Status: Not Listed
The brook trout—also called the speckled trout—is a beautifully colored fish with yellow spots over an olive-green back. The spots along the trout’s back are stretched and almost wormlike in shape. Along its sides, the brook trout’s color transitions from olive to orange or red, with scattered red spots bordered by pale blue. Its lower fins are orange or red, each with a white streak and a black streak, and its underside is a milky white. A brook trout usually reaches 9 to 10 inches (23 to 25 centimeters) in length.
Brook trout are found throughout Canada and the northeastern United States. Their range extends as far south as the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and as far west as Minnesota. They are often found in clean, cool mountain streams, including the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and are most active around dawn and dusk. During the day, brook trout may retreat to deeper waters.
These fish are extremely opportunistic and eat a variety of insects, often preferring adult and nymph forms of aquatic insects. They will also eat beetles, ants, and small fish when they’re available.
Brook trout spawn in the fall and hatching occurs in January. By the end of their first summer, juvenile brook trout are typically about three to four inches (7 to 10 centimeters) long. On average, a brook trout lives two to three years.
Established populations of brook trout are not generally considered threatened. Floods and droughts are likely the main causes of population changes for brook trout. Overharvesting can also presents a threat to populations of this fish. Additionally, non-native fish that have been stocked in ponds and streams for fishermen are often more aggressive than brook trout and create a risk for this species.
5 Fun Facts
1. Brook trout are a type of char belonging to the salmon family, Salmonidae.”
2. Unlike other types of salmon, brook trout have no teeth on the roof of their mouth.
3. When a male brook trout breeds with a female brown trout, their offspring is called a “tiger trout."
4. Brook trout are crepuscular, or active mostly at dawn and dusk.
5. Predators of the brook trout include northern water snakes, heron, kingfishers, otters, and snapping turtles.
Chesapeake Bay Program
National Park Service
Pocketguide to Eastern Streams, by T. Travis and Shanda Brown
Give a gift that makes a difference for wildlife!Adopt Today
Give today to support our work protecting polar bears, bison, and many more at-risk species.Donate
Give the gift that arrives year-round: ANY subscription to Ranger Rick for 60% off + 2 FREE bonus gifts with each order!Order Now
Place your order today for the themed box that delivers everything you need to create family memories while discovering nature and wildlife.Learn More
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.