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It is native to northeastern North America, primarily from the Great Lakes north to the Hudson Bay and east to the Atlantic and Arctic coasts. It occurs in the Appalachians shoutheast of the Great Lakes to the northeastern corner of Georgia. It inhabits clear cold mountain streams and lakes, preferring water temperatures of 57-61degrees F. It has been introduced into areas of high elevation throughout most of North America. It has also been introduced to other continents, notably South America and Europe. It is one of the most popular game fishes in northeastern North America, actively sought by both fly fishing and spinning enthusiasts. It is protected in some areas from commercial sale because of its status as a game fish.

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