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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
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Friday to Friday Fishing

I fished four times over the course of a week, starting on Good Friday. I didn't catch a lot of trout on any of the days, but I had some enjoyable fishing.

Good Friday Crowded Fishing

I went to a very popular large limestone stream on Good Friday. I figured there would be a lot of anglers there but had no idea how many there would be. A local guide stopped to talk and ask some questions as I got ready to walk in.

Soon after starting, I hooked and landed a 12 inch wild brown trout on a spinner. The next 15 minutes produced no action, so I switched to a plug. About ten minutes after switching I felt a subtle take and set the hook. The brown shot to the surface and I knew immediately that it was a hog. After a few minutes, I took a picture, measured, and released the heavy fish.

17 inch brown trout

While I was fighting him, I heard a car door slam. After I released the trout, a fly fisherman asked me if I’d had any luck. I told him I’d just released a big brown. He started to walk in not 15 feet above me, then moved upstream another ten feet. I was not happy, but I reeled up and walked around him a good distance. I decided to cross the swollen stream and fish the other side, something I suspect not many other anglers do.

It took several minutes to wade across the heavy current. The action wasn’t nearly as good as I’d hoped, but I caught five wild browns between 10 and 14 inches as well as a surprise 8 inch brook trout.

As I moved upstream I saw a fly fisherman at the head of a large pool. I stopped to talk with him. He hadn’t caught anything yet, but I had seen his friend catch a nice brown. I asked where he intended to fish as there was a split channel upstream from him. He told me he was going to stay at the head of the pool for a while. I asked if he would mind if I walked around and fished the right channel. He told me to have at it.

I crossed the stream and walked into the right channel. I made two casts and moved up and saw two fishermen ahead of me, so I moved to the other channel. As I fished up the left branch I saw three more anglers in the right branch. Unfortunately, I wasn’t getting any action on my spinner and I saw another angler ahead of me. He asked if I’d had any luck, made a remark about the number of anglers, and then reeled up and walked upstream.

Since I wasn’t having any luck on spinners, I decided to try a plug. I tried it for about 15 minutes with no action. Just as I was about to change, I felt an aggressive strike and set the hook. The trout thrashed on the surface and I knew again that I had a big trout on the line. It took several minutes to land the brown in the heavy current, but an 18 incher soon lay in front of me.

18 inch brown

I didn’t get any further action in that channel. I moved up above the split, caught a 9 inch brown on a spinner, then had another period of inactivity. I switched back to a plug and hooked another heavy trout. I had high hopes it would be my third big trout of the day, As I brought it in, I had a feeling that it was going to be a little short of hog status. Sure enough, it measured 15 inches. Still, it was a very nice fish.

15 inch brown trout

Unfortunately, there was a fisherman in the next riffle upstream and I could see four anglers upstream of him. I knew it would be more of the same wherever I went if I stayed on that stream, so I headed up the bank and I walked back to my car, which was parked near a tiny freestone tributary,

I hadn’t fished the trib in a few years, but decided to give it a try. I switched to a shorter spinning rod and hit the stream. Unfortunately, the action was almost non-existent. I caught only two sub-legal brookies in the 1.25 hours I fished there. The stream was apparently hit very hard by last year’s drought.

I returned to my car and drove to the main limestone tributary.
The stream was high and fast and I only caught one 9-inch wild brown in the fast section. The action improved where the stream flattened out and the current slowed. I caught 12 more browns with the largest being 12 inches.

For the day, I caught 23 browns and 3 brook trout. All but three were caught on spinners. My three largest trout all hit plugs.

Miserable Monday

On Monday I decided to risk going to a mountain freestone stream that I normally wait until at least May to fish. I fished two different sections and didn’t even see a trout. I have never fished that stream without catching a trout.

I left there and drove to a scenic high gradient freestoner that I hadn’t fished in years. The action was slow. I landed 14 colorful native brookies in the 2.25 hours I fished there. The largest was 8 inches.

The rest of the day was pretty much a waste of time and gas. I fished three other streams. I left the first after only hour and the second after hour. I didn’t see a trout on the first and only one in the second. I caught only one trout in the last stream I fished, a 9 inch native brookie. He was very colorful but unfortunately slipped out of my hand before I could get a picture. I hooked four brown trout including a heavy one that I’m convinced is a hog, but every one of them got off.
The day produced a mere 15 trout, all brookies. It’s the first outing this year where I didn’t catch a brown trout. I saw three grouse and ten deer during the day. Overall, it was a very disappointing day.

