Brook Trout Fishing: Tips and Techniques for Making a Catch


February 18, 2022


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Brook Trout Fishing

Brook trout, also known as speckled trout, is a very popular fish species among anglers in Quebec and in Ontario. Read tips from Claude Bissonnette, Hunting and Fishing Category Manager at SAIL, to refine your speckled trout fishing techniques and maximize your catches – provided you have the right gear, of course!

In this article, you will learn more about:

Fishing gearBrook trout fishing gear

What are the main fishing techniques for brook trout?

This species can be fished primarily in four ways, all of which have proven to be effective in making catches.

In both Ontario and Quebec, you can fish for speckled trout mainly in lakes, but rivers are also very good places for a successful fishing trip.


Trolling involves covering a large area of water at slow speeds by dragging your hook through the water behind the boat.

This technique is mostly practiced on lakes, where it is easier to navigate at low speed in a boat equipped with an electric motor.

Expert Claude Bissonnette recommends adjusting the speed of your boat according to the action of the spoon used to fish for brook trout and at the depth that you wish. This will allow you to make your spoon undulate in order to emit a reflection of light and vibrations that will attract the trout to your bait.

Although this technique may seem a bit passive, it is one of the most effective speckled trout fishing techniques.


The technique of fishing with a lure consists of casting your line far enough and bringing it back immediately with the reel. By making several casts and retrieves, you increase your chances of attracting the fish and getting it to strike.

This technique can be used on a lake, in an anchored, stationary boat, or on a dock. You can also wade for fish in a lake or river by standing in a body of water near a stream or a current of bubbling water.

Expert, Claude Bissonnette, advises to adjust your retrieve speed according to the type of lure used so that the spoon can emit enough vibrations.

Dead sticking

This brook trout fishing technique allows you to be more nonchalant, but requires patience. This technique is suited to beginners as well as those without a boat or who live in metropolitan areas.

This technique consists of simply casting your line and waiting for a bite.

This technique is mostly practiced in rivers. You can stay on the bank if you don’t want to enter the water or go under a bridge in the shade, where trout tend to gather.

Fly fishing

Fly fishing is an entirely different technique of fishing for brook trout that is done with different gear and lures. The goal is to use flies that mimic the insects that trout like to feed on (target flies of the same size and colour) and to observe activity on or below the water’s surface to find the best places to cast your line.

Fly fishing is best done in rivers, but it can also be very successful in lakes, where you can see speckled trout jumping. Be careful that the water is not overgrown with trees, otherwise you may get stuck. Allow your line to float along with the current.

Consider bringing a fly fishing rod in your boat if you are trolling, advises Claude. You can try to catch trout that come out of the water when there are a lot of bugs around.

What areas of water are best for brook trout fishing?

The brook trout is a carnivore, has small teeth and feeds on worms, leeches, insects, or small fish.
It seeks out areas where food is abundant and areas of cool, oxygenated water with bubbles and small eddies.

When foraging, brook trout linger in lakes near rocky points, rocky islands or large boulders, at the outlet of a lake or stream head, in the constrictions between two parts of a lake, or near beaver lodges or fallen or growing vegetation in the water.

In rivers, brook trout like to lurk behind large rocks where the current is slower, at the end of a stream where the water becomes calmer, in shaded areas under trees, etc.

At what depth should you fish for brook trout?

It varies according to the season and the water temperature.

In early spring, after the ice melts, brook trout can be found in 2 or 3 feet of water, as the lake temperature is cooler and insects begin to emerge.

During the months of May and June, brook trout move throughout the lake, at different depths, depending on the area of the lake.

However, if you are fishing in July, look for the shallower areas where the water is cooler. In the river, this is not recommended as the water is very low.

Are sonars useful for brook trout fishing?

Certainly, because sonars can determine the right depth and pinpoint where trout are feeding. Fishfinders won’t do the job for you, but they will help you target the spots where fish are biting. Trout tend to bite at the same depth.

If you are fishing from a 50-foot (15.2 meter) depth zone, there is little chance that brook trout will strike at 5 feet (1.5 meters). It is better to move to a shallower area. This species also like to swim around areas the slope changes rapidly as well as shallower areas that are rich in food.

Finally, a sonar with GPS capability is also useful for accessing detailed maps, locating, and saving key fishing areas. It’s also a great tool if you’re fishing a new lake, as you can familiarize yourself with the water’s structure and depth.

What are the best times of day to fish for brook trout?

The fishing season for brook trout (or speckled trout) generally runs from mid-April to mid-September. However, the dates differ from one area to another, so check out the provincial regulations.

Springtime is an excellent time for brook trout fishing, ideally from May 10 to June 15.
In early spring, the shallow waters warm up faster and food is more available.

Late spring and early summer is still a good time to fish because there is plenty of food and the water is still fairly cool.

As for the most favourable time of day, it is ideal to go to the water in the morning, between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., and in the late afternoon, from 4 p.m. to sunset during the aquatic insect emergence.

Brook trout are still active throughout the day, but fishing in full sun in the middle of the day is not recommended.

How do you properly reel in a trout after a bite? What should you do?

You need to adapt according to the strength of the hit or bite of the fish.

Claude Bissonnette advises turning off your motor as soon as a fish strikes.

Tighten firmly and immediately on a strong, aggressive bite. When bites are weak and irregular, it’s best to wait until you get a firmer bite before hooking, or you may lose the fish.

If you no longer feel anything, just bring your line back and cast again into the same spot.

Should I catch and release?

If you are fishing with worms and the brook trout that you caught bleeds, do not release it and count it in your quota.

If you prefer releasing your catches, use flies with crushed barbs and with artificial baits. Keep the fight short, or avoid it altogether, and leave the fish in the water when removing the hook. Do not use a landing net and do not handle the fish with your dry hands.

Expert advice

1. Select your equipment according to the body of water in which you’ll be fishing and on your preferred technique.

2. If you’ll be using the dead sticking technique, Claude recommends casting your line to a specific spot and rigging it with floats; you’ll be able to remember where the float was positioned when the fish bit in order to cast your line to the same spot.

3. It can be a good idea to fish near boat ramps, generally fruitful zones where you can find an abundance of fish.

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