Also a member of the char family (although not referred to as one), the brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is native to the Northeast and parts of the north-central U.S.A stunningly beautiful fish, the brook trout is also the most demandingperhaps delicate is a better termregarding water quality. Although its name suggests a running-water habitat (and most brookies these days are found in small, usually mountainous streams), brookies dwell in ponds and lakes that usually have an incoming source of cold water, such as a tributary or a spring. Unfortunately, the encroachment of civilization has severely cut back the brook trout's range, although stocking efforts by state fisheries departments allow a put-and-take brook trout fishery in many areas.
Native brook trout in streams may average only 6 inches or so (but these streams may be only 6 feet wide). In lakes, brook trout grow to larger sizes, though still not as big as other trout species. Brookies eat a variety of forage, although in most places it's limited to aquatic and terrestrial insects, baitfish, and crustaceans. Brookies are not difficult to catch, but at times these fish will turn off and frustrate even the most dedicated fishermen. In streams, flyfishermen should use bright wet flies, small streamers, and nymphs; spinfishermen do well with live bait such as garden worms and small minnows and with miniature spinners and spoons. Baits and lures for lakes are similar and can be somewhat larger.
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