Brown Trout are widespread - and the most numerous fish - in the Upper Don catchment and also found in the Dearne and Dove rivers although overall less widespread and numerous than other fish there. A distinct population exists in the upper reaches of the Dearne.
The Brown Trout is a golden-brown fish with a dark back and creamy-yellow belly. Its back and sides display dark, reddish spots with pale borders.
Smaller than Salmon, it can be distinguished from the non-native Rainbow Trout by its plain, dark tail fin and by the lack of a purple side-stripe.
A medium to large fish, the Brown Trout lives in unpolluted, fast-flowing, stony and gravelly rivers. They move up and down rivers and streams and sometimes in and out of lakes at various times during their lives, for spawning, feeding and shelter. It is a predatory fish, feeding on insect larvae, small fish and flying insects, such as mayflies and damselflies.
Spawning occurs between November and February when the water is carrying the most dissolved oxygen necessary for eggs to hatch during the winter. The females (accompanied by a number of males) lay their eggs on gravelly beds. Fertilised externally, the eggs are buried in the gravel. The young fish, called 'fry', hatch and feed on the nutritious yolk sac before moving on to feed on invertebrates.
Wild Brown Trout face a number of threats, both natural and man-made, including habitat deterioration, pollution, extreme weather events, such as droughts, and predators, such as Kingfishers, Herons and Mink.
They require rivers and streams with relatively cool, unpolluted water and clean, unsilted gravels, in which the eggs are laid, for successful spawning.
A further cause for concern would be the dilution of the genetic variation found in trout populations from stocking with fish from fish farms or other areas.
For further information on distribution, conservation and actions relating to Grayling and other local priority fish species follow the links below.
Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)
UKBAP priority species
NERC Act Section 41 Species of Principal Importance
National priority species in Biodiversity 2020
Brown Trout is a Local Priority Species because of its national status and the potential for its conservation in Barnsley.
Brown Trout populations are only protected by fishing regulations and conditions set by the Environment Agency.
Wild Trout Trust resources
Salmon & Trout Conservation Trout