Brook trout are actually a char, in the same family as lake trout and bull trout. Originally their range was limited to eastern North America, but through stocking programs they are now found throughout the west also. One of the more brightly colored char, they typically have a dark olive to blackish back transitioning to a whitish belly. Distinctive vermiform (wormlike) markings cover the back. The lower fins have a distinctive white edge, bordered by black and the remaining fin being a reddish-orange. Their sides have red spots, often with a bluish halo. These slender fish also have a square tail. While brookies are frequently viewed as a small fish, seldom getting much over 12 inches, the world record brook trout is more than 14 pounds.
Brook trout are fall spawners, generally in October and November. They seek riffle areas with gravel in streams, spring areas or shores currents for spawning. The females use their tails to sweep out a redd where she’ll lay 100 – 400 eggs. Brookie eggs require continuous oxygenation. Depending on water temperatures, the eggs will incubate 2 to 3 months before hatching. Compared to many fish, brook trout are sensitive as to their environment, requiring clean, cold highly oxygenated (50 to 60 degrees) water, be it streams or lakes.
Brook trout are voracious feeders consuming zooplankton, crustaceans, worms, fish, terrestrial insects, and aquatic insects. They frequently feed on whatever is most readily available. This feature makes them extremely popular with anglers and they will readily take a wide variety of flies and lures.