Native to North America: most of eastern Canada from Newfoundland to the western side of the Hudson Bay, South along the Appalachian Mountains to the Carolinas and Georgia, the Great Lakes and a few headwaters in the Mississippi River Basin. Introduced to Arizona in 1903. Brook trout are actually chars, related more closely to fishes that live in colder areas of the Northern Hemisphere than to true trout. They are smaller than true trout. Gray to olive-green on the back. Vermiculations or worm-like markings on the back and dorsal fin. Sides lighter in color with blue halos around pink or red spots. White edge on lower fins and lower tail. Length: 5 to 12 inches. Weight: 3 ounces to over 3 pounds. Reaches a maximum age of 24 years in extreme cold climates with short growing seasons.
Brook trout are found in colder streams and lakes in the White Mountains and in lakes and streams on the Apache Reservation. They reproduce in streams but are most often found in lakes stocked by the Department. They have a low tolerance for high water temperatures.
Unlike most trout, spawning occurs in late October through December. Spawning behavior in stream gravels with guarded redds is similar to other trout species.
They feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects and invertebrates. Larger adults prefer big food items that may include smaller fish.
They are easy to catch, especially in the early spring or late fall when cold water temperatures keep the fish very active. They are also easily caught near rocky and gravel shorelines during fall spawning runs. They are caught on wet flies, small spinning lures and worms.
The brook trout has a delicious flavor, with flaky meat ranging in color from white to pinkish-orange.
Updated October 2009