Brook Trout ("Brookies" or Brook Char) - Salvelinus fontinalis

Brook Trout Photo credit: Bill Byrne, MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Habitat requirements and life history: These native fish, the only trout native to Massachusetts, live in headwater spring ponds, and clear, cool freshwater streams. Because brookies require cold water (less than 68° F) and are intolerant of thermal and chemical pollution, self-sustaining populations are largely restricted to headwater streams and a few relatively pristine rivers. Brook trout spawn upstream in the shallow headwater streams and feed primarily on aquatic insects.

Assabet tributary streams are inhabited by both wild and stocked brook trout. Wild brookies rarely reach 10 inches in length, while the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife annually stocks fish 10-12 inches long. (Sources: Massachusetts Wildlife, No. 2, 2000, Special Fishing Issue and Fishes of Wisconsin.)

Learn about OARS research on brook trout.

Total length: commonly 6-8 inches (10-12 inches possible)
Pollution tolerance (US EPA): Intolerant
Classification: Fluvial specialist

Number of fish captured during Assabet River surveys*:

Location No. of Fish 1954 No. of Fish 2001
Assabet River 72 2
Danforth Brook   2
Fort Meadow Brook 1  
Great Brook 18 6
Guggins Brook   1
Hog Brook   14
Hop Brook   7
Howard Brook 1 12
Nagog Brook 25 1
North Brook 223 92
UNT Assabet River   21
UNT to A-1   19
Total 340 177

DFW. 2001. Assabet Watershed Fish Survey. Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), Westborough, MA.

Schlotterbeck, L.C. and W.A. Tompkins. 1954. "A Fisheries Investigation of the Merrimack and Ipswich River Drainages." Bureau of Wildlife Research and Management, Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Westborough, MA.