We are the UK voice campaigning for wild trout and their habitats

Brown Trout are the UK's only native trout species, with a range of unique and inspiring features

Learn more about trout below; their lifecycle, the threats they face, and what we are doing to help protect and nurture them.

Fascinating species & lifecycle

Trout (brithyll in Welsh / breac in Gaelic) either spend all of their lives in rivers and lakes, or migrate to the sea as sea trout.

Brown and sea trout are therefore the same species and can even derive from the same parents.

Often it is the female that migrates to sea, with the increased feeding opportunities being especially beneficial to producing the maximum number of healthy eggs to spawn the next generation.

Important indicator species

The presence of wild brown trout is usually indicative of clear, clean water and a healthy environment; with fish rising to take flies from the water surface being one of the iconic sights from the riverbank.

Fortunately, brown trout can withstand a certain amount of poorer water quality for a limited time, which is a good thing for the species, as traditional trout rivers are not as clear and unpolluted as they once were, or appear to be today to the casual glance.



Why do trout need our help?

Wild trout are under threat from a range of issues across the UK


Many rivers are no longer clean and healthy but suffer degraded water quality and loss of habitat and food chains. Modern intensive agriculture, road run-off, water abstraction and poorly treated sewage are largely to blame.

Excessive water abstraction and impoundment alters the natural flow of rivers, reducing available habitat. It also exacerbates the impact of poor water quality by cutting back dilution of water pollutants.

This impacts upon the variety and abundance of freshwater invertebrates - the brown trout’s principle diet - which are much less abundant than in past decades.

In many rivers, brown trout are unable to reach the best spawning areas because of man-made barriers, such as hydro-electric dams or impassable weirs.

Barriers that are passable for young trout can still hinder their journey, slowing them down and making them easy targets for bird, mammal and fish predators.

Young sea trout are forced to run the gauntlet of open-net salmon farms, where sea lice incubated in vast, unnatural numbers on farmed fish latch on to and kill wild fish.

Sea trout are especially susceptible to sea lice in salmon farming areas because they tend to forage along the coast during their marine phase, rather than moving with salmon into the open ocean.

Although Salmon & Trout Conservation address all the above issues, we particularly campaign for improved water quality and, therefore better habitat and stronger food chains for trout.

We achieve this, with your support, based on the core principles that:

We rely on your support to protect wild fish

and the places they live

By donating or joining as a member you will be making a huge contribution to the fight to protect the UK's waters and ensure a sustainable future for wild fish.

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