My name is Cedric Keith and I reside in the north Pittsburgh area when I’m not in the forest. I grew up wandering, entrained in the pursuits of a nomadic family and took this lifestyle to a new level with a project I called the “Eastern Brook Trout Solo Adventure.” Between 2007 and 2011 I walked over four thousand miles from Georgia to the New Brunswick border looking for brook trout in the headwaters of the wildest rivers left in the east. The book produced subsequently (and recently) chronicles my carefully planned roving study of the species but, more importantly, recounts the very unplanned nature of months lived alone in the wild.
I work in property management when I do have to work and live frugally, trying to let my work for the brook trout and higher ideas remain paramount. I speak publicly at least twice a year but I expect this to escalate substantially in 2016. I look carefully at the environment around me whether in the interstices of metropolitan Pittsburgh or the stark mountaintops of New England. I try not to rush in my estimations of any of it.
ABOUT BROOK TROUT
The brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is an obligate lover of cold, clean water. My fascination with the species began long before I really knew what a “species” was, in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada as a carefree child. The species is very widely distributed across Canada, occurs in the wildest parts of the upper Midwest, occupies forested and higher elevation portions of New England and persists in a miniature form throughout the Appalachians south to Georgia. The essential habitat of this trout (or char) varies somewhat elevationally and latitudinally but is most discretely characterized by groundwater inflows, ample shade and absence of competing species.
Brook trout, like almost all other fishes, are opportunistic feeders. They need to be in order to survive in the relatively unproductive waters they often occupy. Brook trout feed on the larvae and adults of blackflies and sometimes on even smaller insects.But they also feed on smelt in the north country and almost any other small fish that will fit between their jaws. In the far north, giant brook trout are a menace to almost anything falling into the water including the seasonal lemmings.
In Pennsylvania, my home state, brook trout are making great gains and populations fluorish in places they couldn’t have half a century or a century ago. I’m convinced that the trend for Pennsylvania’s brook trout is in the right direction. But Pennsylvania remains, to a great extent, a place of put-and-take angling. State-facilitated fisheries eclipsing the natural opportunities that exist for sportsmen across the state, including for brook trout. The state could end trout stocking immediately and the brook trout would only be better for it.