How To Tell The Difference Between A Male & Female Trout?

Telling the difference between male and female trout is not as difficult or as challenging as some fly fishermen may think. The male Trout is known as a Cock, and the female trout is known as a Hen. One thing that is very interesting to know about South African Fly Fishing and the Trout species is that it is not as difficult as many people think to tell the difference between a male and female Trout… Whether it is a Rainbow Trout or a Brown Trout. Over the years I have seen many anglers “guess” what sex of Trout they have caught, so we hope this article we assist you in telling the difference between male and female trout.


The best way to illustrate the difference between a male and a female trout is illustrated in the photo below: (Apologies for the dead fish in the photo) Please click to enlarge.

Telling The Difference Between Trout

A male Trout is referred to as a Cock, and a female is known as a Hen. The obvious difference between a Cock and a Hen Trout, is that when a Hen is gutted in spawning season they have a lot of orange eggs in their stomachs… Some Hens have these orange eggs all year round. However we have come across a few Hen Trout that have not had eggs in spawning season…

When the Trout are in full spawn, the Cock (Male) fish develops a very prominent “underbite”, where it’s jaw extends quite far out, similar to Salmon when they breed. On larger specimens, out of the spawning season, a bigger jaw can be observed on the Cock fish opposed to a rounder proportional mouth that the Hen has. Please see the images above for differentiation, and a few more images below to help:

Male (Cock)

Female (Hen)

If you would like any assistance in helping you identify if you have caught a male or female trout. Please do not hesitate to contact us, we would love to help and assist wherever we can!

If you enjoyed this article we also have a variety of other Trout related stories, tutorials and articles you might like to read:

How to weigh your Trout without actually weighing it?

The history of Trout in South Africa

Having a slow day Trout Fishing?

The top 10 Trout flies!

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