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Eastern Brook Trout: 4 Facts About Maine's State Heritage Fish

By    |   Tuesday, 29 Mar 2016 05:26 PM

New Englanders take pride in their native fish. Fishing is one way to keep traditions alive and make memories, and anglers in Maine hold a fondness the state's heritage fish, the Eastern brook trout.

Here are some things to know about the Eastern brook trout.

1. The Odds of Catching One Are in Your Favor

The state is so full of lakes, streams ponds and rivers, it's like looking at the veins in your hand. Just as your veins contain blood, those waterways are full of fish. "If you cross a small stream in Maine, there's a pretty good chance it will hold at least some brookies," according to Wild Trout Steams, an online project created by a fisherman.

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2. Maine Adopted It as Its Official Heritage Fish in 2005

The brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is so popular that several other states claim it for a state fish, including Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. In fact, 18 states claim trout of some variety as a state fish, eReferenceDesk noted. The eastern brook trout is a species in the salmon family. It averages 10 to 12 inches long and 4 to 6 pounds. It likes to live in clear, cool, well-oxygenated streams and lakes.

3. Devotees Call It an "Unspoiled Dish"

"Brookies," as eastern brook trout are affectionately called, are the food of choice for many anglers. The late Ralph "Bud" Leavitt, former sports and outdoor editor of the Bangor Daily News, put it this way: "When the creator put together the eastern brook trout, he must have been in a good and unusual mood. He created the one unspoiled dish. How does one blunt the sweet taste of trout entering a big, hot iron fry-pan? Isn't the brookie, really, the single food substance the swift-stream Isaac Walton guy dreams of, the one unspoiled dish?"

Leavitt recommended frying some bacon and putting it on the side. Then he'd coat the fish with cornmeal and fry it in the hot bacon fat. That's what he'd serve with coffee made on the campfire.

4. There's Something Special About It

"Maine's self-sustaining eastern brook trout lakes and ponds hold the nation's largest inventory of wild native salmonids living in natural stillwater environments," fisherman Bob Mallard wrote in Fly Fisherman magazine. "In a world where nonnative, stocked, hybrid, and genetically altered fish are commonplace – along with manmade or heavily manipulated tail waters, reservoirs, and spring creeks – angling for wild native fish in a wild, unaltered setting is something rare and special."

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New Englanders take pride in their native fish. Fishing is one way to keep traditions alive and make memories, and anglers in Maine hold a fondness the state's heritage fish, the Eastern brook trout.
Eastern brook trout, facts, Maine
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2016-26-29
Tuesday, 29 Mar 2016 05:26 PM
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