Anglers find solitude galore now on Maine brooks and small streams, and that rule proves particularly true in the next several weeks. Here’s why:

From April 1 through Aug. 15, anglers may use bait and enjoy a daily and possession limit in brooks, streams and rivers of five brook trout, a generous bag limit.

But from Aug. 16 to Sept. 30, the law stipulates that it’s artificial lures only, with a daily limit of one brook trout in flowing waters — two regs intended to protect trout before fall spawning.

Most brook anglers prefer bait, and one brookie per day offers too little meat for a real meal if an average trout measures 6 to 9 inches long.

My hard-core, brook-fishing acquaintances observe the final day with the five-fish limit as if it were the deer season ending, that big of a deal. They try to kill five brookies for that one final feed of the year from brooks.

For these anglers, killing brookies (most of them completely wild) offers a guilt-free experience in brooks that don’t run into trout ponds where still-water anglers flock. In most instances, no one fishes for “their” trout anyway, except them.

The good news about the stricter regulations strikes me as obvious, too.

In the artificial-lure, one-fish season, this Maine sport offers solitude, a huge appeal on a crowded planet.

In my vast circle of acquaintances, not many of this state’s anglers think about brook fishing for trout anyway, so the sport doesn’t attract mobs — even in early May, when action is hopping.

In short, anglers can hit brooks and small streams from now until Sept. 30 with relative certainty that they won’t see another angler or even a fresh human track or a new beer can — a taste of a bygone era.

Here’s a key allure on brooks and small streams:

As rivers and large streams warm up now, brook trout run up small, spring-fed tributaries to seek cool, spring-fed water and shade. Folks who scout can find little brooks surprisingly full of trout too large for the habitat.

In short, many trout may have grown long, fat and sassy in bigger rivers, ponds and lakes and escape to brooks to survive August heat.

That’s reason enough to fish brooks whether we can kill salmonids or not.

A stream thermometer helps anglers find honey holes. If a brook registers 68 degrees or cooler in this hot, humid month, it’s the safest of bets that it holds brook trout.

Here’s a quick anecdote about finding brook hot spots:

Many years ago on a cool August morning before the sun rose fairly up, I was working my English setter in a large alder run bisected by a tiny brook. This spring-fed rivulet ran into a warm-water stream that struck me as chub heaven, so the brook pouring into it didn’t interest me for fishing.

Beside the bank of a shallow run, though, the setter slammed into a point on a resident woodcock.

As I waded across in rubber-bottomed boots to honor the point, energetic splashes erupted around my feet, jumping me.

I thought, “Snake,” but no, it was four or five brookies in a panic.

I have fished this central-Maine brook ever since — my private water beside a state highway.

Even in brooks with marginal habitat, savvy anglers have no problem finding action, because they’ve learned the deep holes and springy spots where trout congregate in hot weather. If brooks with iffy water temperatures have brookies, you know that trout can find cool places somewhere.

For many recent years now and until 2011, Maine has experienced high water most summers.

So much rain insures brook-trout fishing in brooks shines. In the mid-1990s through 2004, we had little summer rain, and my pet brooks suffered badly.

I gave up fishing some of them, but recent rainy years have brought them back to better shape than during my youth.

This August and September should be good, but this summer’s lack of water may hurt brook fishing next year unless we get a deluge soon.

Brook anglers like me are praying for rain, and why not? Fishing small trout brooks satiates two appetites — our urge to fish and to hunt.

Make no mistake — just like hunting, this sport demands excellent stalking skills and superb observation abilities. And the prize is a native brook trout — offspring of trout that settlers fished for centuries ago and that Native Americans targeted for millennia before the pilgrims.

That’s tradition all right.

Ken Allen of Belgrade Lakes is a writer, editor and photographer. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]