FOR me, one of nature's finest creatures is the trout, a symbol of beauty, power and grace. Indeed, it has been described as the 'perfect 'fish in terms of both shape and colouration.

Although the brown trout (pictured) is the best known and most widespread of the species, there are numerous quite complex forms, mainly dependent upon the environment and food availability. For example, there is the distinctive green of moorland trout, dark green from forest streams, orange from lowland streams dark-spotted loch leven trout and Welsh black-finned trout which as a boy, I loved catching in the mountain lakes of wild Wales.

Nature Notes: May brings glorious colour

There is also the sea trout, which spends part of its life in the sea around coastlines. Size varies too from very large fish in Scottish lakes to small trout of a few ounces living in swiftly flowing streams. However despite the wide varieties of size and colour, all trout bear spots over most of their bodies. Then there is the rainbow trout, originally restricted to the rivers of North America but since introduced to Britain and many other countries and is the variety most bred in fish farms for human consumption.

Trout feed mainly on flies and invertebrates but some larger trout may take small fish. In the autumn, trout move into the shallows to spawn.