Energy contents of immature parr and smolts, and mature resident and anadromous brown trout Salmo trutta sampled from a small stream in southern Norway were estimated from lipid, protein and carbohydrate concentrations. In immatures the lipid concentrations were highest in parr in the autumn. Mean lipid concentrations increased significantly with age in parr sampled in autumn (1·3% in age 0+ to 3·4% in age 3+), whereas they did not in smolts. The lipid concentrations of parr in spring were not significantly different from those of similarly aged smolts. By contrast, the relative water content (%) decreased with age in parr in the autumn and increased with age in smolts, mean values being slightly higher in smolts (78%) than in parr (77%). Protein and carbohydrate concentrations did not vary with age in the immature fish, mean protein concentrations being 18·0, 17·5 and 16·8% in parr in the autumn and spring, and in smolts, respectively. In residents, the concentrations of lipids were lower and of water higher, in age group 1 than in older fish, whereas there was no significant variation with age amongst anadromous trout. The energy concentration of 2+ smolts (349 kJ 100 g-1) was similar to that of 0+ parr in the autumn. Mean somatic energy density in autumn was 1·1 times higher in freshwater residents than in parr at age 1+ (407 and 387 kJ 100 g-1) and marginally different at age 2+ (462 and 426 kJ 100 g-1, respectively). The energy contents per unit mass of residents were 1·3–1·6 times that of similar aged smolts. Mean somatic energy density of anadromous trout (504 kJ 100 g-1) was higher than that of residents (455 kJ 100 g-1). Somatic energy, lipid and protein concentrations were correlated highly with water contents of all life stages, age and sex groups.