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