Brook trout

Inland Brook Trout

Illustration of Inland Brook Trout

Common names: speckled, brookie

This brightly colored fish is Wisconsin's only native stream trout and is closely related to the lake trout.


  • Irregular worm-like markings on back and dorsal fin
  • Reddish spots with blue halos
  • Square tail
  • Pinkish fins edged in white

Brook trout feed on larvae of stream insects that live on rocks, sticks and other bottom materials. This trout usually lies poised at the head of a pool, under logs or alders, waiting for an emerging insect or angler's bait to drift overhead. To see these fish, approach the stream carefully as "brookies" are easily spooked.

Brook trout spawn in the fall, creating their nests in gravel close to spring-fed portions of a stream.

Fishing for inland brook trout

The brook trout angler loves their sport and rates this fish a prize. Fishing is best during or after a short rain. Fly fishing is the best, but the trout will take baits of worm, minnnow, and chub tails. Most brook trout caught measure about nine inches. The flesh is usually pink and delicious tasting. Yummm...time for a Wisconsin fish fry!


Lake Michigan Brook Trout

Lake Michigan Brook Trout

Common names: Eastern brook trout, speckled strout, brookie, brook, coaster

Length: 10-20 inches

Weight: 3/4-4 pounds

Characteristics: Look for a long and narrow body, a squarish tail and worm-like markings on their back and head. They are dark green or brown on their back, lighter colored on their sides and silvery to white on their belly. They have many light spots on their sides along with red spots surrounded by bluish rings. The lower fins are red with a white leading edge followed by a black stripe.

You'll find the Great Lakes brook trout in their native waters from the east coast to Minnesota. In Wisconsin, watch for them along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Sheboygan and north.

They like water from 53-57 degrees Farenheit. Adults are preyed upon by humans, sea lamprey and their young are eaten by larger carnivorous fish and mergansers. Lake Michigan brook trout feast on insects, crayfish, leeches, and small fish. At three years old, they are mature and spawn in streams. Males turn bright colors and grow a hooked lower jaw, called a "kype." Brook trout are stocked each year to keep fish numbers healthy. When you purchase a license and a trout stamp, you are helping the brook trout stocking program.

Fishing Tips

Brook trout are caught from piers and rocky shores in spring and summer. Stream fishing along the lake is good from Sheboygan north in the spring and autumn. With the help of an adult, trolling in a boat can also get you a catch during spring and summer from Sheboygan north to Bailey's Harbor.

In winter, ice fishing in bays and especially in river mouths is popular. Also try the harbor areas of Sheboygan and Manitowoc with your favorite adult. For bait, try artificial flies, small spoons, spinners, nightcrawlers and spawn.