Close up of a Salmon

Are Trout and Salmon Related?

Trout and salmon are both a part of the Salmonidae family. They mainly comprise two different genera with trout in the Oncorhynchus genus and salmon in the Salmo genus. Both trout and salmon have species that are freshwater, marine, and diadromous – migratory between salt and freshwater. So, are trout and salmon related? Yes, they are close and often hard to tell apart.

Salmon and trout belong to the class of fishes known as the ray-finned bony fishes which are characterized by skeletons made of bone and bony spines or rays in their fins. 

In this article, we will provide tips on how to identify the difference between the physical appearance as well as the taste of trout and salmon. We will also clue you into which fish is healthier to eat. 

How Do You Identify Trout vs. Salmon?

A brook trout found in a stream

Salmon and trout can look very similar, but there are a few methods to tell them apart. Most trout have squared off or deeply forked tails while salmon have slightly forked tails. All trout and salmon have extra teeth on the roof of their mouth, but they are arranged differently. In trout, they are staggered while in salmon they form a straight line.

Another good method to identify the difference between trout and salmon is to count the fin rays on the anal fin – the one on the underside closest to the tail. Trout will have less than a dozen while salmon will have more than a dozen rays on the anal fin. 

Overall, most trout tend to be thicker in the body than salmon which are more streamlined and slenderer. Salmon usually have pointed heads while trout display heads that are more rounded in shape. In general, trout have more spots on their backs than salmon, but this may not be the best indicator of difference. 

What is the Difference in Taste Between Trout and Salmon?


Trout and salmon may look similar in appearance, but they do display different flavors. Trout taste is similar to catfish with a mild gamey and slightly fishy taste. They can be very light in flavor compared to salmon. 


Salmon, on the other hand, has a stronger flavor and is oilier than trout. While less gamey, salmon has a meatier flavor and can provide a richer taste especially if cooked with the right spices. Salmon can also be described as tasting sweeter than trout.


Trout usually benefits from more spices and herbs than salmon. For example, it is recommended to be heavier-handed with things like garlic, lemon juice, and dill with trout to add flavor. On the other hand, seasoning salmon with herbs such as rosemary, basil, and tarragon help complement the naturally sweet flavor instead of using it to bring out the taste. 


For trout recipes, check out our post!


Which is Healthier  Trout or Salmon?

Fried Salmon Fillet


Both trout and salmon provide benefits for brain health as most fish do, but salmon takes the cake when it comes to being the healthier of the two fish. Ultimately, salmon has twice the amount of omega-3 fatty acids as trout, which is great for heart health and helps prevent heart disease.  


Salmon is also a good source of selenium which has been shown to help regulate thyroid function. Additionally, salmon has more vitamin B-6, D, and C content than trout. Salmon has remarkably less saturated fat th

an trout despite its higher fat content overall. 


On the other hand, trout do contain more folate, which is good for cellular repair and construction, than salmon. Trout also averages about 20% more protein than salmon which is important for repairing and developing muscle tissue. Trout also has a high concentration of potassium and phosphorus, necessary elements for blood pressure control and healthy teeth and bones. 


If you are trying to watch your calorie count, trout is the way to go as it has half the amount of calories as salmon. Most of the trout’s calories come from protein whereas the majority of salmon’s calories are from fat. 




Salmon and trout are closely related, coming from the same family but comprising different genera. They are both members of the ray-finned bony fish class. 


Although they look similar there are ways to tell them apart by observing differences in their extra palate teeth, number of anal fin rays, and shape of the tail. Their overall body and head shape is slightly different as well and can help tell them apart. 


Salmon have a sweeter and stronger flavor than trout which tastes milder and more delicate like catfish. Similar herbs and spices can be used to season both fish, but trout benefits more from stronger seasoning due to its light flavor. 


While both fish provide health benefits, overall salmon tend to be healthier due to their higher omega-3 and vitamin content. Trout is higher in protein and salmon is higher in fat. Both fish are healthy to eat and provide different benefits.