Brook Trout (‘Saltwater Charr’)

Salvelinus fontinalis

Other names: Saltwater charr, speckled trout, squaretail trout.

Family: Salmonidae (salmons).


Native to the east coast of North America, where it’s also called speckled trout, brook trout is actually a charr, distinguished from salmon and trout by brighter colouring and distinctive white edges to the lower fins. It has a larger mouth than rainbow or brown trouts and light pinkish-red spots over a darker body. It was introduced to Tasmania in the early 1900s and self-sustaining freshwater populations are found there in Clarence Lagoon and the lakes of the Tyndall Ranges, while hatchery-reared fish are used to maintain populations in Lake Jindabyne (NSW) and a few streams and lakes in SA. Since around 2005 it has been farmed on a small scale in sea cages in Macquarie Harbour in southwestern Tasmania and marketed as ‘saltwater charr’.

Season: Sea-cage-reared fish are available from November – February; wild stocks are only caught recreationally and are subject to seasonal closures over winter in some states.

Size and Weight: In Australia it reaches a maximum size of 6.5kg and 85cm.

Price: High-priced.


Salmons (such as Atlantic and chinook, marketed as ‘king salmon’ in Australia); trouts (including rainbow and brown trouts).

To Buy:

Sea-reared fish is sold as ‘saltwater charr’ in fillets, steaks and cutlets. Look for orange, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh smell; always buy sashimi-grade fish if serving it raw or rare.

To Store:

Wrap fillets, cutlets and steaks in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.

To Cook:

Saltwater farmed fish has the reddest flesh of all farmed Salmonids in Australia, it is firm with a high oil content and mild, buttery flavour. In wild stock, flesh colour ranges from white to orange depending on diet. In saltwater-reared fish, the centre bone of cutlets can be removed and a filling placed in the cavity. Score whole fish at the thickest part of the flesh, and cut thick fillets into serving-size portions, to allow even heat penetration. Both freshwater-, and saltwater-, reared fish can be served hot or cold.

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle. Flesh has good gelling characteristics and works well in mousseline or minced for fish cakes and fish balls. The firm flesh of saltwater-reared fish holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles and can be cubed for kebabs. It is ideal served rare.

Goes well with:

Almonds, bitter and peppery greens (endive, radicchio, rocket, watercress), butter, capsicum, citrus, curries (especially Thai-style red curry), English spinach, garlic, mayonnaise, olives, pasta, sorrel, vinegar, wine (red and white).


Salmons, trouts, yellowtail kingfish.




Freshwater Trout
Whole Rainbow Trout with Orange, Maple Syrup & Macadamia Nuts >
Whole Rainbow Trout with Date Stuffing >
Smoked Trout & Cracked Wheat Salad >
Kedgeree >

'Saltwater Charr'
Char-grilled Fish Kebabs > 
Char-Grilled Salmon Kebabs & Vegetables with Lime Mayo > 
Chirashizushi (Scattered Sushi) >
Fish Satay >
Gravlax (Salt-Cured Salmon) > 
Hand Moulded Sushi (Nigiri-zushi) >
Inside-Out Rolls (Ura-maki-zushi) >
Lemony Seafood Crêpes > 
Mixed Thin & Thick Sushi Rolls (Norimaki) >
Salmon Scotch Eggs >
Sashimi Salmon Salad >
Seafood Pie with Leek, Garlic & Chives > 
Seafood Teppanyaki >
Whole Poached Salmon with Cucumber Salad >