Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) are a slender and elongated fish that generally resemble a Brown Trout in form. Brook Trout can be differentiated by their large mouth which extends beyond the level of the eye. They have an olive-green background body colour with pale, worm-like lines and spots (called vermiculation) of lighter shades across the flanks and back and extending at least to the dorsal fin, and often to the tail. A distinctive sprinkling of red dots, surrounded by blue halos, occurs along the flanks. The pelvic, pectoral and anal fins are dark grey with a prominent white anterior margin.
The Brook Trout is much smaller than other trout species. Brook trout can grow to around 6kg in Australian water but are most commonly caught to around the 2kg mark.
This native to the east coast of North America was introduced to Australia in the 1870s. Populations are maintained by stocking of hatchery-reared fish. Brook Trout live in cool waters of streams and lakes. Only a few self-sustaining populations have been established in some rivers in the Snowy Mountain and New England regions and of N.S.W. and the Clarence Lagoon and lakes of the Tyndall Ranges of Tasmania.
Although commonly called a Trout, the Brook Trout is actually a member of the Char Family. It is native to Eastern North America in the United States and Canada. Brook trout are only found in a few select waters in Australia.
Typical lengths of the brook trout vary from 25 to 65 cm (9.8 to 25.6 in), and weights from 0.3 to 3 kg (0.66 to 6.61 lb). The maximum recorded length is 86 cm (34 in) and maximum weight 6.6 kg (15 lb).
Brook trout have a diverse diet that includes larval, pupal, and adult forms of aquatic insects (typically caddisflies, stoneflies, mayflies and aquatic dipterans), and adult forms of terrestrial insects (typically ants, beetles, grasshoppers and crickets) that fall into the water, crustaceans, frogs and other amphibians, molluscs, smaller fish, invertebrates, and even small aquatic mammals such as voles.
Only a few self-sustaining populations have been established in some rivers in the Snowy Mountain and New England regions and of N.S.W. and the Clarence Lagoon and lakes of the Tyndall Ranges of Tasmania.
The little Brookie shown above, and adorning the cover of the February 2020 Newsletter, was caught at 3 mile Dam during a Club trip to the Snowies.