Groups work to stop brook trout from being the fish that got away

Southern Maryland Chronicle –

About 100 days a year, you will find Michael Garrigan by himself with a fly rod, sneaking along small mountain streams hoping to catch and hold, just for a few seconds, a small trout widely revered as the jewel of freshwater fish.

It’s not just the haloed dots, shadings and multi-hued colors of the wild brook trout that enthrall anglers like Garrigan, of Marietta, PA, though that would be reason enough. “They’re wild and they’re native. There’s something innately beautiful about that,” Garrigan said. “There’s a special allure finding water that has brook trout in it. It’s usually the most remote and close to wild you can be in Pennsylvania. There’s that connection to something that is of that place.”

Recognition of wild brook trout — the East Coast’s only native trout — as an important cultural, recreational and economic icon has never been stronger. Scientists and policymakers also point to the brook trout as an indicator of water quality in streams that eventually feed the Chesapeake Bay.

“Saving brook trout is saving the Bay in a big way,” said Alan Heft, a state fisheries biologist, and brook trout program manager for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

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