Do Trout Have Teeth? Hungry Predators Pursuing Their Prey

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Captured wild brown trout in the Owyhee River, Oregon, then released

Trout have teeth. They have curved teeth on their upper and lower jaws and two rows of vomerine teeth. Vomerine teeth sit on the roof of trout’s mouths. They work in unison with their tongue to help hold on to any larger prey they catch.

To the casual angler, trout are smaller fish that spend most of their day hiding and occasionally move out into the open to grab a hatching insect. While insects are a significant part of a trout’s diet, they love eating crustaceans, fish, and other large prey. Both of these foods require teeth. 

Trout Teeth

Since trout don’t have fangs, incisors, or molars, they need other sharp teeth to help with their carnivore diet. The vomerine teeth on the roof of their mouths are unique to trout. Other fish, like salmon, only have one row of vomerines, but trout have two. 

Combine these with their teeth on the upper and lower jaws, and they have no trouble latching on to prey and swallowing it. 

Do Rainbow Trout Have Teeth? 

Rainbow trout have teeth. They have two rows of vomerine teeth, but the teeth on their upper and lower jaws aren’t as sharp as the teeth of other trout species. Many experts attribute the smaller teeth to rainbow trout’s tendencies to eat more insects than anything. 

They don’t need as sharp teeth as other trout species that are more aggressive carnivores. Plus, they don’t usually open their jaws as wide as brook or brown trout. 

Do Brown Trout Have Teeth?

Brown trout have some of the largest teeth of the trout species. As they get closer to fully grown, they grow sharper teeth that assist them as they primarily eat larger prey as full-grown adults. They have two rows of teeth on their upper jaw and two rows of vomerine teeth. 

Their lower jaws have teeth extending below the base of their tongue and down the base of their gills. Their focus is on big prey. They need sharp, aggressive teeth to help them hold onto everything they catch. 

Brown trout’s focus is big meals and protein. They’ll even eat things like mice, frogs, and even small birds that fall into the water. It doesn’t take long for them to grow their sharp teeth and become major aggressors. 

Do Cutthroat Trout Have Teeth?

Cutthroat trout have unique teeth. They have what are known as basibranchial teeth. These teeth sit at the base of the tongue. Rainbow trout and other trout species do not have basibranchial teeth, so it sets them apart from other trout. 

They still have the vomerine teeth and the teeth on their upper and lower jaw. They’re also aggressive fish with plenty of teeth to latch on to whatever prey they find. The coastal cutthroat trout have even larger teeth than freshwater cutthroat trout species. 

A bull trout taken from the Wigwam River in British Columbia.

Do Bull Trout Have Teeth?

Bull trout are technically a part of the char family. They have vomerine teeth, but the teeth on the insides of their upper and lower jaw are initially challenging to locate. However, they have curved teeth like brown trout because they spend most of their time feeding on larger prey instead of insects. 

Bull trout are some of the most aggressive fish in the trout species. They need big teeth to help them maximize every single opportunity they get at crustaceans, fish, amphibians, mammals, and birds. 

Do Brook Trout Have Teeth? 

Brook trout are the smallest of the five major trout subspecies. They mainly eat insects and don’t need teeth as large or sharp as brown and bull trout. As a result, their teeth look a lot like rainbow trout teeth. 

Like other trout species, they have two rows of vomerine teeth. It’s the defining feature of all trout. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are Trout Teeth Sharp? 

Yes, trout have small, sharp teeth. They use them to latch on to their prey and swallow it. 

Can You Mouth a Trout?

No, you should not mouth a trout. Their sharp teeth on the top and bottom jaws will cut you. 

Do Stocked Trout Have Teeth?

Yes, stocked trout have teeth. Even though their teeth are smaller because they mainly eat pellets, trout develop them as they spend time in the wild. 

Do Trout Have Jaws? 

Yes, trout have upper and lower jaws. They don’t extend behind their eyes, but they still can latch on to their food. 


Trout are all carnivorous fish. They spend their younger years feeding on insects, but their teeth get bigger as they grow, and aggression continues to increase. They use their sharp, large teeth on their top and bottom jaws and the vomerine teeth on the roof of their mouths. 

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