The Berkshire Hatchery Foundation   

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Brown, and brook trout are raised at the Hatchery for local educational and recreational purposes while Atlantic salmon are raised to smolt size for stocking and restoration efforts in the Connecticut River.


Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar)

  • The Atlantic Salmon Story

  • Salmo salar means “the Leaper”; this fish was identified in 1758.

  • Atlantic Salmon are genetically adapted to the specific streams and rivers in which they grow. This is encouraged by their mating in the river system of their birth.

  • Not all Atlantic salmon die after spawning - each year spawned-out kelts survive and return to the sea the following spring. Typically this is less than 10% of a spawning run, however, with the largest fish (30 lbs or more) most likely to be repeat spawners.

  • Typical life span is five to six years, with a maximum of eleven years.

  • Habitat: Streams and rivers; intertidal areas and the open ocean.

  • Diet: At sea a variety of shrimp and fishes, such as herring, sand lance and capelin. In freshwater, aquatic invertebrates and other fishes.


Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

  • Rainbows may live up to 10 years, but the usual life span is six to eight years.

  • There are extreme variations in appearance, depending on the environment - dark spots cover the head, body, fins and tail and a pink band extends the length of the body.

  • The caudal (tail) fin is not forked and body coloration may vary from dark olive to silver.

  • Rainbow trout are native only to the Pacific slope of North America, but have been widely introduced on every continent except Antarctica.

  • Habitat: Clear, cool streams, rivers and lakes in water from 50 to 65°F.

  • Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, salmon eggs, and other smaller fishes.

  • World Record: 43.6 lbs as of June 2007.

  • Other Names: Bow, Redsides, Silver trout, Steelhead (anadramous/migratory form), Kamloops.


Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)

  • Brown Trout are golden brown to silver color with large brown or black spots on the sides, back and dorsal fin.

  • Red or orange spots with halos are generally evident along the sides, and the tail is squarish with few, if any, spots.

  • Are a close relative of Atlantic salmon.

  • Maximum age is typically 4-12 years, but browns may live to be 15 years or more in lakes.

  • Habitat: Streams, lakes and rivers; intertidal areas.

  • Diet: aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates; become piscivorous (fish-eating) at 12".

  • World Record: 40 lbs. 4 oz.

  • Other Names: Germany brown, von Behr, Loch Leven, Brownie, Salters, Sea trout.


Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

  • Brook Trout are distinguished by red spots circled in blue on their sides and darted worm-like markings on the back and dorsal fin.

  • Lower fins are reddish and edged in white and the tail has few, if any, spots.

  • Typically live to be 2-3 old years in small streams; 9-10 years in larger rivers and lakes; with a maximum known age of 24 years.

  • Habitat: Clear, cool streams and rivers; cold ponds and lakes; intertidal areas.

  • Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, smaller fishes, and amphibians.

  • World Record: 14 lbs. 4 oz.

  • Other Names: Speckled trout, Brookie, Eastern brook trout, Brook char, Square tail.


Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush)

  • namaycush, a Native American name, is said to mean "tyrant of the lakes".

  • Lake Trout are extremely long-lived (20-25 years, with a maximum of 62 yrs known) and slow to reproduce (maturity not reached until 8-10 yrs old).

  • The tale is strongly forked, which distinguishes it from brook trout and the inside of the mouth is white.

  • Typically grow to 16-24" and two to five pounds, with a maximum of 40" and 25 lbs.

  • Habitat: Cold lakes and ponds; some populations in deep, slow-moving rivers; rarely in brackish water.

  • Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates; become piscivorous at 14-18".

  • World Record: 72 lbs ("official" record-holder; a 102-pound fish was said to have been caught in 1961, however).

  • Other Names: Laker, Mackinaw, Gray trout, Lake char, Togue, Touladi.