Brook trout are a type of char belonging to the salmon family, Salmonidae. They are native to Eastern North America in the United States and Canada, but have been introduced elsewhere in North America, as well as to Iceland, Europe, and Asia. In parts of its range, it is also known as the eastern brook trout, speckled trout, brook charr, squaretail, brookie or mud trout, among others. A potamodromous population in Lake Superior, as well as an anadromous population in Maine, is known as coaster trout or, simply, as coasters.
The brook trout inhabits large and small lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and spring ponds. They prefer clear waters of high purity and a narrow pH range and are sensitive to poor oxygenation, pollution, and changes in pH caused by environmental effects such as acid rain. The typical pH range of brook trout waters is 5.0 to 7.5, with pH extremes of 3.5 to 9.8 possible. Water temperatures typically range from 34 to 72 °F (1 to 22 °C). Warm summer temperatures and low flow rates are stressful on brook trout populations—especially larger fish.
Some brook trout are anadromous, meaning they spend part of their lives in freshwater and part in saltwater. They spawn in freshwater streams and rivers, and their young spend the first few years of their lives in freshwater before migrating to the ocean. Brook trout that live in the ocean are known as "salters."
Brook trout are an important part of the aquatic ecosystem. They are a popular game fish, and they also help to control populations of insects and other small fish. Brook trout are also a food source for larger fish, birds, and mammals.
Brook trout are facing a number of threats, including habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. Habitat loss is a major threat to brook trout, as they require clean, cold water with abundant aquatic vegetation. Pollution can also harm brook trout, as it can contaminate their food sources and make them more susceptible to disease. Climate change is also a threat to brook trout, as it can cause changes in water temperature and flow that make it difficult for them to survive.
There are a number of things that can be done to help protect brook trout. These include protecting their habitat, reducing pollution, and managing fisheries sustainably. We can also all do our part to help protect brook trout by being aware of the threats they face and making choices that support their conservation.