Multilocus FST estimates revealed a pronounced genetic structure at six microsatellite loci in brown trout Salmo trutta in Nordre Finnvikelv, with at least three breeding units that remained stable over time. Significant differences in allele frequencies were found between five sections within a 3-km range, even when no physical barriers prevented fish from migrating between sections. It is argued that geological structures may rise to patterns resembling isolation by distance. Seemingly, the most important factor causing genetic differentiation in Nordre Finnvikelv is genetic drift in small populations that are geologically subdivided by a tributary and by impassable waterfalls. Some correlation between previous behavioural observations and genetic structures were found.