The Brook Trout

 (Salvelinus fontinalis)

Also called: Square Tail, speckled trout, brookie, coaster, salty or eastern brook trout

An extremely colorful brook trout specimen.

This bright and colorful thriving trout species can be found from coast to coast in the United States. Although it is known as a trout, S. fontinalis is actually a member of the char family. It requires the coldest and cleanest water to survive. Any type of pollution or sudden change in habitat will be evident by observing these trout. This species is also very sensitive to oxygen levels, as it requires high amounts of it to flourish.

The Requirements of a Brook Trout Include:

Brook trout are found in a few different types of aquatic environments: rivers, lakes, and coastal marine areas. Their living requirements are fairly specific. The freshwater populations usually occur in cold, well-oxygenated streams and lakes. Adult brook trout will do quite well in temperatures that remain below 65 degrees F., while hatchlings will suffer high mortality rates in waters with sustained temperatures of 20°C or 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperatures typically range from 34 to 72°F (1 to 22 °C).

This species prefers to not live in silty or stagnated areas. These char have several requirements to live in a small stream and creek including: fairly fast running water, areas to rest in eddies and pools, feeding areas in riffles and proper areas to seek shelter. Areas where the brook trout would normally hide include, undercut banks, below logs, deep pools and various types of woody debris. Closed canopy forest cover is a key for the persistent long-term success of most brook trout populations within streams. Wild brook trout populations in the rocky mountains stream habitats will usually have permanent cold water spring sources or prolonged runoff from high elevation snow melt. These populations are generally most successful in perennial streams.

Diet and Eating Habits

Brook trout frequently feed on ants such as the type in this image. This trout species will feed on nearly any animal that will fit in it’s mouth. Common brook trout foods include the larval stage of aquatic insects (known as nymphs), smaller fish, mice, fish eggs, crustaceans, frogs and a variety of different insect species. Some examples of insects the brook trout often feeds upon include: mayflies, stoneflies, caddis. They will also actively feed on terrestrial insects such as grasshoppers, ants and a variety of beetles.

Fishing For These Trout

Brook trout can be effectively caught with most types of tackle because of their voracious eating habits. Most typical live bait types work well for this fish; like worms and crickets. Brookies can also be caught using inline spinners, small spoons and even jigs. Most fisherman choose to use flies for these trout because it is usually the most exciting method. The brook trout will attack dry flies on the surface of the water adding the visual appeal, they also don’t hesitate to hit a well chosen and presented nymph fly pattern.