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Doc Trout's frequently asked questions blog

What is the Life Cycle of a Trout?

By Doc Trout


     Most avid trout anglers are aware that both Brook Trout and Brown Trout spawn in the late Fall while Rainbow Trout spawn in the early spring. However, not all avid trout anglers are aware of the different stages of growth

a trout goes through before reaching maturity. Thus, I have listed the entire life cycle of a Trout below:



     Trout eggs are small, round, and are red, orange, or white in color and have a rubbery texture. In addition, they have black eyes and a central line that indicate healthy development and the hatching of the egg is dependent upon the water temperature.


     Once a Trout has hatched  from its egg, it becomes an Alevin and it has a large yolk sac that it uses for food while it develops further. However, the yolk sack makes swimming difficult, an Alevin stays near the Redd until it “buttons up.” However, as each Alevin slowly begins to display adult trout characteristics, the yolk sac disappears and the new trout gains mobility.


     "Buttoning-up" occurs after the Alevin absorb their yolk sac and begin to feed on aquatic insects. Thus, at this stage, an Alevin become a Fry and begins to congregate in small schools with other Fry near the shallows where they are less vulnerable to predation from larger trout.

Fingerlings & Parr-

     When a Fry reaches a size ranging from 2-5 inches, it becomes a Fingerling. Then, when it finally develops its distinctively dark markings, it is called a Parr.


     Once a Parr has gained enough size and has developed the distinctive markings of an adult, then it is called a Juvenile.  Thus, a Juvenile a Trout resembles an adult Trout in every way except that it is not yet old or large enough to spawn.


      In the adult stage, both male and female Trout are ready to spawn. During this stage, Trout display vibrant colors during the spawning period and the female uses her tail to scoop out  a shallow nest in the streambed called a Redd in which she lays her eggs. Thus, once the egg is fertilized by the male, the life cycle of the Trout returns to the egg stage. 


What size leader should I choose?

by Doc Trout


     Most fly fishermen are aware that the larger the fly you are casting, the heavier the fly line you need to cast it. This is due to the fact that small flies have very little wind resistance but, the larger the fly, the more wind resistance it has and thus, the heavier the line required to cast it. However, not all fly fishermen are aware that the larger the fly you are casting, the stiffer the leader needs to be as well. In addition, different types of water and different situations call for different lengths of fly leaders. Thus, I have published the following charts below to help you determine the correct size leader (designated by the size of the tippet) and the correct length of leader for the particular application for which you intend to use it.

Fly Leader Size Chart

Tippet Size 

Tippet Diameter 

Approximate breaking strength in pounds 

Balances with fly sizes: 




22, 24, 26, 28 




18, 20, 22, 24 




16, 18, 20, 22 




14, 16, 18 




12, 14, 16 




6, 8, 10 




4, 6, 8 




2, 4, 6 




1/0, 2, 4 




5/0, 4/0,3/0, 2/0 




5/0, 4/0,3/0, 2/0 




5/0, 4/0,3/0, 2/0 




Fly Leader Length Chart

Leader Length 

Best suited for… 

6 foot 

Sinking and sink-tip fly lines in tiny, brushy streams. 

7.5 foot 

Trout in streams from 10-20 feet wide. Also streamer fishing for trout with big flies or with heavy nymphs and big indicators 

9 foot 

Trout streams larger than 20 feet wide where the water is mostly riffled or the fish are not spooky.

12 foot 

Trout in most lakes using floating lines. Trout in streams with flies smaller than size 16 when the water is flat, low, or very clear. 

15 foot 

Spooky trout in extremely clear water in both lakes and rivers.