Maine anglers and those who travel to the Pine Tree State in pursuit of trout have long been aware of the value of the brook trout fishery it provides. Not until recently, however, has the unique worth of Maine’s wild and native brook trout populations been widely exposed.
Forrest Bonney’s book, “Squaretails, Biology and Management of Maine’s Brook Trout”, comes at the heels of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, a collaborative project evaluating brook trout populations throughout their native range in the United States. Preliminary results from the Joint Venture are showing that Maine represents the last stronghold for native brook trout, containing more brookies in their historic range than any other state.
A heightened focus on brook trout in Maine sets a perfect stage for “Squaretails”, where Bonney attempts to provide a compilation of brook trout history, biology, and current status in the state from the perspective of both angler and fisheries manager. The history of fisheries management is rooted in the attempt to reverse declines in popular fisheries and maintain fishing quality over time. While most people can easily relate to this concept, further understanding of the practice of fish management is often lacking. Bonney attempts to bridge this gap in understanding between biologists and the public by describing in detail the research and data collection practices undergone in the fisheries field and why biologists do certain things.
In the book, Bonney, who was a fisheries biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for over 35 years, illustrates perhaps the best case yet for responsible stewardship of Maine’s brook trout resources. He describes the long history and current status of brook trout fishing in Maine, including historical accounts of trophy squaretails caught in the state, and changes in the fishery over time resulting from the decline of brook trout populations in many waters.
Forrest Bonney not only thoroughly describes the biology of brook trout in “Squaretails”; he also documents a fairly complete history of research and management practices that relate to brook trout in the state of Maine. He explains the current threats to brook trout populations, as well as the future research needs to allow for proper stewardship of this valuable resource well into the future. Mark McCollough provides captivating cover art and other illustrations, and Ethan Nadeau and others provide excellent photography and illustrations, adding a valuable artistic element to the book.
“Squaretails” is the most complete resource on Maine brook trout currently available and is a must read for Maine anglers and brook trout enthusiasts everywhere. This book, as well as a more technical version of the same content are published by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.