The Trout Of New York For many years, these strong, streamlined, colorful fish have been among the most popular game fish in New York State. Their beauty and fighting ability attracts the skilled, as well as the novice, angler.
The DEC annually stocks millions of these fish into waters across New York State to provide anglers with additional trout fishing opportunity. Several private groups have been formed by citizens committed to protecting trout habitat.
Trout live in a variety of habitats, ranging from small mountain streams to the enormous Great Lakes. They require cool, clean water to survive and are often the first species to disappear from polluted waters. Similar to salmon, trout are fairly primitive fish, with small scales and soft-rayed fins. Their lower ventral or pelvic fins are set well back on the body and a small lobe-shaped fin sits behind the single dorsal back fin.
Trout are highly variable in color. In streams, they have spots or wavy lines over backgrounds ranging from dark olive to light brown. In large lakes, they are often silvery. Trout also vary a great deal in size. Two - five pounds for a stream brook trout.
Spawning Rainbow trout spawn or reproduce in the spring, while New York's other trout spawn in the fall. Like salmon, most trout species build nests. Using their tails to fan the bottom, female trout create a depression in clean gravel or cobble sites in streams and, occasionally, in seepage areas in ponds. The males remain nearby and drive off rivals. When the nest is ready, the eggs are deposited, quickly fertilized, and covered under a layer of gravel. Both adults then move on, leaving the eggs and young to develop on their own.
Trout eggs are larger and fewer in number than those of many other fish species. For example, while a mature female walleye may have 50,000 to 100,000 eggs, a mature female trout may only have 1,000 to 3,000 eggs. After the trout eggs hatch, the young fish remain in the gravel for about one week before emerging to feed.
An interesting fact is that although rainbow trout spawn later than other New York trout species, their eggs still hatch at about the same time in the spring. This is because the amount of time required for fish eggs to develop depends on the water temperature. Eggs develop faster in warm water than in cool water. Therefore, the eggs deposited in the fall take longer to hatch - as they develop over the winter - than those deposited in the early spring, allowing the eggs of each species to hatch at a similar time.