Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis
Brook trout are native to the northeastern United States and Canada. Brook trout require clean, clear, cold streams with temperatures ranging from 53° F. to 60° F. They generally live in spring-fed streams with many pools and riffles. There they hide in undercut banks, under large rocks, in deep pools and near banks with overhanging trees and plants. Brook trout are mostly carnivorous. They feed on many water and land insects such as mayflies, caddis flies, midges and beetles. As they increase in size they will go after larger prey, such as leeches, small fish, mollusks, frogs, and salamanders.
Brook trout spawn in late fall in shallow, gravelly areas of streams with clean bottoms and good water flows. Spring-fed headwaters are ideal, but they will also spawn in the gravel-bottomed areas of lakes where spring waters occur. The female uses her body to made a redd in the gravel. The redd is about 4 to 6 inches deep. The female lays eggs and the male deposits sperm. After spawning, the female covers eggs with gravel. Over the winter the eggs slowly develop. Clean, oxygenated water flowing through the redd keeps the eggs clean and helps them to develop successfully.
When alevins hatch in late spring they have a yolk sac attached. They remain in the gravel and grow using nourishment from the yolk sac. When the yolk sacs are absorbed the fry emerge from the gravel and begin to search for food. They feed on aquatic insects. They reach a size of 2 to 4 inches in a year. They are preyed upon by larger fish, birds, and small mammals, such as otters and minks.