Ontario Fish Species

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Ontario Trout Fishing

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Brook (Speckled) Trout

Salvelinus fontinalis the brook trout or the speckled trout, as it is commonly culled, is an unusually beautiful fish.

The general coloration is usually olive green. darker on the buck and lighter on the skies. The latter are usually somewhat lustrous, with numerous rounded red spots. with blue borders. The lower sides of the body are pinkish and the belly is white. Especially characteristic are the dark green vermiculations, the wavy or worm-like markings on the back, The dorsal fin is olive green in colour and bears dark wavy markings. and the lower fins are pinkish or orange in colour, each set off with a black streak and a white leading edge. The fins are so striking in appearance that the brook trout can he readily identified as it swims in the water, The tail is square or very shallow-forked.

Brook trout may vary considerably in colour, size and shape. depending on the water from which they are taken. Specimens from dark-coloured waters have a general brown tinge. instead of the bright green of the fish taken from clear, cold waters.
Brook trout are chars. members of which are characterized by a peculiar boat-shaped structure of the vomer, a bone in the roof of the mouth. This bone bears a small patch of teeth on its head or crest, while the backward extension or shaft is depressed and lucks teeth. The scales are very small and often escape notice. With a magnifying glass. it is possible to count 230 along the lateral line of the body.

Brook trout are widely distributed in Ontario and are found in many streams where suitable conditions exist, from the small brooks of the cultivated regions of southern Ontario to the larger rivers of northern Ontario. They are also found in spring-fed lakes.

An environment of permanently cold, clear, spring-fed water where there is plenty of cover, overhanging branches, logs, etc., is most favourable to brook trout. Temperature is a prime factor in determining the distribution of the species. It does
not thrive in water warmer than 68°F. In fact, 68°F. is about the upper limit of water temperature for all stages of its life history, though brook trout have been known to live in swift-running waters at 75°F.

Streams having quiet pools with intervening stretches of rapid water are most favourable. A bottom of sand and gravel, occasionally diversified by muck, marl and clay, is best. In lakes, the brook trout seeks fairly deep and cold water in the summer. A suitable supply of oxygen in their habitat is necessary. In reservoir lakes and ponds at depths where the preferred temperature is found, there is good trout fishing unless the oxygen supply is deficient.

Movements: ln spring and in early summer, they feed ravenously in the rapids of streams. In midsummer, they lie in the bottom of lakes cooled by springs, in the channels of streams or in deep pools.

They thus contrive to avoid a change of temperature with the seasons. The distinct trend of upstream movement in summer may be due to high temperature but exact evidence on this point is lacking. The brook trout will spawn wherever suitable spawning grounds exist and do not necessarily move upstream for this purpose. Brook trout which work along the shore of Lake Superior are called “coasters”.

Spawning: During the last three months of the year, brook trout build their nests on gravel bottom in springbeds and riffles of streams. If streams are not available, they will spawn on shores of lakes where there are upwelling springs and a moderately swift current


Ontario Fishing Magazine