Albert R. Mann Library
Male Brook trout

Beside this I got a rare mess of golden and silver and bright cupreous fishes, which looked like a string of jewels.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Anglers on Cayuga Lake and its tributaries can expect to encounter four species of trout. The two species native to the Finger Lakes region, brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), are actually char, not “true” trout. Both thrive in cold, highly oxygenated waters. Both have suffered precipitous declines. Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), which are closely related to Pacific salmon, are native to western North America. They were first introduced to New York waters in the 1870’s. Brown trout (Salmo trutta), which are closely related to Atlantic salmon, were introduced to New York from Germany in 1883. The populations of all of these trout are maintained by the DEC, which annually releases millions of hatchery-raised fish.