Near Miss Wednesday

On Wednesday I went to a large freestoner that I didn’t fish last year due to the drought. I made the long walk in. I had a nice brown follow my spinner without hitting. I moved up through a section of fast water and then pocket water without any action, so I switched to a plug. I fished through another section without any action and was ready to switch back to spinners when I got a solid strike. I set the hook and the heavy brown shot to the surface and stripped out line. I brought him to my feet and took the picture below.

15 1/2-inch Wild Brown

After another period of inactivity, I switched to a spinner. Soon after switching, I made a cast that dropped right next to the right bank. A heavy brown rolled out and took the spinner on the drop. He shot downstream but I kept the tension on and tired him out. Trout #2 was my first hog of the day, a fat 17 incher.

A few minutes later, another heavy brown grabbed my spinner. I had high hopes that it was another hog, but at 15 inches it just missed. I didn’t know it, but the occurrence would repeat itself over the course of the day.

A short time later a nice brown followed my spinner in. The trout was running out of room so I crouched low and did a figure eight with my spinner and pulled it back upstream. The brown followed but I had to pull it back downstream. The brown then saw me and darted away. It’s a common tactic used by muskie fishermen but to my knowledge it isn’t usually employed on trout. I first used the tactic successfully in Canada on the Elk River. I was on a trip with my father and cutthroat were repeatedly following my lures to the boat without hitting, so I tried the figure eight and caught several trout. Our guide said he’d never seen it work on trout.

Two casts later a big brown smashed my spinner against the right bank. It cleared the water twice and made several line peeling runs before being subdued. At 16 inches, it was my second hog of the day.

I had caught only four trout in my first hour, but two were over 16 inches and the other two were between 15 and 16 inches. I thought I might well be in for a rare and wonderful five (or more) hog day.

Hour two started with my first small trout of the day, an 8 incher. I had about a 20-minute gap of activity before a heavy brown drilled my spinner. My third trout of the day between 15 and 16 inches measured 15 inches.

As I approached a deep pocket, I decided to see if a plug might entice hog #3. Instead, a feisty 10 incher pummeled my plug. A few minutes later, an ambitious 9 incher grabbed the same lure. The plug was a #7 Countdown Rapala, not a lure expected to catch small trout.

Since I wasn’t getting the hoped for response on plugs, I switched back to a spinner and closed the hour with browns of 15 and 12 inches.

The next hour produced only three trout; another 15 incher, a 13 incher, and 15 incher.

The action picked up a little in the next hour. Browns of 9, 14, 15 1/8, 15 , and 14 inches were added to my tally. Another heavy brown hit but slipped the hook.
The next hour was the slowest yet. I only caught two trout but both were nice. Yet another 15 inch brown and a 14 incher.

I had reached the area where I had parked my car but decided to continue fishing. I fished through the tail and middle of a deep pool without any action but at the head a nice brown thrashed my spinner. I brought him in and measured him. He was 14 inches.

A cast to the opposite bank brought a follow from a nice brown. He also followed on the second third, fourth, and fifth casts, highly unusual for a wild brown. Unfortunately, he didn’t hit on any of the retrieves. About five minutes later a brown followed my spinner in and I again employed the figure eight technique. This time the brown grabbed my spinner but shook loose shortly after I hooked him. Two casts later, a big brown smashed my spinner, leaped three feet out of the water and threw the lure in the air.

A few minutes later, another big brown barreled into my spinner and again cleared the water. This time I managed to land the heavy trout. My tape measure showed 16 inches, my third hog of the day.

Two small trout hit and got off before I landed a 9 incher and two casts later, a 10 incher. On the next cast, a fat brown intercepted my lure. I thought that it had a chance to be hog #4, but measured 15 7/8 inches. I caught a 9-inch brown on the next cast, a rare three in a row

15 7/8 inch brown

I had reached posted water so I turned around and headed for my car. I went to another section of the same stream. I hadn’t fished that stretch before. Shortly after wading in, a man and his daughter approached the stream ahead of me. I waded out, wished them luck and walked upstream a good distance.
I waded back in, but the trout weren’t cooperating. Finally, I felt a tap and set the hook. A nice brown dove for the depths, but I brought him in and measured him. Naturally, it was yet another 15 incher; 15 inches to be exact. Two more trout came to hand, browns of 13 and 13 inches before I decided I’d had enough.

