Brook Trout

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

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

Latest Brook Trout Fishing Reports and Spots

You can be happier in nature near water and where it is beautiful! - 5/17/2022 9:22:16 AM

My season is hitting its stride with a few more trips scheduled each week until the calendar fills. It is great to be back on the water dearly (View)

Fly Fishing in May - 5/4/2022 10:25:17 PM

Fly fishing in May is wonderful whether you plan to fish the native brook trout streams or the smallmouth rivers. There are many The post Fly F (View)

April 22nd Cape Cod fishing report - 4/21/2022 5:53:00 PM

By Striper Mike Sports Port Pro Staff As the migrating striped bass get closer to the Cape Cod beaches the first reported stripers caught were (View)

Fly Fishing in April - 4/1/2022 12:13:00 PM

Fly fishing in April on the native brook trout streams is excellent. This month is prime time as far as hatches water levels The post Fly Fishi (View)

Fishing Report. February 5th 2020 - 2/5/2020 10:06:17 AM

Fishing Report. Most of Virginia has been experiencing a very mild winter so far. Mountain stream brook trout fishing has been great. On the wa (View)

Fly Fishing Stream Report - 3/20/2020 10:56:27 AM

Yesterday I took a few hours to check the native brook trout streams so I wanted to give you an updated stream report. The post Fly Fishing Str (View)

Dry Fly Excitement – April Native Brook Trout Fly Fishing - 4/2/2021 9:20:17 AM

Harry discusses fly fishing for native Brook Trout in the mid-Atlantic in the month of April. He discusses reading the water in the The post Dr (View)

Fly Fishing in May - 5/1/2021 11:44:00 AM

The water levels and hatches are ideal in May providing some excellent fly fishing on the native brook trout streams. There are good The post F (View)

Late May report - 5/26/2017 12:38:00 PM

We are over a month into the trout season and so far so good.  Steelhead season gave up some nice fish and as of now we have been getting rain w (View)

8 reasons to visit Southern Vermont - 2/17/2019 4:18:00 PM

 Jan to March: Ice fishing for Northern Pike and Bass on Lake St. Catherine  Vermont Ice Fishing trips    2. April: Trout season opens the seco (View)