Michigan Brook Trout
I’ve been wanting to write about brook trout ever since I started blogging but the problem has been getting photos. Feral loaned me some of his and I found the one above which is a respectable brook trout for the water we fish. Generally speaking, brook trout reside far upstream from where we normally fish. They are more suited to the small headwaters where the water is colder. If we catch a brook trout on the lower stretches of a stream it will often be where a small feeder creek empties into a larger stream. Or where a small spring introduces cold water, sometimes trickling off a hillside.
Brook trout are more aggressive and less wary than brown trout. That works against them (vs fishermen) and may be one reason browns have taken over their territory. According to the Michigan DNR browns were introduced in our rivers in 1883 and say what you will, browns are great sport, run bigger, and are very abundant. That makes catching a nice brook trout all the more interesting. I probably catch one brook trout for every 20 browns. I always release them in the hopes the population will grow and I’ll see more of them. Feral releases them too.
We catch brook and brown trout on the same lures: minnow baits and spinners. If we were to concentrate on catching more brook trout, small spinners with wide blades would be the way to go. Blue Fox lures in gold or silver. Wider blade means more “hang time.” In effect, the trout have more time to see and catch the lures.
Mike and Denny, two trout camp regulars, often fish the Black River in the fall for brook trout. The Black angles through the Pigeon River State Game Area up near Vanderbilt. I fished it once with Mike and the stream was overgrown with a canopy of saplings and brush. It helped to be an expert at underhand flip casting because there is no way to overhand cast a lure into the trout cover. I am sure there are open stretches without so much canopy so that is a good excuse to do some exploring.
I am trying to place exactly where the above photo was taken and have concluded it is on the Pine River in Lake County. The Pine may be one of the best naturally reproducing streams in Michigan. It’s landlocked with a dam so it doesn’t get salmon or steelhead runs and that may be the clue to it’s health. We catch browns, brooks, and rainbows out of the Pine which makes it interesting. A brook trout over 14 inches is an event that deserves a cold beer back at the truck. Of course, just getting back the truck also qualifies as a beer event.