Practice Catch & Release
* Don’t play fish to exhaustion. To prevent a fatal lactic acid build up, bring fish in quickly and use a landing net.
* Handle fish with wet hands, grasping them across the back and head.
* Don’t remove swallowed hooks; just cut the line.
* Don’t keep the fish out of the water for more than 10-
* When placing fish back in moving water, face them upstream in their natural position.
Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)
Originally a native fish of Europe and Asia, the Brown Trout was introduced to Minnesota in the early 1900’s. The Brown Trout can be identified by its square tail, streamlined body, and blackish-
In many places throughout the Driftless Region (the area of SE Minnesota, Wisconsin and NE Iowa that the glacier’s missed, thus leaving the unique geography of the region), Brown Trout are able to reproduce naturally, while in some areas the fish must still be stocked to over-
In Minnesota, Brown Trout are found throughout the eastern and central portions of the state. The state record for Brown Trout is 16 lbs, 12 oz., caught in Lake Superior. Most Brown Trout found in our Minnesota rivers and stream are in the 9-
The Brown Trout prefers cold, well-
The life of a trout can be quite difficult. There are many predators of this fish, which makes the Brown Trout especially wary. Predators include: Other large fish such as Northern Pike, animals such as Raccoons, Minks and Otters, various birds of prey and of course…people.
Brown Trout begin to reproduce around ages 2 or 3 years, when females dig out redd’s in the gravel bottoms of the stream or river. At that point, the female lays eggs, which the male comes by to fertilize. The eggs are then covered by the female with gravel. This typically happens in the fall (October or November). The eggs then hatch in late winter (February or March).
Trout prey on many different food sources, including insects, small minnows (Sculpin’s and Muddler’s for example), frogs, crustaceans, and other small trout. While most Brown’s feed throughout the day, the biggest fish tend to feed at night, and usually feed exclusively on larger food items such as other fish.
Fly fishing is a popular way to fish for these fish, and there are entire books written on this topic alone.
The Brown Trout is one of the primary species of fish Trout Unlimited is dedicated to preserving in our coldwater fisheries.
The Brook Trout is really a member of the Char family of fish, but we like to call them Brook Trout because it sounds more, well, cozy and surreal. There are several names for the Brook Trout, including Brookie, Speckled, Coaster, and Sea Trout.
Brook Trout are native to Minnesota, which makes them one of only two native trout (along with the Lake Trout) to Minnesota. A Brook Trout is identified by its dark brown to green background, with a distinctive marbled pattern of lighter shades across the back and flank. The belly and lower fins are often red in color, with white leading edges on the lower fins.
In the Driftless Region, Brook Trout are most commonly found near the headwaters of our streams and rivers where the water is presumably colder and more oxygenated. In fact, much like the Canary in the Mines, how the Brook Trout fares is often an early indicator to the overall quality of the river itself. As water warms due to such factors as urbanization and improper storm water runoff, the Brook Trout often finds the water too warm to survive. The Minnesota record for a Brookie is 6 lbs., 5 oz., caught in the Pigeon River in Cook County.
Brook Trout are commonly found where water temperatures are between 45F and 60F degrees. On the “North Shore” of Superior, many rivers and tributaries contain dam-
When it comes to natural reproduction, the Brook Trout seek out shallow, cold, well-
Trout have many predators, including other fish, birds of prey, furry critters like the Otter and Mink, and of course… people.
Brook Trout are not particularly “picky” about what they eat. While young brook trout primarily feed on insects, larger brook trout will feed on anything from leeches, to crustaceans, to other fish, to snakes, mice and other critters.
Fly fishing is a popular way to fish for Brookies, and a great way to introduce a kid to fishing. Young Brook Trout are eager to strike at a small fly, jig or spinner.
The Brook Trout is one of the primary species of fish Trout Unlimited is dedicated to preserving in our coldwater fisheries.
The Rainbow Trout was introduced to Minnesota by way of the Western US. The river-
In the Driftless Region, ‘Bows are commonly stocked in area streams and rivers. Throughout Minnesota, Rainbow Trout are also stocked by plane in remote lakes. Because the Rainbow Trout is able to withstand slightly higher temperatures than the Brook Trout, it is able to survive in waters where the Brookie may not. The Rainbow Trout is a coldwater fish, however, and will not survive a river that peaks out at temperatures over 65F degrees for any prolonged time period. The Minnesota state record is 17 lbs, 6 oz. caught in the Knife River in Lake County.
Unlike Brook’s and Brown’s, Rainbows typically begin to spawn in early spring. The females dig a redd in the river bottom, and the eggs are fertilized by the males. The eggs remain there, until they hatch sometime in July. Most Rainbow trout need to be 1-
Rainbow Trout do not naturally reproduce in SE Minnesota. They are commonly stocked in SE Minnesota rivers when they reach 9-
Trout have many predators, including other fish (especially the Brown Trout), birds of prey, furry critters like the Otter and Mink, and of course… people.
Rainbow Trout like to feed on insects and crustaceans, though the adults typically feed on other fish.
‘Bows can put up tremendous fights, and their leaping ability is a quite the sight. When fishing for Steelhead, heavy tackle is the norm. When fishing for Rainbow Trout in rivers and streams of the Driftless Region, fly and spinning tackle suitable for other species of trout usually acceptable.
For the parent looking to introduce a kid to Rainbow Trout, there are several great places in the State of Minnesota to give a try. The small town of Lanesboro has ample opportunities to introduce a child to the ‘Bow at some of the family ponds. Another favorite pastime is to go to the fish pond at the MN State Fair, where one can see some monster fish swimming around (fishing is not allowed here, of course).