SUMMARY. 1. Brown trout (Salmo trutta) life history and habitat use were studied in two Norwegian rivers: the Vosso river system, western Norway, and the Søre Osa, eastern Norway.
2. Age-groups were partly segregated in feeding habitats, the youngest fish living mainly in running water and in the littoral zone of lakes, the older fish also exploiting pelagic waters and deeper epibenthic habitats. In a population with free access to and from the sea, some individuals smoltified and became sea-run migrants, performing yearly migrations to the coastal sea, whereas others stayed as freshwater residents throughout their entire life span.
3. Within local populations, females were larger and less variable in size than males. This was partly because females matured at an older age than males, partly because the sexes tended to exploit feeding habitats with different food and growth Conditions. Within age-groups, females were more pelagic and migrated more than males, whereas males were more confined to running water and epibenthic areas than females. In the pelagic zone, males were more abundant in near-surface water, and females more abundant in deeper areas. When exploiting the same feeding areas, the two sexes grew at the same rate. There therefore appears to be a connection between feeding habitat and the reproductive ecology of brown trout.