoria that are traditionally known for producing brown trout include Newlyn Reservoir, Cairn Curran Reservoir, Lake Fyans and Tullaroop Reservoir. Renowned waters in the  south west include Wurdee Boluc Reservoir, Lake Purrumbete, Lake Bullen Merri and the Hopkins and Merri Rivers.



Sustainable fishing techniques

  • Hook damage is the most significant cause of fish dying after being released. Deep-hooked (gills, gut) fish are far less likely to survive.
  • Fish with a tight line so that fish are less likely to swallow the hook.
  • Increase the size of your hooks to prevent small fish swallowing them.
  • Avoid suspending fish on the hook.
  • Fish hooked in the mouth or lip have the best chance of survival.
  • Remove the hook with long nosed pliers.
  • If you can’t see the whole hook protruding from the mouth of the fish don’t try and remove it.
  • Cut the line and release the fish.
  • Wet your hands before handling the fish.
  • Avoid touching the gills and eyes.
  • Return the fish as quickly as possible.