What Does Trout Taste Like? A Detailed Answer

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It’s time to accustom your taste buds to the healthiest fishes. When it was the time to try out trout, were you reluctant? Did you wish someone would tell you all about, “What does trout taste like?”. Hey! You are the perfect place to know all about trout and its taste.


Trout is a freshwater fish with a mild flavor and a delicate texture. Many deem the taste of trout to be similar to mild salmon. The neutral, delicate trout flavor makes it a versatile fish you should try. Different varieties of trout have varying flavors and textures that can be enjoyed in many ways.

Well, I will not stop with these three sentences about the taste of trout. There are various types of trout with different flavor profiles. For your better understanding, we can compare trout with the taste of most-eaten fishes. So, shall we look into the article and know more about trout? 

What Is Trout?

Trout is a freshwater fish that belongs to the salmon family. It has an elongated silver-colored body with spots of various colors. It is not easy to categorize trout since it changes color easily depending on the time of the year, age, and sunlight. 

This makes it the ‘chameleon fish.’ There are wide varieties of trout – rainbow trout, golden trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and tiger trout. We will discuss these in detail in the coming sections. 

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What Does Trout Taste Like?

The thing about trout is you can’t assign a particular flavor to it since there are wide varieties of trout. In general terms, trout has a mild flavor similar to salmon. As a matter of fact, trout technically behaves like salmon. So its mild flavor isn’t a big surprise, huh?  

Freshwater trout has a flavor comparable to catfish, while saltwater trout has an intense, gamey flavor. Did you know that trout is called the ‘chicken of the sea’ due to its bland, adaptable flavor similar to that of chicken? 

Is Trout A Good Tasting Fish?

Trout is an exception to the dictum that saltwater fish tastes better than freshwater fish. Trout has a mild, delicate taste that can be complemented with the right seasonings, and the result is something worth spending all your time and money on.

Trout is a good-tasting fish when fresh and doesn’t have a strong fishy taste. Trout has a versatile taste that can be used instead of fish with a strong flavor.

Does Trout Taste Fishy?

So, you must wonder if trout tastes fishy like other fish you commonly eat. Trout tastes fishy due to the high-fat content in it. That said, it tastes fishier than white fish but is not so much of an intense fishy flavor. It is still a freshwater fish with a mild flavor. Keep in mind that the flavor of trout is hugely dependent on its diet as well.

Does Trout Taste Gamey?

I am sure you know what the gamey flavor implies. The strong savory flavor comes from meat when it is spoiled. It is basically a wild flavor that is also the result of the fat content in the animal’s meat. So, does trout taste gamey? Let us see.

Trout can taste gamey based on the area from which it is sourced and the way it is prepared. That said, trout can have a more gamey flavor than salmon, mostly compared to flavor. 

Is Rainbow Trout Fishy Tasting?

Rainbow trout is a variety of trout which is one of the top sporting fishes in North America. It is one of the healthiest fish choices with a good concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids. Rainbow trout has a mild nut-like, delicate flavor and doesn’t taste fishy. It has a tender texture that is soft and flaky. 

What Does Trout Taste Like Compared To Other Fish?

Do you say you will have a better idea if I compare the taste of trout with other fish? That’s alright since I am about to do that. When compared to other fishes, trout has a mild, delicate flavor. Let us closely compare trout with fish such as bass, catfish, cod, and salmon.

Trout Vs. Bass

Trout and bass are one of the best fishes used for sporting activities. Both of these fishes have wide varieties as well. Bass comprises both freshwater and marine species.

Bass has a clean, buttery flavor and a firm, meaty texture, while trout has a mild flavor and a flaky texture. Although both are delicious, trout is better tasting than bass. 

Trout Vs. Catfish

Catfish is a type of ray-finned fish known for the barbels, which are like cats’ whispers, located on either side of the mouth. What distinguishes catfish from other fishes is its lack of scales.

Catfish has a mild, sweet taste and moist, dense texture, absorbing other flavors easily. Catfish and trout have similar flavor profiles and are often compared to each other for the same. 

