Eastern Brook Trout

June 14, 2023
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Origin: Eastern brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) are not native to freshwaters west of the Rockies. Using broodstock that originated in Ontario, the Society stocks various water bodies with fish that are collected in a lake near Kamloops. This lake is closed to fishing.

Habitat: While eastern brook trout prefer cool water, they can tolerate a wider range of water temperatures and higher acidities than other salmonids. In B.C., you’ll mostly find brook trout in lakes, but there are also some small populations in low-velocity streams and rivers. They are not particularly fussy eaters, and will consume a broad range of organisms. Juvenile fish typically feed on zooplankton and aquatic insects. Older, larger brook trout may specialize in forage fish from open water or focus on nymphs, leeches, and adult aquatic insects from the lake-bottom. In general, the eastern brook trout’s diet will adjust to whatever food is available.

Description: Eastern brook trout have a deep body, square tail, and a large head relative to the total body length. Typically, they have olive-green to dark brown backs, with lighter colouring on the sides that becomes white on the bottom. Characteristic marble-like patterns are present on the head and back, with thick, black, wavy lines on the dorsal fin. Pale spots, and small discrete red spots surrounded by blue halos, are present along the sides of the body. Anal, pelvic, and pectoral fins have white leading edges followed by black pigment and reddish colouration. Their colour becomes more intense at spawning time, with males turning fiery orange-red on the belly.

Fishing: Brook trout are not as popular a sport fish in B.C. as in eastern Canada. However, a growing number of enthusiastic anglers target this aggressive striker. Brook trout provide good angling during both the summer and winter months where lake water temperatures have made rainbow trout less active. Wet or dry flies, spoons, spinners, and bait are all successful methods of targetting brook trout.