Brook trout or brookies are fish native to the United States, specifically the Great Lakes and Eastern states. Their abundance is why anglers are interested in learning how to catch brook trout. Compared to rainbow and brown trout, brook trout are much smaller, averaging 12 to 16 inches long.
They’re excellent fish to eat and there’s no need to secure complex or expensive equipment to catch them. Even with the simplicity, you may want some tips to ensure you bring some home after a trip outdoors.
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How to Fish for Brook Trout
Here are tips on how to catch brook trout regardless of whether you’re a beginner or seasoned angler:
Know Where to Fish
Brook trout can be found in fresh bodies of water where the water temperature is cold, particularly across the northeastern part of the United States.
The quality and temperature of the water play a massive role in finding whether or not a freshwater stream supports a healthy trout population and other species of fish.
Brook trout fish have been spotted and caught in slat bodies of water, but most anglers prefer targeting brookies in the headwaters of a stream.
- Streams: If you’ll be brook trout fishing in small streams, you should know they are unlikely to produce big trout. The biggest you can get will be 6 inches long. There are various factors that result in smaller fish, such as a lack of food and shelter. Brook trout have a hard time hiding from their predators when they are in shallow streams. If you want to learn how to catch brook trout in a stream, prepare yourself to walk long distances. If hiking doesn’t suit you, look for logs or boulders that cause a current break as they’re most likely used by trout as cover.
- Lakes and Ponds: Brookies can also be caught in lakes and beaver ponds so long as they stay cool for trout to survive. Coldwater lakes and ponds are usually where large trout can be caught. Although brook trout get bigger in lakes than in streams, manage your expectations as they won’t grow to the same size as a lake trout. Locating the fish can also present a challenge due to depth. Still, the species have predictable habits and patterns. They usually hang around depth changes, cover, and swim in schools within ponds and lakes.
Have Patience When Fishing
The same fishing tactics and techniques that are used to catch all other species of trout e.g. brown and rainbow trout may be used to catch brookies.
Fly fishing brook trout will entail the same gear you use when catching rainbow and brown trout. If you already have fly fishing tackle, a small net, tackle bag, and waders, then you don’t need to purchase ultralight fishing tackle for brook trout.
Have patience when you’re fly fishing brook trout. It takes a lot of patience and practice to get the fly exactly where you intend it to be so it floats where brook trout want it.
Fly fishing for trout, regardless of the species, is extremely effective so it’s arguably the best way to catch brook trout. It’s also rewarding as determination and a lot of patience are both necessary in landing a brook trout successfully.
When you use ultralight fishing gear, you’ll still have to muster up some patience. Many baits, however, are reaction-style. The lures can trigger the instinct of the fish to strike even when they weren’t given enough time in inspecting the lure.
Power baits or dough baits are incorporated with smells that are very attractive to the fish. They lead brook trout to believe they’re great sources of food.
Use the Most Effective Lures
You can use the same lures that you use to catch other trout species. This is because they mostly have similar diets.
A lure that mimics the food of trout is effective. Flies are the most common lures for trout, but most especially with brook trout. Flies that you can use with brook trout include Chubby Chernobyl, Smokejumper Midge, and the Parachute Adams.
We suggest you use a rod and reel combo that’s specifically for catching trout. Spinning rods and reels will suffice. Sometimes, you’d want to present your lure weightless if you want the realistic approach. But, there may be times when you need to use split shot weights over the bait to improve your casting distance and for the bait to go deep into the water.
Spinning lures and spoons are also effective to use with spinning rods and reels for trout. But, when you fish a shallow stream or river, they will get snagged.
We recommend you don’t use spinners when you’re in shallow water that’s less than a foot deep if you don’t want to spend the majority of your time getting hung up rather than fishing.
Use Live Bait
You can also use live bait as they’re opportunistic feeders. Wild trout, unlike the ones that are raised in the hatchery, feed on insects e.g. insect larva and mayflies; worms; small minnows; and all other types of invertebrates.
While trout that are raised in hatcheries learn to eat whatever is available in their surroundings, native brook trout is better suited in eating what’s in the wild.
Large brook trout are even known to eat large minnows and small mice. It will eat whatever it can get inside its mouth just like any other game fish.
We’ll leave you with one more tip which can help when you’re learning how to catch brook trout: don’t look for them in the dog days of summer.
Brookies are temperature sensitive. When the water temperature isn’t cool enough for them, they’ll drop down into the areas that offer them the temperatures that they need to survive and thrive.
This will be in deeper parts of the water or in a spring that has cooler and well-oxygenated water.