Trout Vs. Cod

Cod is a saltwater fish that has been a major part of the European diet since the Stone Age (Woah!) Atlantic, Pacific, and Greenland are the three types of cod fish. Generally speaking, cod has a milky flavor. Atlantic cod fish has a mild, sweet flavor, while Pacific cod fish has a savory flavor.

When compared to trout, which is both freshwater and saltwater, cod is entirely a saltwater fish. Therefore, trout tastes mild in flavor while cod has a strong flavor.

Trout Vs. Salmon

Salmon is a fish that lives both in freshwater and saltwater. There are around seven species of salmon, and the most popular are the Atlantic and Pacific salmon. 

Salmon has a mild, subtle, oily flavor due to the increased concentration of healthy saturated fats. It doesn’t have an intense fishy flavor, although you can notice a mildly fishy taste.

Trout is a freshwater fish while salmon is a saltwater fish and both of these have mild flavor profiles. Salmon, when compared to trout, has a higher fat content.   

Why Does Trout Taste Bad?

You are all set to relish trout with a recipe but what you got was some murky-flavored meat? I get it. There is a reason why your trout tastes bad. 

The presence of a chemical compound called geosmin is responsible for your trout to taste murky and bad. Algae and actinomyces bacteria release geosmin into the water, which the trout breathes through their gills. The quality of water in which the trout lives determines its overall taste.  

What Does Steelhead Trout Taste Like?

I told you the trout guy isn’t just one in number for us to easily decide on its flavor. There are many types, and one among them is the steelhead trout. Steelhead trout has a delicate flavor and a flaky texture.

Although it is compared to salmon, it doesn’t have the fatty taste of salmon. It can be used as a substitute for salmon due to its lack of fishy taste.

What Does Sea Trout Taste Like?

Sea trout is a type of brown trout. It mostly lives in salty waters. There are different flavors of sea trout due to the differences in the concentration of amino acids.

But basically, a sea trout has a mild flavor and a soft texture. It doesn’t have a fishy taste as well. The type of water, freshness, and preparation method will determine the taste of sea trout.  

What Does Lake Trout Taste Like?

Lake trout, as the name suggests, live in lakes which are freshwater sources. Some deem the flavor of lake trout to be oily without the characteristic fishy flavor. The flavor of lake trout depends on the fish’s freshness, ingredients used, and preparation method. Water quality and its coldness also determine the taste of lake trout.

What Does Smoked Trout Taste Like?

Smoked trout is the trout that is cured and then flavored with smoke out of burning aromatic wood. The whole trout is not smoked; trout filets are cured and smoked.

After the trout is smoked, the skin gets peeled off quickly, and the halves are separated. This smoke from the aromatic wood is responsible for the sweet, mild flavor of the smoked trout.  

What Does Brown Trout Taste Like?

Brown trout is a European game fish with many different strains. Brown trout has a strong, fishy flavor and a flaky, delicate texture. It has an earthy flavor similar to that of moist soil.

As with other trout, the diet of brown trout determines their taste profile. Brown trout raised on farms have a slightly nutty flavor. Those which feed on crustaceans have a rich flavor and oily flesh. 

10 Different Trout And Their Different Tastes

Name of TroutTaste
Rainbow TroutMild sweet taste
Cutthroat TroutPungent taste
Brown TroutFishy taste
Brook TroutSweet taste
Bull TroutMild salmon-like taste
Lake TroutFishy taste
Golden TroutMild nutty taste
Tiger TroutSweet, delicate taste
Arctic CharMild sweet taste

Rainbow Trout 

Rainbow trout is one of the best-known North American trout species. It is easily identifiable with a pink stripe that runs on its side. The black spots on its fins and body are also another identifying feature. It has a square tail compared to the forked tail of other trout.

There are a few types of rainbow trout: steelhead trout, redband trout, and golden trout. Rainbow trout has a mild, nut-like flavor with a soft, flaky texture. Its flesh can be white, pink, or orange in color – these colors turn pale once the trout is cooked. 

Steelhead Trout

Steelhead trout, or simply steelhead, is a type of trout that is the same species as that rainbow trout. It spends half of its life in the sea before they go to the rivers for breeding. This is why they are termed anadromous. A steelhead trout has a streamlined shape and silver or brassy color, thus the name steelhead.

