Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis,
In Lake Superior, the modest brook trout becomes the legendary and very large "coaster," a colorful and rare work of art that also happens to be a fish. Once considered a separate species, coasters are actually genetically indistinguishable from their stream-hugging kin. Only wanderlust and sheer bulk seem to set the coaster strain apart. Prior to 1880 there were plenty of these big beauties, but settlers and sports enthusiasts found them irresistible. The synergistic blows of fishing and 19th century logging practices reduced coasters to more of an oddity in Lake Superior than a fish of any importance. But they are still here, a century later, and management agencies are helping them rise to glory again.