Salmon are the better-known jumpers of the fish world, but their cousins, trout, are not too shabby at leaping through the streams either. Strong swimmers, trout can leap over waterfalls and many different obstacles with ease.
We’ve compiled a few videos that show the power and vaulting skills of these beautiful animals.
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How high can trout jump?
In a study of Brook Trout the researchers looked at jumping height and were amazed. The small, 10–15-cm Brook Trout could jump a 63.5-cm-high waterfall, that means up to 4.7 times their body length. The most important factor for the jump height was the depth of the plunge pool at the bottom.
The larger the pool, the more height the trout jumping out of water was able to gather. The larger Brook Trout were jumping up to 73.5-cm waterfalls, or equivalent to 2.9–4.0 times the length of their body, but only if the plunge pools were at least 40 cm. The researchers also looked at what shallow plunge pools did to the height of the jumps, and it turns out that pools of 10 cm depth make it impossible for the fish of all sizes to jump up a waterfall of 43.5 cm or more.
Why are trout jumping?
This is a question that has puzzled ichthyology for a long time, and the answers are various and depend on the types of trout.
One major reason for Trout jumping is to get rid of Argulus, a type of fish louse. By violently jumping out of the water, the impact is often sufficient to dislodge the pesky parasite and free the trout.
And finally… a trout jump gone bad
At Decorah Fish Hatchery in Iowa, in 2013, a rainbow trout made a leaping mistake when it jumped in – 30-degree weather and got stuck to the side of its tank. The tank was lined with aluminium for easy cleaning, and because of its conductivity was extremely sticky to the unlucky fish. The fishcicle was discovered by biologist Brian Malaise and represents a serious case of vaulting skill meets bad luck.