Also known as speckled trout, mountain trout and char. This is one of the more attractive members of the trout family, with colors ranging from olive to blue-gray to black on the back, with a gray or white belly. It has a wormlike pattern on the back and bright red, white and black fins, with red spots on its side accented with bluish halos. The most distinguishing feature is the white stripe along the edge of the lower fins. Sometimes has a square, unforked tail.
Not a particularly large fish. Most are in the one-pound range, with some going up to two pounds. Utah is known for its large brook trout in the lakes in the Boulder Mountains, some reaching up to five pounds. Brook trout like clean, cold water, and Utah is fortunate enough to have many such waters; consequently brook trout are widely distributed throughout the state. Brook trout can successfully spawn in both streams and lakes and are one fish that benefits from harvest. Left unchecked, the population can be stunted or produce only smaller fish. As a result, many of the lakes in the Uintas and on the Boulders allow the taking of four extra brook trout. Brook trout can live most places where water temperature stays below 70 degrees and are often found in lower elevation tail waters, bigger rivers, spring creeks and spring-fed ponds both beaver and man-made. The world record brook trout weighed 14 pounds, 8 ounces. The Utah record is 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was caught in a lake on the Boulder Mountains in 1971. This is a very showy fish, which makes it popular with anglers. It is native to the Eastern states. It was brought into Utah in 1875. The first officially recorded plant took place in 1894, when 1,500 fish were stocked into Utah Lake and 500 into City Creek. By 1903, most suitable waters had been stocked with brook trout.
Brook trout are especially abundant on Utah's Uinta and Boulder mountains. Also found in fewer numbers in other high-mountain lakes.
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Brook trout eat mostly insects and are especially easy to catch on artificial flies. On streams, fly fishing with floating lines is preferred. Best flies for streams are Royal Wulff, Adams, Stimulators and Sailor Ants. On high mountain lakes, the most effective method is to cast a dry fly using spinning gear, where the fly is trailed behind a water bubble, such as a Cast-A-Bubble that is half-full of water for weight. Favorite flies for lake fishing include Renegade, Black Ant, Mosquito, Elk Hair Caddis, Griffiths Gnat and Black Beetles. When brook trout are not feeding on the surface, fill the bubble full of water so it will sink and use a Prince or Hare's Ear nymph or a Woolly Bugger or Leech in black, brown or dark olive. A good way to catch bigger brooks is to cast leeches by springs or cold water inlets where brook trout come to spawn in the fall. Bigger brook trout are known to eat small fish and favor cooler water and are often caught by casting Wobblers and Spinners in the deeper parts of a lake. Favorite lures for big brooks are Jakes Spin-a-lure, Kastmaster, Super Duper and Maisies in copper or brass.
Note: Stocked sterile tiger trout are replacing brook trout in many drainages in Utah where there is a problem with stunting and competition with native cutthroat trout populations.
Byron Gunderson, Fish Tech Outfitters, contributed to this story