The Brook Trout (also known as Speckled Trout) is a freshwater fish (and relative of the salmon) that is found in Canada and North Eastern United States. They are green to dark green in color and have a smearing of red dots, giving them the description in their name of "speckled".
Clarity of water is important with these fish, as they prefer nearly sparkling water in which to reside. The size of the fish varies depending on the size of the water in which it is located and they have a growth rate that coincides with the rate at which the water is flowing as well. On average, Brook Trout will vary from 25 to 65 cm (10-25 in) in length and weigh 0.3 to 3 kg (0.5-6.5 lb). The world record Brook Trout was actually caught in Manitoba way back in 1916; that record Brook Trout was 86 cm (34 in) in length and weighed in at 6.6 kg (15 lb). Despite typically being on the smaller side of fish, Brook Trout will provide an energetic fight and are a popular fish to target because of that.
Where to Fish for Brook Trout
Brook/Speckled Trout is the state fish of Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. As you may expect, they are prevalent in those States and can be found in small rivers, streams, and ponds, as well as in larger lakes. In Canada, Brook Trout are found mainly from Manitoba through the East Coast, including Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and New Brunswick provinces.
Understanding Brook Trout Behavior
Brook Trout are like their salmon relatives in that they will sway in the currents and wait for food to come to them, though their top water taste for aquatic and terrestrial insects is telling in how to get them to strike. Brook Trout need lots of oxygen and a water temperature of 53 degrees or colder. Because of this, they migrate up and down the rivers all year looking for the right conditions. Brook Trout are easy to find in the spring; typically just look to any river section with a rapids or strong current in the regions noted. They are often found near overhanging trees, submerged wood, rocky points and shoals.
How to Catch Brook Trout
Brook Trout have a diverse diet that includes larval, caddis flies, stone flies, mayflies and aquatic dipterans as well as any ants, beetles, grasshoppers and crickets that fall into the water. They will also eat crustaceans, frogs and even some small aquatic mammals they happen upon. Smaller flies and lures that mimic any of these may result in a strike.
As a general rule, keep the presentation light and use line of 4-6 pound test with small hooks. Small spinners like #0 Mepps or #0 Blue Foxes work best. They will also hit worms and insects like grasshoppers or mayflies. Fly-fishing with artificial flies can also be a good option.
The Brook Trout population has improved because of conservation efforts and their mainly being fished for sport and not commonly kept for consumption. Be sure to check to local/provincial websites for the specific conservation guidelines and regulations