Fish

Are you braking for Splake?

If someone lets you fish for Splake in the spring, your first answer may be “Fish for what ?!” A “Splake” is a trout hybrid between the cross of a brown trout and a lake trout. The second part of the name “-lake” makes sense, but when researching spring splake fishing, the first “sp” part appears to come from early locals who mistakenly refer to brown trout as “speckled trout”. Maybe “brake” would be a better name?

The next question then is where to go fishing in Splake in the spring. A USGS map shows it is a cold-water fish species that has been stockpiled in some of the Great Lakes, as well as some states such as Idaho, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Maine appears to have many Splake Lakes, however. According to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Maine, there are “approximately 53 bodies of water managed primarily for splake fishing.”

Why are these hybrids cultivated and stored? It is reported that spring fishing is relatively easy, making it a good fishing opportunity not only in open water but also in ice, especially in areas where other trout populations have failed. Splake have the typical “hybrid power”, which means that these fish grow faster than pure genetic strains of their parent species. In a study by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Splake also lived longer than stuffed brown trout, feeding on perch species that can compete with brown trout. As if those reasons weren’t enough, a Splake can weigh over 20 pounds as well.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a brown trout and a brown trout. So look carefully. Splake appears to have a forked tail rather than a brown trout. But have the right fishing license and catch one. You can decide that spring fishing for Splake can just be your thing.

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fishery research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and in the US state of Michigan.

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