In order to determine the factors of ovarian origin which can modulate the postovulatory secretion of the FSH-like gonadotropin (GtH I) and the LH-like gonadotropin (GtH II), freshly ovulated female rainbow trout were divided into two groups. In the first group the fish were stripped in order to eliminate the eggs and ovarian fluid from the body cavity, while in the second group the eggs were kept in the body cavity. Subsequently, fish from both groups were implanted with testosterone (10 mg/kg), 17beta-estradiol (10 mg/kg) or 17,20beta-ddihydroxy-4-regnen-3-one (17,20betaP) (1 mg/kg) or injected every 2 days with desteroidized ovarian fluid (1.5 ml/kg). The secretion of GtH I dramatically increased in stripped fish, reaching its maximum levels 2 weeks after ovulation. The preservation of eggs in the body cavity led to the suppression of this increase. The profiles of GtH II secretion were opposite to those encountered for GtH I because the increase of GtH II was observed only in unstripped fish. The administration of steroids showed that testosterone is able to inhibit GtH I release and stimulate that of GtH II in stripped fish, having no effect on the release of these gonadotropins in non-stripped animals. 17beta-Estradiol failed to modify GtH I secretion, however it decreased the release of GtH II in fish containing retained eggs in the body cavity. 17,20betaP had a delayed stimulating influence on GtH I release in unstripped fish. Finally, multiple injections of desteroidized ovarian fluid into stripped fish led to a significant decrease of GtH I release and to an increase of GtH II secretion. This study demonstrates that factors, which are present in ovarian fluid, modulate the post-ovulatory secretion of both gonadotropins--their net action is negative on GtH I and positive on GtH II. Among the steroids, testosterone is of major importance, being able to inhibit GtH I release and to stimulate that of GtH II. We also show that non-steroidal factors present in the ovarian fluid can influence the release of both gonadotropins, which indirectly supports the previous findings about the existence of inhibin/activin-like factors in fish.