Our video post yesterday on an upcoming brook trout film got a lot of traction—it’s clear that I’m not the only guy out there who loves brookies, even if catching them here in the West means I’m catching a non-native fish that’s likely contributed to the decline of native cutthroat trout.
Let’s be completely clear on something: We’ll never get rid of brook trout in the West. They’ve simply become too prominent and they’re present in literally thousands of watersheds. Where it’s appropriate, we should zap some of the non-native fish populations and try our best to reintroduce native cutthroat trout to their home waters. Just as, in the East, removing rainbows and brown trout from appropriate watersheds makes sense in order to bring brookies back to the waters where they’re native.
But, brookies do add to the angling menu, as the video above from Derek DeYoung demonstrates from Montana. While they don’t often get very big (the fish Derek is featuring in this short film are true western brook trout trophies), they do provide great sport, excellent eating and a quality introduction to fly fishing for new anglers. I almost never frown on brook trout here in the West, but I understand the impact they’ve had on the natural order of things. That’s why I’m not shy about keeping a few brookies for the frying pan, or for the smoker.
And, as I’ve said before, there might not be a prettier fish for fly rodders in America. Get out there and catch some.
— Chris Hunt