Fall means breeding time for Canada’s brook trout. When the water temperature drops—typically below about 10°C—our brookies get busy, spawning in the shallow water near the shores of lakes and streams all over the country. (Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park has at least 230 lakes with native brook trout populations—possibly the greatest concentration in the world!)
As breeding grounds, these trout prefer sandy or gravel bottoms, clear headwater streams, and lakes with underwater springs. When a female fish finds a choice spot, she’ll build a nest or “redd” by sweeping her tail fins back and forth, creating a depression in the lake bottom. This attracts a crowd of male suitors, who compete, fighting and flashing their fins, to win the female’s attention. Once she’s chosen her partner, the pair simultaneously release their eggs and milt into the prepared nest. Mom then covers the deposits with sand or pea gravel to protect the fertilized eggs until they hatch in early spring.
Brook trout are the beauties of the freshwater sport fish world. The males especially—during spawning season, their lower flanks turn bright red.