Brook Trout



Scientific Name: Salvelinus fontinalis

Origin: Native

Adult Size: Size varies greatly, depending on water temperature, productivity, and food sources. The statewide average length of 3 year-old brook trout in Maine lakes is 13.3 inches. However, same age trout from different lakes range from 7.5 to 17.5 inches in length. Stream populations are typically slower growing than lake populations. Some high elevation trout populations mature and reproduce at lengths smaller than 6 inches.

Identification: Color is variable, depending on habitat. Brook trout can be distinguished from other members of the trout family by the dark, wavy, worm-like line on their back and the white leading edges of their fins, including the tail.

  • The brook trout is commonly called squaretail in Maine.
  • Brook trout are truly coldwater fish.  In Maine, they are never abundant in habitats that do not provide some water where temperatures are less than 60-65º F.
  • Brook trout are a relatively short-lived fish.   Age studies over a wide area of North America, including Maine, have demonstrated that brook trout more than three or four years of age are relatively rare.   Individuals as old as seven years are occasionally taken, but two and three year old fish make up the bulk of anglers’ catches.
  • Brook trout spawn in the fall from September into December.
  • Eggs hatch in 90 days at 40º F.  Length of the incubation period depends on water temperatures.
  • Trout fry feed primarily on immature stages of aquatic insects.
  • The brook trout takes bait or a fly readily and is quite easily caught, even by inexperienced fishermen.  This characteristic, combined with its high aesthetic value and food qualities, makes the species a fine one for intensive fish management purposes.

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