The formation of the intramuscular connective tissue was investigated in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss by combining histological and in situ gene-expression analysis. Laminin, a primary component of basement membranes, surrounded superficial slow and deep fast muscle fibres in O. mykiss as soon as the hatching stage (c. 30 days post fertilization (dpf)). In contrast, type I collagen, the primary fibrillar collagen in muscle of vertebrates, appeared at the surface of individual slow and fast muscle fibres only at c. 90 dpf and 110 dpf, respectively. The deposition of type I collagen in laminin-rich endomysium ensheathing individual muscle fibres correlated with the late appearance of collagen type 1 α 1 chain (col1α1) expressing fibroblasts inside slow and then fast-muscle masses. Double in situ hybridization indicated that coll1α1 expressing muscle resident fibroblasts also expressed collagen type 5 α 2 chain (col5α2) transcripts, showing that these cells are a major cellular source of fibrillar collagens within O. mykiss muscle. At c. 140 dpf, the formation of perimysium-like structure was manifested by the increase of type I collagen deposition around bundles of myofibres concomitantly with the alignment and elongation of some collagen-expressing fibroblasts. Overall, this study shows that the formation of O. mykiss intramuscular connective tissue network is completed only in aged fry when fibroblast-like cells expressing type I and V collagens arise inside of the growing myotome. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.