Salvelinus fontinalis, aka brook trout or speckled trout, is the magnificent freshwater specimen displaying a range of pretty colors all over its body. It is a hot favorite for anglers of all skill levels due to its beauty and unique feature mostly. And also due to its sporty nature.
Brook trout fishing is pretty common across the nine states of the USA, New England, Iceland, Canada, and many Asian and European countries, but the fish is native to the Eastern United States.
Brook Trout Exists, It’s A Sign
Not all fish species can indicate what brook trout does. It is thus called the indicator species. If a water body has brook trout residing in abundance and roaming around, it suggests the water there is super clean and healthy. When the number reduces, you can automatically allude that the water condition is worsening.
Brook trout, in this case, works as a blessing for the conservationists. Also, brook trout habitats in comparatively colder water. If the water is cold, for instance, it never exceeds 68 degrees Fahrenheit, you know you can find brook trout there. They require cold water to exist and thrive in it. The moment the water temperature exceeds 77 degrees Fahrenheit, they will be gone, and even if they stay there, they will not tolerate the high temperature for long.
Clean water also indicates that the oxygen level in the water is high. So, not just clean water, cold, pollution-free water, brook trout require water with high oxygen content, too, to survive.
Features and Appearance
Brook trout is a small fish. If you are into brook trout angling, you know the fish will not exceed a length of more than 10 inches in most cases. Even 9-10 inches of length for a brook trout is far-fetched as the expected size is 6-8 inches. The fish is tiny but highly alluring in appearance. The glossy marble patterned body with colorful spots is instantly catchy for the eyes. The marble pattern is referred to as vermiculation, and the body color being either olive green or dark green or a shade of brown.
It all depends on how accurate one is in identifying the exact color and explaining it through words. Pale blue borders surround all the red dots on its whole body. Its belly, lower fin, and tail are all red, and the fins have a dash of white streaks to them with milky white edges on the downside.
Going by the look of its gulping face, it looks more of an innocent, calm fish pretty easy to prey on. However, it is a freshwater gamefish, which puts a tough fight when trapped in the fishing hook. And when cooked, it’s full of flavors that fish eaters can relish upon through different dishes. Due to its unique and colorful appearance, you can distinguish it among a ton of different fishes. Even from among the many types of trout too.
A Char or A Trout
Brook trout is a trout fish. At least the name and Salmonidae family indicate that. However, brook trout, unlike the other trout’s, has a different genus. It’s common in different trout fishes. It’s the genus that makes brook trout different.
The geographic distribution is very different due to that and the appearance too. The dark green or brown body with light spots all over makes the brook trout a char, not a trout. At least not a typical trout that tends to have a light-colored body and dark spots all over.
A Fish to Catch Following Rules
Brook trout are not available in abundance, like say, the Bluegill or other trout. It is almost endangered in some areas. So, anglers have to follow plenty of rules before they attempt to fish for brook trout. Some states have daily limits to catch brook trout due to overfishing and reducing the number of brook trout in specific locations, and you cannot catch more brook trout once you have caught a certain amount. Some states will not allow the anglers to catch the too small brook trout. It has to be a certain length for you to angle and hook them legally.
When the fish has rules and regulations that stick to it for angling, it’s always ideal to know all those rules and regulations and strictly follow them. It is for one’s own good and maintaining the ecosystem of a water body. Find the right location and then take permission from the authority and enjoy angling brook trout staying within rules. Keep some to eat, keep the best as trophy fish and land the rest back in the water.
Best Spots to Catch Brook Trout
We have talked about clean, pure water sources and cold water too. But the chances of getting the brook trout to become higher when you are searching them in small ponds or streams. The cracks, pools, and pockets are their favorite. The water condition being clean, cold remains intact, and it also has to be sandy and full of gravel. And well, vegetated too.
They need woody materials to hide and reside peacefully. Thus, mostly found deep in the water around logs and branches. The more the temperature turns warm, the brook trout go deeper and shallower in the water. So, the best spot for brook trout fishing will be small, shallow streams with a steady flow of water with logs and branches around and under the shade of hanging big trees so that the water remains cool. However, the fishes there will be small, no more than six inches. For bigger trout’s 10 inches and longer, try the large waterfalls, around the boulders there, and shades of giant trees.
Best Bait for The Sporty Brook Trout
Brook trout are pretty much popular as opportunistic feeders. They get enticed the most with aquatic insects. You can also bait them with snails, nightcrawlers, worms, minnows, beetles, ants, crickets, grasshoppers, small bait fishes. And most importantly, artificial lures like jigs, spoon baits, and spinners, but of course small and colorful.
Fly Fishing – The Best Technique for Brook Trout Fishing
Fishing brook trout and the gear and technique you use to angle is completely your choice. You can do with whatever you have and what technique you know the best. However, in our opinion, fly fishing with the proper fly-fishing gear arrangements is the best for fishing brook trout.
Fly Fishing Rod
Starting with the fishing rod, you will need a light fly rod for accurate casting. Keep in mind that the fish you are targeting is a small, petite creature but extremely sporty, so a light fly rod will be easier to tackle.
The fly rod’s length can be slightly longer as you might have to reach further and deeper. A shorter rod will not give you much scope than the longer ones. So, you will need a 6-8 feet long, light fly rod for brook trout fishing. It will be much better if the fly rod turns to be telescopic and allows an increase and decrease in the length according to the location and situation.
Fly Fishing Reel
Die-cast aluminum fly fishing reel is our first preference when it comes to fly fishing reel. However, the condition is the reel has to suit the rod perfectly. So, better you purchase the fly rod and reel together as a combo. Or even if you buy them separately, take some expert opinion on it. A regular spinning reel and an upgraded fly reel with a large arbor will be equally apt for brook trout fishing.
The latter will make your job easier and faster, with ample space remaining even after winding it with the fishing line. The weight of the rod and reel combo will be way lesser too. So, die-cast, spinning or an upgraded light fly-fishing reel with perfect drag and capacity, your need will ultimately be your decision.
Fly Fishing Line
When it’s about fly fishing and the line you are using, things get a little complicated. The tackle has two different lines, a leader and a tippet. We prefer a floating line in fly fishing the brook trout. Now, you will have to tie the leader with the end of the floating line, and on the other side of the leader, you will knot the tippet. We prefer a monofilament nylon leader line, approximately 7 feet in length, to the fly line.
After you have connected the leader, it’s time to tie the 20-25 inches flexible gauge monofilament line as the tippet to the leader. At the end of the tippet, the dangling tip, tie your favorite fly. We love the pheasant tail nymph because brook trout love it. Such a rig proves to be highly versatile, very effective, and super buoyant in brook trout fishing.
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Disguise yourself well with proper outfits and stroll around the stream to get your catch. You do not want to alert the fish with your appearance or activity. You have to be super stealthy yet keep moving, casting in every pool, crack, and pocket in the stream or water body. More than casting, you have to try underhand pitching at the right moment.
Timing is the key in angling this small but sporty fish. The timing of pitching brings us to the better timing of brook trout fishing. It is either the dawn or during the dusk, basically, low light conditions. The brook trout’s are the most active in low-light situations like most freshwater fish species.