Monday, April 8, 2013

Wildlife Quiz - The Eastern Brook Trout

A Maine native, the Eastern Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) also goes by several other nicknames, including Squaretail, Brookie and Speckled Trout. Brook trout have long, streamlined bodies with an adipose fin between the dorsal and square tailfin. Fins have a distinctive white leading edge.

Color is largely variable, depending on habitat, water quality and food sources. Specimens run from dark green to almost black with wormlike markings, also called vermiculations, along the back. Males even boast sides of bright orange-red, during the height of breeding season.

Brook trout are not tolerant of high-water temperatures, preferring a range between 57-60 degrees Fahrenheit. During the height of the summer, brook trout will seek the shelter of rocks, logs, undercut banks and deep pools to escape the heat, only moving to shallow waters after sunset to feed.

Brook trout are extremely sensitive to pollutants, needing cool, clear water to survive. Therefore, the overall health of a body of water is directly connected to the wellbeing of its brook-trout population. With optimal conditions, brook trout inhabiting streams can live almost 3 years while those living in larger bodies of water, such as lakes and ponds tend to live upwards of 5-6 years.

Brook trout typically spawn between September and October, with eggs hatching into fry within two to three months. After hatching, fry feed primarily on insects and will move onto larger prey including crayfish and even small rodents as they mature. Maine anglers favor the brook trout, as exquisite table fare. Every year, novice and expert alike pursue the delectable squaretail by means of the worm and bobber, super duper, various flies and even live minnows through the ice.

Wildlife Quiz Questions
1. Does a brook trout’s mouth extend past its eye?
2. When do brook trout spawn?
3. When do brook trout become sexually mature?
4. What is the average length of the three-year-old Maine brook trout?
5. What is the current state of Maine record brook trout?
6. What grows faster stream or lake brook trout populations?
7. Are brook trout related to salmon?
8. How many states list brook trout the state fish?

Wildlife Quiz Answers
1. Yes, a Brook Trout’s mouth extends past its eye.
2. Brook trout spawn typically between September and December.
3. Brook trout become sexually mature at around one year of age.
4. The average length of a three-year-old Maine brook trout is 13.3 inches.
5. The current state record brook trout is 9-pounds, 2-ounces. It was caught by Patrick Coanon Mousam Lake on 1/8/10.
6. Stream populations or brook trout are typically slower growing than lake populations.
7. Yes, brook trout are in the family group Salmonidae and related to salmon.
8. Eight sates have brook trout as the state fish, including Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

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