Wild Brook Trout

brook trout crop

Our magnificent wild brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis.

A USGS map showing the historic native brook trout range.

A USGS map showing the historic native brook trout range in the United States.

Female Brook Trout

Female Brook Trout

Male Brook Trout

Male Brook Trout


A more photographic image of the male brook trout.

Photograph showing how well they are camouflaged when in the streams. By Daniel Mayer (Mav) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photograph showing how well they blend into the stream bottom. By Daniel Mayer (Mav) (Own work) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ARocky_Mountain_National_Park_in_September_2011_-_Sprague_Lake_-_Brook_Trout.JPG [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Brook trout are the only native stream dwelling trout species in New Hampshire, having a historic range that extended from Georgia to eastern Canada. It is believed that wild brook trout were once present throughout all watersheds in New Hampshire. Increased stream temperatures, changes to water chemistry, habitat fragmentation, predation and competition, loss of spawning locations, and loss of stream habitat complexity have led to reduced and isolated populations of wild brook trout in New Hampshire and throughout the species’ native range in the eastern United States. The species is thought to be extirpated in almost half of the watersheds in their native range in the United States. In particular, historic self-sustaining, wild populations that once occupied larger river systems and lakes and ponds have been significantly reduced, accordingly NH F&G has ranked them as a Species of Special Concern.

Recognizing the reduction in the distribution of wild brook trout, the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture was established. This program under the National Fish Habitat Partnership Program consists of a public and private partnership of state fish and wildlife agencies, federal natural resource agencies, academic institutions, and local conservation organizations. The overall goal is to protect existing wild brook trout habitat, enhance and restore impacted habitat, and raise public awareness about their current status. These efforts will also benefit other native stream dwelling species, because brook trout serve as an indicator species for healthy aquatic ecosystems. Fortunately, it is believed that New Hampshire has more intact populations of brook trout when compared to the southern portions of the species’ eastern U.S. range. However, information to quantitatively describe the status of brook trout populations in southern New Hampshire is limited.



More about Wild Brook Trout & their Habitat Requirements
• NHF&G 2015 Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) Brook Trout Species Profile Page
• NHF&G 2015 WAP Appendix A:Fish Brook Trout
• Read local writer Jack Noon’s Wildlife Journal article on New Hampshire’s Native Fish
The Way of a Trout  film created in 1969 by James Wilke remains a classic today to learn about trout and their habitat needs.
• Ted Williams, who fly fished on the Contoocook in Henniker, wrote this recent article Recovery: Rehoming Brook Trout, the Dweller of Springs
• TU’s recent State of Trout report describes the threats that our trout fisheries are facing today nationally. The Northeast Region report is available here.
• Watch COLD WATERS to hear concerns of the finest fly fishermen in the world.
• TU’s 2nd Edition of My Healthy Stream – A Handbook for Streamside Owners is an outstanding resource for municipalities, residents, landowners and volunteers seeking to learn how to best steward over our watersheds and brook trout streams. Be sure to checkout the helpful companion PowerPoint presentation on the same web page. Basil Woods TU has hard copies of My Healthy Stream available, please contact us if you would like a copy.

NH Projects for the Preservation of Wild Brook Trout
Nash Stream, Connecticut River watershed, NH
Clark Brook, Oliverian Brook and Eastman Brook, NH
Upper Connecticut River, NH
Eastside Road Floodplain Restoration Project, White Mountain National Forest, NH