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Brook Trout (AKA:  brookie, squaretail trout, speckled trout or coaster trout) Salvelinus fontinalis Description:   A member of the Salmonidae or Salmon family along with Cutthroat trout, Rainbow trout, Brown trout, and of coarse the Salmon which are all found in lakes and streams in and surrounding Durango, Colorado.  This trout differs from all others in that they have wavy, pale yellowish markings called “vermiculations” on the dorsal (back) side of their bodies.  The sides of this fish have small red spots that are surrounded by light blue halos along with light yellow spots.  Their bellies will range from yellow to orange to an vibrant crimson during breeding season and the older males will often develop hooked jaws called “kype.”  The fins on the lower or belly side of the fish all have various shades of reds, yellows, and oranges with black and white edges.  The size of these fish very greatly due to surroundings, populations are often dense allowing for slow growth with an average length of 5 to 7 inches, still the world record weight for this species was 14 pounds and 8 ounces!  (Behnke, 2002) Origin & Range:   The brook trout is NOT native to Colorado, it was introduced from the Eastern states near the Great Lakes.  The brookie is native to much of eastern Canada and Northeastern US.  This resilient trout has been introduced in to several of the western states in the US. Habitat:   Brookies prefer colder waters than the brown and rainbow trout and are mostly found in the higher mountain streams around Durango such as Hermosa Creek, Junction Creek, Lightener Creek, Cascade Creek, Vallecito Creek and so on. Diet:  These fish eat insects, small fish, crustaceans and leaches. Reproduction:   Spawning occurs in the fall season around October to November.  The brook trout reaches breeding at at 2 years of age and generally spawn is stream, but can adapt to spawning in lake bottoms is necessary.  General Information:   When it comes to fishing the brook trout is valued for the flavor of its meat, it is much sweater than that of its cousins making it a tasty catch.   However populations of brook trout tend to become dense resulting in high numbers of fish that do not get very big.  This trout tends to be more of an invasive species.  They prefer colder water than rainbows or browns but at the same time they are capable of surviving in warmer temperatures.  The introduction of brook trout has helped contribute to the extinction of other Arctic grayling from the lower part of Michigan, when introduced. References Behnke, R. J. (2002). Trout and salmon of North America. New York, NY: The Free Press.