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Brook Trout Information

Colorado Brook Trout

Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) are a trout species found in Colorado's pristine waters. Known for their vibrant colors and their preference for cold, clear mountain streams, Brook Trout offer an exciting and rewarding fly fishing experience. Brook Trout, introduced to Colorado, pose an invasive threat. Their presence disrupts native fish populations, outcompetes them, and hybridizes with native species. Efforts are underway to manage and restore the natural balance in Colorado's aquatic ecosystems..


Brook Trout in Colorado have distinctive physical features that make them easily identifiable. They have a sleek and compact body shape with a dark green to olive-brown color on their back, featuring intricate marbled patterns in lighter shades. The sides of these trout are marked with vivid red or orange spots, and their lower fins display a white leading edge. The stomachs of these trout usually have a pale or creamy color.


Brook Trout thrive in calm, oxygen-rich waters, commonly found in high-elevation mountain streams, small rivers, and lakes across Colorado. They prefer clear waters with gravel or rocky substrates and areas with overhanging vegetation and ample cover, such as fallen logs and undercut banks. Brook Trout are highly adaptable and can survive in fast-flowing currents and calm pools.


Brook Trout are opportunistic feeders, targeting a variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects, small fish, and crustaceans. They can be effectively targeted using dry fly fishing techniques and nymphs, streamers, and attractor patterns. These trout often rise to the water's surface to feed, providing exciting angling opportunities..


In Colorado, Brook Trout typically engage in their spawning activities from autumn through early winter, spanning from September to December. Precise timing can fluctuate based on water temperature and elevation factors. It is crucial to acknowledge that the spawning season is a critical period for Brook Trout, rendering them particularly susceptible. Many anglers practice catch-and-release or refrain from fishing in their spawning areas to safeguard their populations.


Brook Trout can be targeted throughout the year in Colorado, but their behavior and feeding patterns may vary with the seasons. During spring and early summer, Brook Trout are more active and readily feed on emerging aquatic insects and terrestrials. As the water warms up in summer, they may seek more relaxed, deeper areas during the day's heat, becoming more active during early mornings and late evenings.

Fishing Tips:

To enhance your success when fly fishing for Brook Trout in Colorado, consider the following tips:

  1. Fly Selection:Brook Trout are known for their willingness to strike a well-presented fly. Use fly patterns that imitate their preferred food sources, such as terrestrial insects (grasshoppers, ants), mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies. Popular dry flies include Royal Wulff, Parachute Adams, and Elk Hair Caddis, while effective nymphs include Prince Nymph, Hare's Ear, and Copper John.
  2. Stealth and Approach:Approach the fishing area quietly and cautiously, as Brook Trout can be easily spooked in clear mountain streams. Wear neutral-colored clothing and move slowly to avoid alerting the fish to your presence. Position yourself downstream or across from your target area to present your fly naturally.
  3. Presentation:Focus on presenting your fly with accuracy and precision. Brook Trout are often found in smaller, more confined sections of streams, so accurate casting and delicate presentations are essential. Drift your fly naturally with the current and notice subtle movements or rises indicating a strike.
  1. Explore Remote Locations:Brook Trout thrive in remote and less-pressured areas. Consider venturing into less-accessible mountain streams and lakes to encounter larger, wild Brook Trout and enjoy the solitude of these pristine environments.

By understanding the distinct characteristics, habitat preferences, and feeding behavior of Brook Trout in Colorado, you can enhance your fly fishing skills and increase your chances of a successful angling experience. Enjoy the beauty of Colorado's mountain streams while pursuing these.