How Do Trout Grow on Trees?

800 450 Stroud Water Research Center
Photo of trout fingerlings in a tank.

While they more literally grow from eggs into alevins, fingerlings, and adults, trout “grow” on trees because their health and survival depend on streamside forests.

Trees growing along stream banks help filter pollutants, prevent bank erosion, keep stream channels wide, normalize temperatures, and enrich aquatic habitat through fallen leaves and branches. They also provide a variety of food to aquatic life through fallen leaves, shade-loving algae, and dissolved substances like nutrients and minerals. Yum! This tree-rific source of food and habitat is as important to macroinvertebrates like mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies as it is to coldwater fish like brook trout.

This means that in freshwater food webs…
TROUT eat the INSECTS on the LEAVES that come from TREES!

Illustration representing a freshwater food web where trout eat insects on leaves that come from trees.

Are you a parent/caregiver or educator looking to make these connections for your kids? Explore Trout Grow on Trees® (TGOT), the Stroud Center’s integrated set of activities designed to educate children of all ages on the important interconnections of healthy forests, healthy streams, and healthy trout populations. Designed primarily for grades 4-12, TGOT environmental education activities complement ongoing Trout in the Classroom (TIC) programs, life science units, tree planting action projects, and macroinvertebrate monitoring. Activities can also be adapted for your remote or at-home learning settings.

Don’t miss out on these resources related to TGOT:
💧 Trout Grow on Trees Activity Guide.
💧 National Trout in the Classroom (TIC) from Trout Unlimited.
💧 Pennsylvania Trout in the Classroom (PA TIC) from the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and the PA Council of Trout Unlimited (PATU), including All About Trout species profiles (Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout) and various education resources under Curriculum Connections.
💧 Pennsylvania Fishes resources from the PFBC.

Trick-or-Trout! Telling Trout Apart

Trout Identification

Looking for a simple guide to common Pennsylvania trout? Use this fun Trout Identification card from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). More fisheries education resources like this are available on their website.