Brook Trout and Brown Trout inhabit our local trout streams. Brook Trout (speckled trout or brookies) are a native species, and Brown Trout are introduced from Europe. Both species provide great angling experiences and once you have caught a few, they can be easy to tell apart. First, Brook Trout are usually green or greenish brown on top with light spots, and Brown Trout are brown on top with dark spots. Next, Brook Trout have white edging on their lower fins, and Brown Trout usually orange on their small fin on the back.
Brook Trout and Brown Trout have similar habitat requirements. Both require year-round access to cool, clear, clean water, and are often found in riffles and pools with cover that provides a break from the current, and protection from predators. Better trout streams are cool with temperatures below 21°C on the hottest days of the summer. Brook Trout are more often found in the upper portions of streams due to their special requirements of springs for spawning. Brown Trout may be found farther downstream due to their tolerance of slightly higher water temperatures. Both species require clean, well-oxygenated gravel to spawn on in the fall. Baxter, Squirrel and Cavan Creeks are good examples of cold, clear trout streams in our area.
Trout Unlimited Millbrook is currently collecting temperature and trout habitat data in Baxter and Squirrel Creek to better understand habitat shortcomings for Brook Trout and Brown Trout. In 2019, we collected temperature data. In 2020, we plan to spend more time in the creek, mapping habitat, and studying the fish populations. If you are interested in better understanding the conditions on your property or joining our TU chapter, please reach out to email@example.com.
As a landowner, you can help keep our local streams cool and clear by protecting the stream and the springs that feed into the stream. Maintaining or planting a buffer strip of trees or long grass between the edge of your property and the stream can help limit sediment runoff into the stream, keep stream temperatures cool by providing shade, and provide cover and a food source for the fish. Both the provincial and federal governments provide funding and resources to landowners who are interested in planting trees on their property. The Highway of Heroes Green Monument Program (https://www.forestsontario.ca/blog/2020/01/20/highway-of-heroes-green-monument-to-expand/) and the 50 Million Trees Program (https://www.forestsontario.ca/planting/programs/50-million-tree-program/) are great examples. Otonabee Conservation also offers landowners the opportunity to purchase over 40 native species of tree and shrub seedlings through their seedling program. Applications are due March 15, 2020 (https://www.otonabeeconservation.com/programs/tree-planting/). They can also offer support with planting.
If you are planning to hook a trout this spring, be sure to check the OMNR fishing regulations (available online). Fishing regulations outline what time of year you can fish, and how many of each species you can keep. Millbrook is in Fisheries Management Zone 17.
See you on the stream!
By Trout Unlimited Millbrook