What Do Trout Actually Eat? An Inside Look At The Diet Of A Trout

Trout can be picky or voracious eaters depending on what’s available for dinner. Size doesn’t matter to a trout; it will eat something as tiny as a zebra midge larva or a large as an adult mouse. The size of the trout also doesn’t determine its meal size because I have caught 12-inch rainbow trout on 5-inch jerkbaits yet the Missouri state record brown trout of 40 pounds, 6 ounces (only 1.69 pounds under the world record) was caught on a pink Berkley Power Trout Worm attached to a 1/125th-ounce jig head.

Various species of trout can be found throughout the waters of the United States.  The most common species are rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat, steelhead, and lake trout. Knowing the food preference of the trout you are after will improve your catch rate. 

What Do Rainbow Trout Eat?

What Do Trout Eat

Rainbow trout are opportunistic eaters and will gulp down anything that is alive and the right size.  Their diet includes aquatic insects, leeches, crayfish, snails, mussels, and small baitfish. 

What Do Brown Trout Eat?

brown and rainbow trout

Brown trout will also eat a variety of foods but unlike other species, these trout will pursue larger trickier prey. These voracious feeders have an appetite for sculpins, minnows, insects, plankton, snails, crayfish, small turtles, and small mammals such as mice and young mink. 

What Do Brook Trout Eat?

Brook trout

Although brook trout rarely grow beyond 10 pounds, these fish are also opportunistic eaters that will feed on just about anything that falls into the water or drifts by them. Some of their favorite foods are insects, larvae, worms, leeches, frogs, minnows, crayfish and snails. 

What Do Cutthroat Trout Eat?

What Do Trout Eat

The diet of a cutthroat trout is similar to other trout species; however, cutthroats can live in saltwater sometimes so these predators also have an appetite for ocean forage.  Their favorite meals include insects, fish eggs, snails, salmon fry, herring, shrimp, krill, and squid. 

What Do Steelhead Trout Eat?

What Do Trout Eat

Steelhead are actually a subspecies of rainbow trout. These fish are born in freshwater streams, but spend much of their life in saltwater. Steelhead eat a variety of forage such as insects, mayfly nymphs, midge pupa, crabs, crayfish, snails, mussels, fish eggs, smaller fish, and small mammals. 

What Do Lake Trout Eat?

What Do Trout Eat

Lake trout have the potential to reach weights heavier than 100 pounds, which makes this species the largest trout in North America. The lake trout’s diverse diet consists of plankton, insects, crabs, crayfish, lake herring, whitefish, smelt, and freshwater sponges. 

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.7 / 5. Vote count: 7

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?