Steelhead trout are bigger than rainbow trout. It has a mild, delicate flavor that is devoid of fat content. Also, it lacks the intense fishy flavor that many people find unfavorable. 

Sea Trout

Sea trout is a saltwater and freshwater fish that is a variety of brown trout. It has a silver color with black spots. This brown trout goes to the sea for feeding and returns to the freshwater only for spawning. 

Sea trout is known differently based on the region – peal, sewin, mort, finnock, white trout, spotted seatrout, speckled trout, and salmon trout. Sea trout has a mild flavor and easily blends with sharp flavors and seasonings. It has a moderate flaky texture which is extremely soft.

Lake Trout

Lake trout is one of the largest species of trout. Its brown color, white spots, and forked tail are easily recognizable. It is technically a char and not a trout but still is considered a trout. Did you know that lake trout can live for 40 years in places such as Canada and Alaska?

Lake trout has a light, mild flavor and firm flesh. It can taste oily and fishy, but its flesh is something that you can die for. It tastes delicious by grilling, frying, baking, or smoking. 

Brown Trout

Brown trout is a medium-sized trout that is not always brown (Fishy tactics!). It can be silver or golden in color, depending on where it lives. Brown trout usually have orange-colored spots with silver rings around them. 

A more prominent feature of identifying brown trout is its resemblance to Atlantic salmon. Searun brown trout closely resemble Atlantic salmon, both in shape and color. Brown trout has a strong fishy flavor. Larger the brown trout, the more intense the fishy taste. It has a firm but delicate texture when cooked. 

Speckled Trout

Speckled trout, also known as spotted trout or spotted weakfish, is another popular sporting fish. With a long slender body, it has an elongated dorsal fin with black spots on these fins. It is found in rivers and estuaries and feeds on shrimps, carbs, and mullets.

Speckled trout is one of the most sought-after fish for consumption due to its distinctive and delicious flavor. It has a mild, delicate flavor with subtle saltiness as well. It has a meaty texture with small flakes. Its flavor can be enhanced with the right seasonings and flavors.

Factors Affecting The Taste Of Trout

I know you are brimming with energy to try out some recipes using trout. But before that, be aware of some factors that affect the taste of trout. Read them below:

  • The place of harvest is one of the major factors which affect the taste of trout. Trout caught in freshwater will taste different from that caught in saltwater. The presence of amino acids increases the robust flavor of trout from saltwater. Trout caught from muddy waters will have an earthy flavor which is unfavorable.
  • The method of cooking also deeply affects the taste of trout. Popular methods to relish the taste of trout are grilling, frying, roasting, and smoking. That said, steaming and baking can also be used to cook trout.
  • Always go for fresh trout for a flavorful taste than frozen trout. Choosing fresh trout is not a cumbersome process which I will tell you about soon.
  • The type of recipe that you plan to prepare also influences the taste of trout. Recipes can be carefully selected to enjoy the flavor of trout. 

How Can You Tell If Trout Is Fresh?

You have marched to the store to buy trout. Do you find yourself confused as to tell if the trout is fresh? Not to worry! Here are some of the ways to tell if the trout you wish to buy is fresh:

  • Check the skin of the trout. Trout is fresh if it is metallic and shiny with no discolored spots. 
  • Look for the quality of the meat of trout. The trout is fresh if you touch the meat and see your fingerprints disappear with the meat bouncing back. If the fingerprints stay, it tells you the trout is not fresh.
  • Clear and bulging eyes are another indication of the freshness of trout. Eyes that are sunken means the fish has lost its freshness.
  • Fresh trout will have firm scales that stay in if you touch them. Scales that slide off once you touch them are not fresh trout.
  • Another important factor that tells if the trout is fresh is not is its gills. Fresh trout has red and moist gills rather than brown-colored gills. The area around these gills should be clear with no slimy or milky liquid.
  • The smell of the trout can also tell you if it’s fresh or not. Fresh trout has a mild scent. You should avoid trout, which has an intense fishy odor. 

How To Preserve Trout The Right Way?

