Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)
What a great day to be outdoors, the sun is high and bright; an earthy scent wisps the crisp air. Although I have fly rod in hand, it seems as though I am hiking rather than fishing. I spryly hop rocks from one plunge pool to another.

Short bow and arrow cast directly into the falls, quick mend, let it swing– zip – I am into a fish. There lay in my hands a true beauty of this world. The worm-like marking along its back, burnt orange belly, white streaked fins, and blue-purple halo around bright red spots. If I didn’t know better I’d believe it was a tropical saltwater species.
Technically a Brook trout is a char, related to the Dolly Varden, Arctic char, and the Lake trout. Its native range extends from the Arctic Circle to Georgia and east from Manitoba to the great lakes.
Brook trout need cold clean water to survive. They prefer temperatures less than 68 degrees with the maximum temperature for survival at approximately 75 degrees. Brook trout like slightly acidic water and are very susceptible to negative environmental impact. They spawn in the fall and juveniles stay hidden in the gravel until spring. In most areas, a brook trout over 12 inches long is exceptional.
Brookies are easy to catch in comparison to other species of trout. They like colorful flies and coaxed to take a dry as any other trout. They are typically found in headwaters which are often beautiful places so deserving of these little gems.