Southern Appalachian Brook Trout are one of nature’s most exquisite forms of art. Their brilliant colors and intricate patterns are a miracle. In the clean, cold, crystal clear streams these fish call home they are living jewels sprinkled throughout the high mountain waters of Southern Appalachia.
They were left behind when the glaciers retreated and have been an integral part of the landscape and culture since. Native Americans and settlers alike prized the brook trout for its tasty flesh and plentiful numbers.
Much has changed over the past century however. Extensive logging decimated brook trout waters through erosion and sedimentation of habitat. Non-native trout were stocked to replace lost populations and brook trout, unable to compete, were soon driven into higher elevation streams where they remain today. These streams are particularly vulnerable to a variety of threats: acidification from fossil fuel emissions; habitat damage from land use patterns, and continued competition from non-native species.
Brook trout are considered an aquatic “canary in a coal mine” or indicator species. Their presence can indicate the overall health of our watersheds. Protecting these fish almost always brings greater health, recreational and economic benefits to entire ecosystems.
Brook Trout from Maine to Georgia. Trout Unlimited has joined the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (EBTJV). The joint venture is a historic partnership between federal and state agencies, regional and local governments, businesses, conservation organizations, academia and citizens to protect, restore and enhance aquatic habitat throughout the range of the Eastern Brook Trout.
In Georgia, contact Ralph Artigliere, at Georgia TU Back-the-Brookie Chairman.