Brook Trout

The brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is a species of freshwater fish in the char genus Salvelinus of the salmon family Salmonidae. It is native to Eastern North America in the United States and Canada, but has been introduced elsewhere in North America, as well as to Iceland, Europe, and Asia. In parts of its range, it is also known as the eastern brook trout, speckled trout, brook charr, squaretail, or mud trout, among others. A potamodromous population in Lake Superior, as well as an anadromous population in Maine, is known as coaster trout or, simply, as coasters. The brook trout is the state fish of nine U.S. states: Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia, and the Provincial Fish of Nova Scotia in Canada.

The brook trout has a dark green to brown color, with a distinctive marbled pattern (called vermiculation) of lighter shades across the flanks and back and extending at least to the dorsal fin, and often to the tail. A distinctive sprinkling of red dots, surrounded by blue halos, occurs along the flanks. The belly and lower fins are reddish in color, the latter with white leading edges. Often, the belly, particularly of the males, becomes very red or orange when the fish are spawning.

Typical lengths of the brook trout vary from 25 to 65 cm (9.8 to 25.6 in), and weights from 0.3 to 3 kg (0.66 to 6.61 lb). The maximum recorded length is 86 cm (34 in) and maximum weight 6.6 kg (15 lb). Brook trout can reach at least seven years of age, with reports of 15-year-old specimens observed in California habitats to which the species has been introduced. Growth rates are dependent on season, age, water and ambient air temperatures, and flow rates. In general, flow rates affect the rate of change in the relationship between temperature and growth rate. For example, in spring, growth increased with temperature at a faster rate with high flow rates than with low flow rates.

The brook trout inhabits large and small lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and spring ponds. They prefer clear waters of high purity and a narrow pH range and are sensitive to poor oxygenation, pollution, and changes in pH caused by environmental effects such as acid rain. The typical pH range of brook trout waters is 5.0 to 7.5, with pH extremes of 3.5 to 9.8 possible. Water temperatures typically range from 34 to 72 °F (1 to 22 °C). Warm summer temperatures and low flow rates are stressful on brook trout populations—especially larger fish.

Brook trout have a diverse diet that includes larval, pupal, and adult forms of aquatic insects (typically caddisflies, stoneflies, mayflies, and aquatic dipterans), and adult forms of terrestrial insects (typically ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets) that fall into the water, crustaceans, frogs and other amphibians, molluscs, smaller fish, invertebrates, and even small aquatic mammals such as voles.

The brook trout is a popular game fish with anglers, particularly fly fishermen. Until it was displaced by introduced brown trout (1883) and rainbow trout (1875), the brook trout attracted the most attention of anglers from colonial times through the first 100 years of U.S. history. Sporting writers such as Genio Scott Fishing in American Waters (1869), Thaddeus Norris American Anglers Book (1864), Robert Barnwell Roosevelt Game Fish of North America (1864) and Charles Hallock The Fishing Tourist (1873) produced guides to the best-known brook trout waters in America. As brook trout populations declined in the mid-19th century near urban areas, anglers flocked to the Adirondacks in upstate New York and the Rangeley lakes region in Maine to pursue brook trout. In July 1916 on the Nipigon River in northern Ontario, an Ontario physician, John W. Cook, caught a 14.5 lb (6.6 kg) brook trout, which stands as the world record

Species Information

Scientific Name:Salvelinus fontinalis
Environment:Lake, River, Stream
Ideal Temp:55-65°F (13-18°C)
Technique:Casting, Fly
Lure Type:Crankbaits, Flies, Plugs, Soft Plastics, Spinnerbaits, Topwater
World Record:6.57 kg (14 lb 8 oz) Nipigon River, Ontario, Canada 21-Jul-1915
Other Names:brook trout, brook char, mud trout, coaster trout, coasters

Latest Brook Trout Fishing Reports and Spots

BOYS WILL BE BOYS - 11/15/2021 8:47:00 AM

Idaho authorities are using the prolific spawning habits of the brook trout against them releasing genetically modified “super-males” who will o (View)


RESTORING YELLOWSTONE cUTTIES - 10/13/2021 7:05:00 AM

Wyoming fishery authorities are embarking on a plan to restore Yellowstone cutthroat in the Big Horn Basin including removing non-native trout i (View)


Glass Bead Chironomid Fly Tying Video - 10/12/2021 11:59:51 AM

In this video Greg ties an effective chironomid pattern for rainbow brown and brook trout he’s been using for the past five years in Cascade and (View)


Brook Trout - 7/28/2021 5:15:55 PM

Brook Trout (View)


Ten Thousand Tiny Brookies - 6/29/2021 5:06:12 PM

Jim Hinkle State Fish Hatchery personnel are stocking a total of 10 000 2 1/2″ surplus Brook Trout today on the Bull Shoals Tailwater. Fish are (View)


Trout fishing in the U.P. - 6/6/2021 1:54:41 PM

Trout fishing has been going quite strong this season good dry fly fishing as well as subsurface has made for some memorable days. The resident (View)


THE OZARKS MOST DIFFICULT TARGET? - 5/25/2021 2:15:00 AM

What is the toughest fly rod species to catch in the Ozarks.? Stripers on the Lakes or perhaps a drum? Many might say a brook trout based on pop (View)


Ultimate Labrador Brook Trout Fishing - 4/22/2021 7:54:00 AM

I tripped over this killer video from the New Fly Fisher while perusing the Venturing Angler Blog. And who doesn’t love big bright brookies. Enj (View)


Brook Trout9 - 4/1/2021 5:14:20 PM

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Brook Trout8 - 4/1/2021 5:14:20 PM

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