Brook trout are one of Maine’s signature wildlife species, along with moose, loons and lobsters. Brookies, as they are often called, are part of the interior Maine brand, and their presence is an indication of a relatively healthy environment. As noted in an earlier column, Maine is home to several unique brook trout lifeforms.

While Maine is considered the last stronghold for wild native brook trout, like other states, we have lost a lot. In fact, wild brook trout have been greatly diminished in the southern part of the state, and that line is moving farther north each year as we continue to lose populations. They are also all but gone from several major northern watersheds such as the Chesuncook and Grand Lake systems.

With fewer than 300 never-stocked brook trout lakes and ponds left in the state, down from what was over 1,000, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, along with Dud Dean Angling Society and others, went to the Maine legislature in 2005 to try to gain some much needed protections for this unique and important resource. This resulted in the ground-breaking State Heritage Fish law.

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