So, how did you make out on our first fish and wildlife quiz?
The answer is option A, a splake.
The splake is actually a hatchery hybrid, a fish that is a combination of a male brook trout and a female lake trout.
A whopping 77 percent of you guessed the fish correctly. Meanwhile 19 percent thought it was a brook trout, and four percent guessed lake trout.
Splake and brook trout have similar colorization patterns that can make them hard to tell apart. Each features blue halos around the red dots on their skin, but splake halos are usually lighter.
The telltale distinguishing feature between splake and brookies is the tail. Brookies have a square tail, while a splake tail is slightly forked, although less so than that of a lake trout, which is deeply forked.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife manages approximately 58 waters primarily for splake. They sometimes are stocked in conjunction with hatchery brook trout to yield an occasional larger fish, but the hybrid trout are not placed in waters with significant wild brook trout fisheries.
Splake have been able to create productive fisheries in lakes and ponds where other hatchery species have not been successful. They also have been stocked to help reduce illegally introduced smelts in some waters, as smelts reduce brook trout populations.
Splake are a favorite target for ice anglers as they can be found in many locations. Using light tackle, even flies while fishing near the surface can yield good results in the spring and fall.
During the summer, the fish move to deeper water as they prefer temperatures below 60 degrees.
The state record splake was caught on Aug. 2, 2019, by Drew Leavitt of Greene. The 32 1/2-inch fish, caught at Pleasant Pond in Turner, weighed 14.7 pounds.