Today, let’s talk about the 3 main freshwater trout types in the US. Each has slightly differing habits.
This fish is the only trout that is native to the US. We have to worry about
the continuation of this species because of the brook trout’s: need for “clear waters of high purity and a narrow pH range in lakes, rivers, and streams, being sensitive to poor oxygenation, pollution, and changes in pH caused by environmental effects such as acid rain.”1
Smaller than either the brown or rainbow trout, the “brookie” lives comfortably in water too shallow for the other trout. They use the green vegetation as hiding areas.
“Brookies” are aggressive and fairly easy to catch. If you catch a 14 inch ‘brookie’ — it’s a genuine trophy game fish.
These fish were imported from Europe; now they are abundant and average between 14 and 18 inches.
Smart and wary, your shadow on the water will warn them away for a couple of hours! Catching browns requires patience and luck.
The browns “hang out” under fallen branches and in deep pools. They only come to the shallows to eat in the early morning and late afternoon. Favorite treats are mayflies and caddis flies.
Rainbows once lived only in west coast waters. Their habitat is very different from the browns and brookies.
Rainbows call fast waters their ‘home.’ If you’ve ever seen a rainbow ‘tail-walking,’ you have seen one of the wonders of nature!
Keep in mind that trout always have a “Plan B.” When upset or hooked, they rush to a pile of underground rocks or a mass of brush or submerged logs. Often, they leave your hook and line in the rocks or brush as they run away.
Remember that trout are very heat-cold sensitive. If it is 90 degrees above the water, they have moved into the deep pools (that are a cool 55 degrees).
If you are shivering while you fish (the outside air is a chilly 45 degrees), then the trout are down in the deep pools, where the water is a warm 55 degrees.
Trout are opportunistic feeders. What is available to them when you are fishing? If it is spring, there are lots of hatching mayflies, caddisflies and stone-flies. Your best bet is using an artificial fly that looks like these foods.
If you are ice fishing, then the trout are looking for minnows. That’s what you need for bait.
1 Wikipedia, “Brook Trout”
* These 3 Trout Portraits are from the Wild Wing Collection of Vantage Point Graphics. Used by permission. (Images are click-able)
This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com