You need to know how to preserve trout if you plan to prepare a recipe with it after a few days. The following ways will help you preserve trout the right way:

  • Freshly-caught trout has to be washed and cleaned well before storage. 
  • After washing, you have to dry the trout using an old cloth or paper towels to prevent the growth of bacteria on its skin.
  • The trout, which is washed and dried, has to be wrapped tightly and stored to prevent the moisture from melting its body.
  • Freeze the whole trout in an airtight container after removing the scales and gills. 
  • Make sure that all the parts of the trout are submerged well in water.
  • You can cover the trout with ice cubes and leave them overnight or for at least eight hours. This is to prevent the risk of freezer burns.

The Best Ways To Cook Trout

Now you know which type of trout to buy and how to store it properly. Shouldn’t you know about the methods of cooking trout? Here are some of the best ways to cook trout.

  • Grilling: Grilling is one of the best ways to cook trout. The whole trout or the trout that has been fileted can be used for grilling. Since the meat is very delicate, you have to grill trout at a high temperature lest the trout fall apart. A combination of lemon, salt, pepper, or olive oil and lemon can be used to rub the trout before grilling.
  • Frying: Another best way to cook and relish trout is to fry it. You get a crispy texture that you are sure to love. Additionally, frying perks up the flavor profile of the otherwise mild taste of trout. 
  • Baking: Trout has a soft, delicate texture; thus, it is a risk of being torn easily during cooking. If trout is too delicate for you to handle, baking should be your option to cook it. But I must warn you – you need to have patience since baking takes a long time considering other cooking methods.
  • Smoking: Who doesn’t love the smoky flavor of perfect meat? Smoking trout also upgrades its flavor, and you will easily fall in love with it. You can use a few herbs and spices to season your trout and smoke it for about three hours for a delicious taste.
  • Steaming: Steaming is another method of cooking trout using the vapor and heat from boiling water. After seasoning trout with ginger and onion, you can steam it for about 15 minutes in the food steamer. 

Health Benefits Of Trout

Trout is a superfood, and aren’t you curious to know the reason behind that? Its health benefits, of course! Take a look at the health benefits of trout:

  • Trout is a good source of protein, niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for better cognitive function and reduced blood pressure. 
  • Vitamin B12 helps in the production of red blood cells in the body. 
  • Vitamin D helps in boosting immunity and regulating blood pressure.
  • Trout is a fish that is safe for consumption due to its low levels of mercury and other contaminants. 

Nutritional Content Of Trout

In a raw trout of 100g, the following nutritional values are observed:

Calories119 kcal
Carbohydrates0 g
Fiber0 g
Sugar0 g
Fat 3.5 g
Saturated Fat0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat1.2 g
Omega 3812 mg
Protein20.5 g

Final Word

Phew…that was an extensive read on trout and its taste, I am sure. Trout has a sweet, mild flavor, but that isn’t the only taste you can expect. Different types of trout vary in their flavors. They have many nutritional benefits as well. Next time you see a smoked trout at a restaurant, try it out. Make sure you let me know all about it in the comments. See you soon with another article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is trout similar to salmon in taste?

Trout and salmon are closely related but differ slightly in flavors. Trout has a mild flavor while salmon has a much more rich, sweet flavor.

Why is trout fish expensive?

Trout fish is expensive because it is a slow-growing fish. It breeds well in fast-flowing, crystal waters. 

Is trout very fishy?

Trout doesn’t taste fishy if it is fresh. It tastes fishy when it has gone bad.

Is trout a healthy fish?

Trout is a healthy fish packed with protein, niacin, vitamin B12, and omega 3 fatty acids.

What’s the best tasting freshwater fish?

Some of the best tasting freshwater fishes are trout, catfish, bluegill, and crappie.

Why does trout taste bad?

Trout tastes bad due to the presence of a chemical compound called geosmin. Blue-green algae and actinomyces bacteria are the sources of geosmin which trout breathe through their gills. 

What does rainbow trout taste like?

Rainbow trout has a delicate, nutty flavor with a soft flesh and a flaky texture. 

What is the best tasting trout?

Although the opinion varies according to people and their preferences, brook trout is deemed to be the best tasting trout.

Is it okay to freeze trout?

With proper packaging, trout can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. 

What tastes better: bass or trout?

Bass tastes good but is not as tasty as trout which has a mild, delicate flavor.

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