The brook or speckled trout is New York's official State fish. A native of the State, it is the smallest, and to many people, the most attractive trout occurring in the State. It has a dark olive green background with light wavy markings on the back, and tan or red spots on the sides. Its lower fins are striking, with bright white edging separated from the mostly red fin by a black line.
Once widespread throughout the state, brook trout were found in remote wilderness settings in the Adirondacks, and in small streams on Long Island. Over the years, many populations have been lost due to habitat destruction and introduction of competing fish species. DEC and Cornell University scientists have identified strains of brook trout that have not been genetically altered by interbreeding with hatchery-reared fish. These rare, or heritage, strains are a priceless link to New York State's original fauna and DEC is working to preserve them.
Brook trout generally live in small- to moderate-sized streams, lakes, and ponds, wherever cool (below 72 degrees Fahrenheit), clean water is available. They are relatively short lived, seldom living longer than five years. Although some brook trout can weigh more than eight pounds, fish weighing more than two pounds are uncommon.
Brookies are highly popular game fish. Often associated with an Adirondack wilderness experience, anglers enjoy the pristine surroundings of brook trout water almost as much as catching these delicious fish. Speckled trout are relatively easy to catch and are frequently taken on flies, small artificial lures, and worms.
More information can be found at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.