Char Family
Live Brook Trout 01g [Family Salmonidae Genus Salvelinus]

Char are closely related to Salmon and Trout, and a number of species are popularly called "Trout". Among these are Brook trout (northeastern North America), Bull trout (northwestern North America), Dolly Varden trout (northern California around to Russia), and Lake trout (Alaska, Canada, northeastern U.S. and introduced to northern Europe and Asia). The lake trout is the largest char, growing to just over 100 pounds.


Arctic / Alpine Char   -   [Salvelinus alpinus alpinus]
Whole Arctic Char 02e

Circumpolar in both freshwater and saltwater, the Arctic Char can live farther north and in colder waters than any other fish. It can grow to 33 pounds and 42 inches but is usually marketed at between 2 and 5 pounds. In color it can range from gray to gray above and red below. The photo specimen is from Südtirol, in Alpine Italy. This fish is now farmed in Canada, Iceland, Norway, Ireland and West Virginia. In the wild it is listed as "LC" (least concern) by the IUCN, and farming is approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.   Details & Cooking.   Photo by Saibling donated to the public domain.

Rötel - [Lake Char; Storröding (Sweden); Salvelinus umbla]
Live Rotel 01e

This red bellied trout-like char is native to the alpine regions of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy, and has been reported from Sweden. It can grow to 29 inches, but there are dwarf populations in many high Alpine lakes. I have seen Rötel described as a "perch" in cookbooks, but cookbooks tend to call a lot of things "perch". IUCN Red listed LC (Least Concern), but these fish were driven to near extinction between 1950 and 1979 by eutrophication caused by detergent, fertilizer and sewage runoff. While several other lake fish were driven to extinction, this one survived, and populations have slowly recovered since polution controls were instituted.   Photo by Bjoertvedt distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Unported.

Brook Trout - [Salvelinus fontinalis]
Live Brook Trout 01e

Actually a Char, not a Trout, but it's included here because it's what everyone east of the Mississippi calls a "Trout". Brook Trout live along most of the east coast of Canada and down to Georgia in the United States, including the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River drainage basin. They can grow to 34 inches and 20 pounds but are more commonly around 10 inches. Brook trout are now being farmed to some extent, and sold fresh, frozen and smoked. They are also raised in hatcheries for restocking streams and lakes, and have been introduced to other parts of the world. They are environmentally sensitive so are much used for environmental research.   Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service = public domain .   Details and Cooking.

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