If you are looking for a fun and exciting fishing opportunity, you may want to consider trying your hand at brook trout fishing. Below, we will reveal everything you need to know about this species, including where to fish for brook trout, the best fishing lures, techniques and tips, and much more.
What is a Brook Trout?
There is only one place to begin, and this is by explaining what a brook trout is. This is a freshwater fish that is beautifully colored and can be found throughout the northeastern United States and Canada. These fish belong to the Salmonidae; salmon family.
Also known as speckled trout, brook trout can be identified easily thanks to the beautiful yellow spots that they have over their olive-green back. Despite their name, these fishes are not trout. They are part of the char genus. Other members of the charr family include Dolly Varden, arctic charr, blue-backed trout, lake trout, and bull trout.
You will find brook trout in the well-oxygenated, clean, and cool mountain streams, beaver ponds, and lakes, from as far west as Minnesota to as far south as the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina. Brook trout are the only trout species that are native east of the Rockies. You will find that they usually coexist with rainbow and brown trout.
It is not uncommon for brook trout to spend all of their lives in freshwater. Alternatively, they may spawn in freshwater but live in saltwater. This is a migratory type of species of fish, and there are two diverse migratory populations of this fish, known as coasters or salters. Coasters refer to the brook trout that are potamodromous and live in the upper Great Lakes. For those who are unaware, potamodromous simply means that they may reside in the likes yet they spawn in the river. Salters, on the other hand, are anadromous and live in the Northeast. Anadromous means that they live in the salt water and they will run upriver to the freshwater to spawn.
Where to Fish for Brook Trout
Originally, the range for brook trout incorporated the northeastern part of North America, which would go as west as the basins of the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay, as south as Georgia, and also in the streams of the Appalachian mountains.
You will find brook trout in small spring-fed streams and ponds that have sand or gravel at the bottom and vegetation. The most critical element to consider when looking for habitat for brook trout is the temperature of the water. Brook trout will thrive in areas where the temperature of the water is between 55 and 60 degrees in Fahrenheit. This species of trout will die if they are exposed to water that is 75 degrees or higher for more than a couple of hours. They will be able to tolerate temperatures of 72 degrees or less for a small period of time, yet 60 is optimal.
In addition to this, the best possible habitat for this type of fish is somewhere that has the same quantity of pools as riffles, which are the shallow areas of the stream that have cold and clear spring-fed waters, a rocky bottom, and choppy waters, as well as stable banks with a lot of cover and vegetation, as well as the right water temperature. This species of fish is very sensitive when it comes to the disturbance of their habitat, and as a consequence, if you see a healthy population of brook trout, this is a good indication that the stream in question is healthy and boasts good water quality.
You will find that this species of fish tends to be more active during dusk and dawn. They will often start retreating to the deeper waters throughout the day.
Brook Trout Fun Facts
Now, we will provide you with some more facts and information about brook trout so you can get a better comprehension of this fish. This is a fish that is brightly colored and has an olive-green back with yellow spots all over the body.
The spots along the top of the fish’s back are almost like a worm in terms of shape. The color changes along the side of the brook trout, from olive to red or orange. There are scattered red spots on the brook trout, which are bordered by pale blue along the side of the fish. The lower fins are red or range and there is a black and white streak. The fish is milky white in color on the underside.
You will find that the colors tend to be a lot more prominent throughout the fall, as this is spawning season. Unlike other types of salmon fish, there are no teeth on the roof of the mouth of the brook trout. Brook trout also tend to grow slower when compared with other types of salmon fish as well. On average, this fish will reach between 9 and 10 inches in length.
There are a number of different factors that will impact the feeding habits, longevity, and growth rate of the fish, including water temperature, available forage, and elevation. Headwater streams tend to play host to the smallest trout, and so it is rare to find brook trout here that is over around six or seven inches in length. In ponds and lakes that are more productive, brook trout will live longer and they can achieve lengths that extend 20 inches while also weighing more than 10 pounds.
Top Brook Trout Fishing Lures & Tips
In terms of diet, brook trout will feed on a number of different organisms. This includes fishes, mollusks, insects, leeches, plankton, worms, and more. They are known to be creatures that are highly opportunistic. They will eat a number of different types of insects, and they tend to prefer nymph and adult forms of drifting insets of the aquatic variety. Small fish, beetles, and ants are next on the list of their favorite things to eat. Generally speaking, when in small streams in southern areas, the brook trout will typically feed on primarily aquatic insects. In contracts, the brook trout population within the larger northern rivers and lakes will feed on larger prey like minnows and mice, as well as insects.
We have a number of different tips to help you when it comes to fishing for this type of fish. Artificial lures work well when you are fishing for brook trout, especially worms of flies. You can also use live bait, which we would recommend. This is because you can be more productive with less effort when using live bait. Some of the most popular live baits to use include earthworms, minnows, waxworms, and maggots.
Caddisflies, stoneflies, and mayflies tend to be the most common aquatic insects to imitate while you are fishing for brook trout. You can also fish with terrestrial insects as well. This can work well. Good examples include spiders, ants, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and beetles. This approach is especially effective in locations that have overhanging trees where these insects would typically fall from.
What sort of gear should you use while trying to catch a brook trout? Popular gear for this type of fishing includes using a couple of ⅙ ounce spinners, as well as a 4-6 pound monofilament line, a 6-foot spinning rod with matching reel, a jar of power bait, a package of number five lead split shot, and size eight bait hooks. This won’t let you down.
Can you eat Brook Trout?
A lot of people want to know whether or not they are going to be able to eat the brook trout they catch. The good news is that you can! This is an excellent fish for culinary purposes. The fish cooks quickly and tastes delicious. Plus, you can prepare it in a number of different ways as well.
Many people are shocked by how quickly brook trout cook, so you do need to be careful when handling this fish. A good way to cook this species for the first time is to do so on the grill. When the grill is hot, cover the fish using some thick aluminum foil. It is a good idea to add some butter to the outside of the fish. Turn over halfway through cooking so you can be sure the fish cooks evenly. You can find some great recipes for enjoying this type of fish online as well, so check them out!
So there you have it: the full guide to eating brook trout. We hope that this has helped you to get a better understanding of what to expect when fishing for this species. You will certainly have a great challenge on your hands when it comes to brook trout and going on a fishing trip for this species.