Trout and Trout Fishing in the UK

I called this post The Trout Family in the UK but I also want to talk about the species as well as the fishing.

The Trout family in the UK

Trout is a name for a number of freshwater species belonging to the Salmonidae family, including salmon, trout, chars, freshwater whitefishes, and grayling. This includes Sea Trout. The main species of Trout in the UK are Brown Trout.

Dillons super brownie

Brown Trout [Salmo trutta ] are a native species to the British Isles, Sea Trout and Brown Trout are the same species It is thought that it is a combination of genetics and environmental factors such as lack of food that make some sea trout go to sea before returning to spawn, This is known as an anadromous lifestyle. The Sea Trout in the British Isles have many regional names Sewin in [Wales] Finnock in [Scotland] peal in [the West Country] Mort in North West England and White Trout in Ireland.

Different species of Trout are capable of spawning together and producing offspring but Trout have remained distinct for thousands of years because they have a different life approach such as the fishes choice of spawning locations and/or the timing or differing openings within the food chain.

Brown Trout

Another species that is popular within the UK is the Rainbow Trout [oncorhynchus mykiss]  The Rainbow Trout is a salmonid and is native to the tributaries of the Pacific Ocean and in North America, the rainbow or Steelhead as it is known is a very popular sport fish. The Steelhead is a sea-run fish [anadromous] and returns to freshwater to spawn just like the UK’s Sea Trout. The Steelhead usually returns to freshwater after 2 or 3 years at sea it is also referred to as a salmon trout, several other fish in the Salmonid family are called trout and some are anadromous like salmon whereas others are resident in freshwater only. A great site to learn more about the Rainbow Trout [Steelhead] is

Ferox trout are a fantastic example of the genetic diversity that exists within wild brown trout.  Since the term Ferox was first coined in 1835 by the renowned angler scientist Sir William Jardine, various authors have attempted to define what exactly a Ferox is, for example:

Ferox are long-lived, late-maturing, piscivorous brown trout which in Britain and Ireland, are often present in large, deep glacier-formed lakes containing Arctic charr or whitefish species,

Ferox trout are found throughout the brown trout’s native range, wherever there are large glacial lakes.  In Britain, they are found mainly in Scotland and Ireland but there are also thought to be populations in some Welsh lakes and in the English Lake District. In Campbell’s (1979) study, Ferox were mainly found in lochs of over 100 ha with Arctic charr present, however, Ferox do occasionally occur in smaller lochs such as the 20ha Loch Bhrotain, in Inverness.

Ferox Trout

Trout fishing

The most popular way to fish for Trout in the UK is with the Fly indeed most clubs specifically insist fly only, fishing lures and worm are also used especially where the fishing is predominantly for coarse fish, Some clubs insist on a dry fly only rule, this goes back to the time when famous anglers fished the southern chalk streams of England like the River Itchen and the River Test, anglers like Frederick M Halford was a businessman who retired to fish he wrote books on dry fly fishing and historically is the man that made dry fly fishing into an art and wet fly fishing was looked down on and even to this day it remains the same on many rivers in this country.[Halford]  he wrote Floating Flies and How To Dress Them and many more were penned.

The Itchen is regarded as one of England’s finest chalk stream Trout rivers along with the River Test , famous angling writers fished the Itchen like G E M Skues who was probably the inventor of modern-day nymph fishing and wrote numerous books on fly fishing his first book Minor Tactics of the Chalk Stream was his effort towards restoring wet fly fishing back to its rightful place on the chalk streams of England.[Skues]

Sir Edward Grey was a prominent statesman in British politics in the early 1900s and is the man who sent Briton into the First World War [grey] he wrote books based on the Itchen, Cottage Book Itchen Abbas 1894-1905 and Fly Fishing.

The Dry fly fishing in the UK is more of a keeping with Tradition with some angling clubs and remains a great way to catch a Trout although wet fly fishing is as popular as ever and Nymph fishing is as diverse as the fly fishing with a huge variation of size shapes and colours.


Arctic Char

There are around 340 separate populations in the British Isles and they are often described as ‘remnants of the Ice Age’ perhaps because of their association with the Arctic and the fact that they [along with other species including Trout and Greyling] populated our waters soon after the glaciers retreated around 12.000 years ago. They arrived as sea run Char, and then subsequently lost their sea migratory tendencies: becoming freshwater resident populations, occupying mainly the deep lakes of Scotland and the Lake District. Click here for stunning Arctic Char video.  char

100 Trout facts courtesy of the Wild Trout Trust.  100 facts

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