brook

The brook trout is a brilliantly colored fish. It is readily identified by the white leading edge, backed by black, on its lower fins. A true delight to fish for, these generally small fish have a true wild nature. Due to over fishing, and competition with rainbow and brown trout, their range now is greatly reduced in most states.

Habitat: Brookies are found almost exclusively in the cold, clear, fresh water streams of the mountains. Since they live naturally under near perfect water conditions they are an indicator as to the health of the environment. Preferred water temperature 52° -56° F.
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Cycle: Peak spawning activity can occur as late as mid-October, with spawning completed by early November. Most brook trout spawn annually after reaching maturity. They can successfully spawn over a variety of river bottoms. Preferred spawning temperature range 40° -49° F.

Food: The diet of the Brook trout stays the same through life. Brook trout eat everything available, including aquatic and terrestrial insects, plankton, snails, and leeches.

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Fishing: If you are so lucky as to have the chance to hunt and catch these gems you will be well rewarded. The fish typically travel in schools and once the action begins, it can be overwhelming. In summer, use a small spinner and cast into the shallows. Fly-fishing with bucktail on a sinking line is a great way to get the fish on. Bait fishing can be successful with worms, shrimp, salmon eggs, or the local favorite.

Brown trout are extremely smart and are the most difficult of the trout to catch. These favorites can be distinguished by their brownish-yellow color with dark and red spots on an olive background. The Brown's square tail has few or no spots. Virtually impossible to catch once they get settled into a stream. Often times, fishermen do not receive as much as a nibble and become convinced that the stream is bare. The truth is if the stream or river looks like a home for Brown's, it probably is.

Habitat: The perfect home for a Brown trout is a slower flowing stream with lots of minnows however they have been known to take up residency in small, swift streams and creeks. Browns grow faster and larger than the other species of trout and can be found in much warmer water (60° -70° F). These fish are often stocked in areas that would not normally support trout.

Cycle: During October and November the Brown's will move into their homes streams and tributaries to Spawn. Ideal conditions for spawning are: a gravely bottom at the head of a stream, with a temperature range of 44° -48° F.

Food: As a young trout, the Brown feeds mainly on aquatic insects. Once they reach maturity their diet turns towards medium minnows and chubs occasionally feasting on large crayfish and even rodents. Large trophy class Browns can feed on smaller trout other game fish (Bass, Perch, etc.).

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Fishing: Brown Trout, like all trout will seize a good opportunity for a meal, or what they think is a good meal (spinner, fly, crank bait). Arguably the hardest trout to catch, often the largest feed only at night and very selectively. Brown's can be taken with dry flies, streamers and stonefly nymphs for the fly fisherman. Spoons, spinners, plugs, night crawlers, hellgrammites, and crawfish are favorites of the spin fisherman.
Be careful when stalking this elusive fish, all trout have excellent above water vision. The Brown lives as long as it does by hiding at the first sign of movement. Once hooked they tend to be stubborn fighters going deep in an effort to run underneath a fallen tree or rock.

Cutthroat Trout are a handsome and exciting fish to catch. These trout are golden yellow and have dark spots on the body, dorsal, and caudal fin. They are named for the bright red slash mark under the jaw (cutthroat). Cutthroat can also be identified by the presence of small teeth behind the base of the tongue.

Habitat: Often found in stream fed lakes and tributaries, the Cutthroat, when young, enjoys hiding among fallen trees, rocks and other structure. The chosen hiding spot allows them to dart after insects, fish and anything else that happens into the kill zone. As the Cutthroats reach maturity they abandon the " sit and wait" strategy and feed by cruising and eating other fish. Cutthroat can grow from 24 to 28 inches, weigh 8 pounds, and live to be over 12 years old. Big, trophy class Cutthroat are often found among sockeye salmon in large lakes and rivers. Preferred water temperature range is 55° -65° F.

Cycle: Cutthroat trout spawn in the same small headwater streams that they were born in from late April to early June. In the fall they return to their home stream where they mature during the winter months. During the migration, Cutthroats stay close to shore and do not cross open bodies of water. Seldom if ever will a Cutthroat travel more than 40 miles from its home stream. Preferred temperature range for spawning Cutthroat Trout is 42° -48° F.

Food: Juvenile Cutthroats feed on aquatic insects, small fish, and anything else that happens across the kill zone AND can fit in their mouths. Adults hunt minnows and other larger food such as insects.

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Fishing: Cutthroat trout are quite aggressive feeders and will hit almost any lure, spinner, or fly. They stay at the bottom of pools, and gear must be fished close to the bottom to ensure a hit. Often cutthroat can be caught with spinners, or spoons fished deep in pools or along lake shorelines where there is plenty of debris. Fly-fishermen use both dry and wet flies fished off inlet streams to land trophy cutthroats. Look for submerged debris along the shore and cast a mudder minnow on a fast sinking line you'll be glad you did!

rainbow

By far the most encountered form of trout, these beautiful fish have been stocked in most streams by state hatcheries, and have become the backbone of our trout fishery. Rainbows have glowing rows of black spots on the back, sides and tail. A pinkish (rainbow) band can be found on both sides. This fish is noted for its spectacular leaps and hard fighting when hooked.

Habitat: Rainbow trout thrive in clear, cool streams and rivers but have been known to survive in warm silt bottom streams. Rainbows are heartier than their Brook Trout cousins and generally dominate areas shared by the two species. Rainbows prefer a temperature range of 55° -60° F.

Cycle: In early spring, as the water temperature begins to rise, the adult rainbows migrate to shallow riffles or small, clear streams to spawn. Spawning can continue through the month of June. Spawning trout are characterized by generally darker coloration. Spawning Rainbow Trout prefer a temperature range of 44° -50° F.

Food: During the first two or three years of life, rainbow trout will feed mainly on crustaceans, plant material and aquatic insects. At approximately 3 years of age, they will move into larger water (lakes, rivers) and change their diet to fish, large insects, and even small rodents.

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Fishing: The best time of year to catch Rainbows is the spring and fall, before and after spawning. They become powerful animals with an incredible appetite and can be caught on an assortment of spinners, flies, and baits. Many trout fishermen have success with small colorful spinners, spoons, and jigs. Popular flies include mudders, streamers, nymphs, and egg patterns.