Southeastern Minnesota is home to three species of trout. Only one species, the brook trout, is native to the area. Brown trout were introduced more than a century ago and have become naturalized. Rainbow trout are stocked and rarely reproduce in southeastern streams.
Southeastern Minnesota brook trout average less than 10 inches, although brook trout up to 17 inches are occasionally caught. Because brookies can tolerate only the cleanest and clearest water, fishing for this species invariably takes anglers to the most pristine and scenic areas of the southeast.
Brown trout are the most common of all southeastern Minnesota trout. They can live in streams that are too warm for brook trout or rainbows. Brown trout of more than 10 inches are common in southeastern Minnesota. Some exceed five pounds.
Rainbow trout do not reproduce in southeastern Minnesota and populations are maintained by stocking. Most rainbow trout are stocked between 9 and 11 inches. A few fingerlings also are stocked.
Fish illustrations by Joseph R. Tomelleri.