After more than a century of piscatorial tinkering, nothing seems to be where it belongs—brookies to the west, rainbows to the east and browns all over. This happened for the best of motives: since the late 1800s, government agencies and private hatcheries have been raising fish and transporting them widely to provide food and sport for a growing nation. This long-accepted practice, thought to be modern, progressive and scientifically based, has only recently been questioned by biologists, conservation groups and game agencies concerned about the long-term health of trout populations.  More Trout


“They’re so many brook trout in the West—that’s why they’re our leading candidate to poison.”

“Look, a lot of chemophobes don’t like it, but these poisons have been declared perfectly safe by the Environmental Protection Agency. The federal courts have ruled that it’s all right to use them.”

Thus thousands of brookies have sacrificed their lives to make room for native fish in Western states. When fast-acting piscicides such as antimycin or rotenone have done their work and dissipated, natives are reintroduced to the stream.

Such poisoning and relocation programs have led, in part, to the recovery of many previously imperiled fish