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Brook Trout Facts

Leena Palande
Humans live in polluted areas, but brook trouts cannot, and the very presence of these fish is an indicator that the water is clean. As you delve into this story, you will come across more of such facts about this trout species.
Brook trouts (Salvelinus fontinalis), a.k.a., eastern brook trouts, speckled trouts, and squaretails, are found in many parts of North America. They are easy to identify because of their elongated, tapering body and greenish-black color.
The word fontinalis means 'from spring'―an apt name for a species, which is mostly found in springs. Brook trouts are considered a delicacy in their native habitat.

Interesting Facts about Brook Trouts

  • The geographical range of this species spans North America, or more specifically, the Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland, Labrador, the Great Lakes drainage basin, and north to James and Hudson Bays.
  • These fish are easy to identify due to the presence of certain marks or vermiculation present on their body. Their body is covered with spots or worm-like markings.
  • Brook trouts have a rounded snout and a large mouth. On closer observation, you will find that the lower part of their mouth is pointed. They have a square tail and hence, the name 'squaretail'. Interestingly, their appearance is based on their environment and found to vary with it.
  • Although the species is dark on top, its stomach is reddish or orange in color. In adult males, it is redder than other species.
  • The average lifespan for brook trouts is 4 to 7 years. While some fish are believed to live only for 4 years, there are instances of some living for up to 15 years. Sadly, such cases are very rare.
  • Usually the length of brook trouts is found to be 10 to 12 inches. However, a 33-inch long brook trout has also been recorded.
  • The weight of a brook trout can be anything between 10 oz to 7 lb. The recorded maximum weight though, has been found to be 14.5 lb.
  • These fish mostly live in clear freshwater streams, lakes, springs, and rivers. In fact, the presence of this variety is an indication that the water is clear.
  • These fish are never found in areas where development is seen, as they cannot survive in polluted conditions. Instead, they are mostly found in mountainous areas, where the environment is clean.
  • Brook trouts primarily feed on insects that are found in water. At the same time, they are also known to feast on other aquatic creatures, like baby aquatic snakes, small fish, mollusk, fry, spiders, crustaceans, tadpoles, etc.
  • Humans are the major predators of brook trouts, which is a delicacy in its native habitat. However, other larger fish also eat them.
  • At the age of one year, brook trouts attain sexually maturity. They spawn between September and December.
  • The female brook trout lays thousands of eggs. The eggs are usually laid in streams with cold water. Their eggs are incubated throughout winter and hatch in spring.
  • This fish is considered a good game fish. Fly fishing and grub fishing are the popular methods used for brook trout fishing.
Nowadays, the species is hybridized with other species to form new species, such as the tiger trout (hybrid between brown trout and brook trout) and splake (hybrid between lake trout and brook trout).