Brook Trout

There is no guarantee that brook trout will continue to thrive in Caledon, Erin and Dufferin in the years to come.

December 1, 2020 | | Notes from the Wild

Brook trout in the fall are like animated shards of sunset. They are surpassingly beautiful. And this beauty is accentuated by the beauty of their habitat. These fish swim in pure crystalline waters largely unsullied by the machinations of people.

Brook trout are sensitive creatures and apt symbols for wildness. They can only live where clean, cool, clear waters run, and because of this requirement they serve as a bellwether for the environment. When they disappear, as they have on the lower Credit River, or in Mill Creek in Orangeville, their absence sends a signal that something is amiss.

The images in this blog were taken in a cedar-embraced stream in Caledon in mid-November. I attached a small waterproof camera to the end of a long pruning pole, and then, channelling the stealth of a great blue heron, eased myself into the water. Trout are famously skittish – I was almost afraid to breathe.

I inched the pole toward the trout, eventually resting the camera on the bottom to get the pictures you see in this blog.

Brook trout spawn in the fall and during that frenzied time of producing the next generation, the colour of the males, though always splendid, fairly ignites. Most of the fish in the video are males. The smaller trout with vertical bars are juveniles.

There is no guarantee that brook trout will continue to thrive in Caledon, Erin and Dufferin in the years to come. They are gone from the compromised streams in Brampton, Mississauga and Georgetown to the south. Their world shrinks as urban growth continues its inexorable march.

It behooves us to find ways to help them persist in the Headwaters region, to ensure that the beauty of brook trout and the beauty of their haunts will be protected. The loss of these glorious fish would be to our enduring shame.

About the Author More by Don Scallen

Don Scallen enjoys sharing his love of nature through his writing and presentations. Check out his blog "Notes from the Wild".

Related Stories

Jefferson salamander eggs. Photo by Don Scallen.

Dispatches from a Vernal Pool

May 5, 2020 | Don Scallen | Notes from the Wild

Vernal pools, like coral reefs, are theatres showcasing life and death struggles between prey and predators.

CSI: Natureworld The Case of Burying Beetle Bob

Nov 2, 2018 | Don Scallen | Notes from the Wild

A CSI probe into Bob’s disappearance has revealed damning evidence linking Sam to the incident!

caddisfly case made of shells and cedar needles

Caddisflies

May 30, 2016 | Don Scallen | Notes from the Wild

French artist Hubert Duprat capitalized on this in the 1980s by supplying caddisflies with flecks of gold and tiny precious stones.

Freeliving caddisfly larva from the Credit River in Alton. Photo by Don Scallen.

Benthic Invertebrates

Jul 3, 2019 | Don Scallen | Notes from the Wild

The abundance of these aquatic larvae in our streams and rivers is a good thing.

Comments

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for this important tribute to brook trout and what they represent. The Ontario Headwaters Institute is very concerned about their future, already threatened in many areas where development advances into our headwaters, such as in the upper reaches of the Credit. Local fishers and others are working hard to reduce threats, and need more of this type of information about what is at stake.

    Andrew McCammon on Dec 5, 2020 at 8:45 am | Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment you agree that IN THE HILLS magazine has the legal right to publish, edit or delete all comments for use both online or in print. You also agree that you bear sole legal responsibility for your comments, and that you will hold IN THE HILLS harmless from the legal consequences of your comment, including libel, copyright infringement and any other legal claims. Any comments posted on this site are NOT the opinion of IN THE HILLS magazine. Personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed. Please report inappropriate comments to vjones@inthehills.ca.