Are Lake Trout and Brown Trout the Same?


Lake trout and brown trout are two popular types of fish that are often confused with each other. While they do have some similarities, they are actually two completely different species of fish. In this article, we will explore the differences between lake trout and brown trout.

Lake Trout

Lake trout, also known as Mackinaw or grey trout, are a freshwater fish typically found in colder bodies of water such as lakes in Canada and parts of the northern United States. They are a popular game fish due to their large size and challenging fight.

Appearance: Lake trout have dark green to greyish-blue backs with lighter sides and bellies. They have small scales that are almost invisible to the naked eye, and their fins have white leading edges.

Size: Lake trout can grow up to 3 feet long and weigh over 40 pounds.

Diet: Lake trout primarily feed on other fish such as whitefish, smelt, and ciscoes.

Brown Trout

Brown trout are another popular freshwater fish found in many parts of the world. They are known for their beautiful coloring and elusive behavior, making them a favorite among fly fishermen.

Appearance: Brown trout have a distinctive pattern of black or dark brown spots on a light brown or yellowish background. Their fins also typically have red or orange spots.

Size: Brown trout are smaller than lake trout, typically growing up to 2 feet long and weighing around 5-6 pounds.

Diet: Brown trout feed on a variety of aquatic insects, small fish, and crustaceans.

Differences Between Lake Trout and Brown Trout

While both lake trout and brown trout are freshwater fish, there are several key differences between the two:

  • Appearance: Lake trout have a darker, bluish-green color with almost invisible scales, while brown trout have distinctive black or brown spots on a lighter background.
  • Size: Lake trout are typically larger than brown trout and can weigh over 40 pounds, while brown trout usually max out around 6 pounds.
  • Diet: While both fish primarily feed on other fish, lake trout tend to Target larger prey such as whitefish and ciscoes, while brown trout feed on smaller aquatic insects and crustaceans.


In conclusion, lake trout and brown trout may look similar at first glance, but they are actually two distinct species of fish with different appearances, sizes, and diets. Whether you’re an angler or just a nature enthusiast, understanding the differences between these two fish can help you appreciate their unique characteristics and habitats.

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Emma Gibson