For the day, I landed 31 wild browns. 28 hit spinners and 3 were caught on plugs. I caught three hogs and an amazing twelve trout between 15 and 16 inches. Four were 15 inches and one was 15 7/8. A mere 1 1/8 inches spelled the difference between a three and an eight-hog day.

Even though I had caught a lot of 15 to 16-inch trout there before, I’m still amazed at how many I landed. I was also surprised at how healthy the trout were. The flow of the stream during the worst part of the drought was barely 10 percent of yesterday’s level. I thought the trout might well be thin, but they weren’t. I also was surprised at the lack of small trout. I didn’t catch a single sub-legal brown there, which is unusual. Perhaps many of the smaller trout perished in the drought. I hope not but it’s a distinct possibility.

Despite catching what I would consider a fairly low number of trout for the amount of time I fished, I enjoyed the day. I fished beautiful water in solitude for most of the day, and had a high degree of anticipation of catching big trout.

Friday Fishing

On Tuesday on the way home I had stopped at a large limestoner but decided it was too high and didn’t fish it. Today I returned to the stream. It was still up, but was lower than when I last stopped there.

The fishing was a struggle. The trout were not responsive and I had to grind for every trout. I caught only 12 trout and 1 smallmouth bass in the four hours I fished the first stream. All the trout were wild browns. The largest was 17 inches and it hit a #9 Countdown Brown Trout Rapala. I had a second big brown on but lost it.

17 inch Wild Brown

On that stream, I catch a 15-inch trout almost every time I go there. Here is the obligatory 15 incher.

I left there and drove to a small limestone stream nearby. Initially, the fishing was slow, but it picked up. It was never fast, but I caught 17 trout (15 wild browns and 2 stocked rainbows) in the 2 hours I fished there. The trout were small; none were over 10 inches. The total for the day was 29 trout; 27 wild browns and 2 stocked rainbows. All the trout except three hit spinners, the others hit plugs.

I walked by a pasture that had some beef cattle in it and noticed that one had somehow gotten out. I hoped that it would stay off the road. I saw someone driving a golf cart a short distance away and asked if he knew the owner. He said that he did and called him right away to let him know he had a loose cow.
I saw five deer on the way home.


Last edited by Trout Traveler; 05-11-2017 at 06:24 PM. Reason: Corrections
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 07:52 AM
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Nice pics
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 10:03 AM
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I'm always amazed at how many big trout you catch as a percentage of your total trout caught. I think plugs definitely attract more big trout than spinners, just like spinners probably attract more big trout than flies. Big trout like big meals.

I would consider it only anecdotal evidence at this point, but two small streams that I've fished this year seem to have very few trout. It's still only April though, and sometimes streams that don't fish well early in the year are much better later.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 10:44 AM
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The brown 3 from the bottom has an absolute broom of a tail lol. Also, enjoyed the read as always.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys.

This year has been very good so far for me in catching trout of 15" or more. Interestingly, I've caught about the same number of trout of 16" or more as last year at this point, but there is a huge increase in the number between 15 & 16 inches.

I've caught more on plugs at this point than I did last year.

On Wednesday, I caught all but one of my 15" and over trout on spinners, and most were on a standard #2 French Blade. I caught some on some on some homemade large bladed spinners made by my father.

I think plugs do trigger more of a predatory response and the flash of spinners also can draw big trout. Anglers do catch big trout on small flies, but most of the fly anglers I've seen who catch big trout catch them on streamers and big nymphs.

I'm concerned about the low number of trout I've seen in the small freestoners. As Frank said, it often picks up as we get further into the year. Last year's drought was severe though and I'm afraid it really hurt the trout population in those streams. As we move into May and June, we should see what effect it had.

Last edited by Trout Traveler; 04-22-2017 at 04:10 PM.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 08:00 PM
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nice fish and great story
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