WISCONSIN -- Early inland streams catch and release season for trout opens on Jan. 7. Dress warm and make sure to have a 2022-2023 general fishing license and inland trout stamp, which are both good until March 31, 2023. All regulations apply.

Do you know the physical differences between Wisconsin’s four species of inland trout?

Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

Look for the tell-tale “worm-like” markings, known as vermiculations, on the back and red spots with blue halos. They also have red lower fins with a white leading edge and a noticeably square tail fin. Brook trout length tends to range between 4-12 inches.

Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)

Typically, they are between 10-16 inches and have an overall brown to yellow-brown coloring, with black and red spots.

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Also known as steelhead on the Great Lakes, they most often have a pink to red lateral stripe in the middle of their body, with many spots and a darker back. They also have a spotted square tail and tend to reach 12-16 inches.

Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush)

Lake Trout have a deeply forked tail and white inside of their mouth. They are usually a light green or grey to dark green or almost black with light spots and worm-like markings on their back and sides. Lake trout are also Wisconsin’s largest inland trout species, growing to 20-30 inches.

Learn more on how to ID salmon or trout on the DNR’s species page.

Last Update: Jan 06, 2023 9:48 am CST

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