Whether you’re a veteran trout fisherman or just starting out, brook trout fishing can be one of the most satisfying experiences. This guide will help you find the best places to fish for these native trout.
These brightly colored, delicate fish are common in small streams throughout North America. They spawn in the fall, creating their nests in gravel close to spring-fed portions of the stream.
Brook trout can be found in a variety of aquatic environments, including rivers, streams, tributaries, small ponds, lakes, and estuaries. They can also migrate long distances in search of conditions that meet their needs for both feeding and breeding.
During spring and fall, brook trout should be most active as they feed on hatching insects. This makes it a good time to fish for them with flies. You should cast out just above the area where you think the trout are hiding.
Another good strategy is to look for deeper water in your stream or river. This can be found in spots a few feet behind rocks or boulders or deep plunge pools created by waterfalls and large boulders.
Once you find deeper water, you should fish this spot repeatedly. You can do this by casting to the spot several times and waiting for the bait to drift in just the right position.
Once the lure or bait is in the right position, you should slowly wade into the water and watch for the brook trout to strike. This is a good strategy because you will be able to avoid spooking the fish. It also allows you to see if any snags in the water may be preventing you from catching them.
Small streams that aren’t deep and have quick-moving currents are the best places to find brook trout. These waterways are also often easy to navigate and safe for beginners. You may want to bring along some waders (link to Amazon) and a fishing vest to make your fishing experience easier.
Brook Trout are opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever they can find. In smaller streams, they prefer aquatic insects that live under the rocks and along the bottom of the stream. They also eat land insects that fall into the water and small crayfish.
During the spawning season, brook trout move to riffles, where spring water passes through the gravel. This is where they build their nests by swimming hard into the gravel and vibrating their body, and sweeping their tail.
In the winter, brook trout can be found in many lakes as well as in the ice. In the winter, you should search for areas of significant depth change like underwater islands, raises, shoals, and along the top of channels to target brook trout through the ice.
You should check your state’s fishing regulations before going out and catching any brook trout. They vary wildly from state to state, so be sure to do your research and verify bag limits and minimum size requirements before you go fishing.
Best Type of Water
If you want to catch a lot of brook trout, the best place is a small stream. These water systems have cold temperatures and steady flows year-round. They also have plenty of natural weeds and vegetation along their banks to provide cover for these hardy fish.
These water systems usually have a strong current that pushes food and insects downstream. There are often little eddies and rocky areas where the flow slows. The trout will hide in these spots to wait for their prey to enter the stream.
To fish for brook trout in small streams, you’ll need a small to medium-weighted nymph like a wooly bugger or a dry fly with an attractor such as a Royal Wulff. These flies work well for a variety of trout habitats, but you can switch to a wet fly or streamer once your dry flies aren’t producing.
One of the most challenging aspects of fishing for brook trout in small streams is that they’re known for spooking easily, even if they’re hiding in a deep pool. That’s why it’s important to assess the scene carefully and conceal your outline before making a cast.
Once you’ve identified the pockets, you’ll want to cast upstream from the deepest part of the pool to get your flies down where they can be found by the brook trout. This is especially true if the head of a run has lots of little nooks and crannies or current seams that bring in more food than the rest of the section of water.
Do Trout Like Fast or Slow Water?
Brook trout love cool, slow water. This is why it’s so important to find streams and lakes that have cold water year-round.
The most consistent places to find trout in small streams are pockets of slow water separated by obstacles such as rocks, falls, and riffles. These pockets are perfect for holding trout as they rest while waiting for food to drift in the current.
When fishing a worm or other bait, cast upstream and let it drift naturally, just like a bug would. When the rig reaches the bottom, reel in slowly and work it back with many pauses.
Trout also appreciate shade, so fish them in areas with a lot of cover such as log jams, eddies, and big rocks. This helps them hide from predators while they wait for prey to drift in the current.
Lastly, in smaller streams with narrow runs, you can catch trout by reading the stream to find where they are holding. If the bite is hot, you may be able to catch trout on every cast, but it’s better to read a stream rather than try to force the fish to take your lure.
The best flies for brook trout are the ones that imitate their favorite prey items, such as worms, nymphs, and minnows. Using smaller hooks and thinner lines helps the flies get into the fish’s mouth faster.
Brook trout are opportunistic feeders and will eat a variety of prey. Salamanders, frogs, mice, and even eels are all common food items for brook trout if given the opportunity.
They also eat a variety of crustaceans, including scuds and sowbugs. Scuds are commonly found in small streams and rivers worldwide, and brook trout will eat them like shrimp or crayfish.
Sowbugs are also a favorite food item for brook trout, and they can be a great option to target while fishing. Sowbugs are similar to scuds, but they spend most of their life on land, making them more easily accessible to a hungry brook trout.
Other large terrestrials in a brook trout’s diet include cicadas, dragonflies, and stoneflies. These insects typically emerge from the water during late June through August, and a hungry brook trout will be willing to take advantage of these hatches.
Another popular food item for brook trout is worms. These are especially good during the summer when brook trout seek cooler waters to keep cool. They’re also a good option for anglers with limited gear and budgets, as they can be caught on a fly line or hook without carrying a lot of equipment.
Chasing brook trout in tiny mountain streams is one of the best ways to get hooked on fly fishing. It’s a thriving sport with stunning habitat and aggressive takes.
Whether you’re chasing brook trout in cold, clear mountain streams or a clean pond, having the right flies in your box can make all the difference on your next trip. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of 11 flies you should always have in your fly box when fishing for brook trout.
Classic streamers like the Wooly Bugger are great for catching brook trout in small streams and creeks. They come in many different colors and can be fished in a variety of ways.
You can fish a Wooly Bugger under a dropper in riffles and deep pockets or up close to structure or overhanging trees. The bugger will dip underneath the water in these situations and catch a lot of brook trout.
Another great fly to use when chasing brook trout is the San Juan Worm. This fly will imitate real worms in the fish’s diet and is very effective when other flies aren’t producing.
When targeting rising brook trout, you should always have a variety of dry flies available in your fly box. You’ll want to have transitional emerger patterns such as hare’s ear nymphs, Copper Johns, and Hare’s Ear Prince Nymphs on hand. This will help you target emerging fish without presenting the fly too much.