Maine's Wild Brook Trout

Maine has the most extensive distribution and abundance of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) throughout their native range in the United States (Figure 1); more than 1,000 lakes and ponds (over 760,000 surface acres) contain self-sustaining brook trout populations. In addition, brook trout occur in an estimated 22,248 miles of stream habitat, the vast majority of which are wild.
Maine's wild brook trout waters are not evenly distributed throughout the state but are concentrated in the interior highlands, many of which are located in privately owned commercial forestlands (Figure 2). These areas are generally cooler with fewer competing, non-native fish species than the southern or coastal parts of the state. In addition, in these regions, habitat quality, quantity, and connectivity are higher than in any other area of the state.

Maine’s native and wild brook trout lakes and ponds represent a unique, valuable and irreplaceable ecological and angling resource. Maine has retained several hundred lakes and ponds with healthy populations of native and wild brook trout. The MDIFW recognizes the unrivaled historic and economic importance of Maine’s brook trout resource and, furthermore, focuses on the conservation and protection of this uniquely valuable resource. The primary intent for managing wild brook trout in lakes and ponds is the protection and conservation of these self-sustaining fisheries, in so far as possible, without resorting to stocking brook trout.        

Native range for brook trout
stocked brook trout waters
Figure 1. Native range of brook trout     Figure 2.  General locations of wild (green) and stocked (pink) brook trout waters  in Maine.


Please contact Dana DeGraaf, Coldwater Fisheries Biologist, if you have questions regarding brook trout biology and management.

State Heritage Fish Waters List (PDF)

Biology and Management (PDF)

Initiatives and Research (PDF)

Fishing Opportunities in Maine

Forest Management Recommendations for Brook Trout (PDF)

Proposed Plan for Managing State Heritage Fish Waters

Brook Trout Presentation to Legislature - February 11, 2014

Maine, a World Class Fishery (Video)

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