7 Things You Never Knew About Brook Trout

Presented by Abel Reels

Brook trout are definitely one of our favorite species to target on the fly. They are beautiful, live in incredible places, and will not hesitate to slam a dry fly. This photo essay is from this past weekend fishing in Pennsylvania. Most of the fish were caught stripping dry flies, or on a small nymph behind a dry. Here are a handful of interesting facts that you may not have known about one of your favorite species:


#1 – They’re Not Technically a Trout

Brook trout are actually not technically a “Trout”. They are They are in the Char family, although they are the most “Trout Like” in their family.


#2 – As Long as the Water is Cold and Clean, They Can Live Just About Anywhere…

Brook trout inhabit a wide range of habitats, from tiny mountain streams to large deep lakes. They require cold clean water and tend to be sensitive to low oxygen levels. Most brook trout live to be about 5 years old and stay under 12 inches in size, but the larger brook trout can actually live to be over 10 years old!


#3 – Some Brookie Sub-Species Can Thrive in Saltwater

Certain strains of brook trout have known to be Anadromous, living in salt and then running up into rivers to reproduce. These fish are referred to as “Coasters” or “Salters” – the salters going from salt to river, and the Coasters going from the Great Lakes to spawn in tributaries of the lakes.


#4 – In the Right Settings, They Can Get Giant…

The largest brook trout ever caught was John William Cook’s world-record brook trout—caught in July 1916 on Ontario’s Nipigon River—was 31.5 inches long and weighed in 14.5 pounds.


#5 – They Are the Most Popular Official State Fish

The Brook Trout takes first place for the most popular state fish with these states claiming it for their Official State Fish; Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.


#6 – They Like to Get Freaky in the Fall…

Brook trout spawn in late summer or autumn in gravel beds in the shallows of headwaters of streams. Females are known to lay between 100-5000 eggs depending on her size, hatching 50-100 days later. They have been known to eat their own eggs at spawning time and even their own young.


#7. The Tiger Trout is a Hybrid of a Brook Trout.

The splake and the tiger trout are both hybrids of the brook trout.

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