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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Two Excellent Days

Tuesday Decision

A heavy rain fell on Monday around a stream I was planning to fish on Tuesday. I’ve had most of my best days on that stream following a rain. The problem is that stream falls extremely quickly, sometimes too quickly. As I went to bed Monday night, I hoped it wouldn’t continue to fall as quickly as it was. When I got up Tuesday morning, I saw the stream had indeed fallen lower than I would like. I noticed that another stream that was about a half hour further away was at a good level. The problem is that I had fished that stream twice this year. The first time, the fishing was mediocre and the second it was a flat bust. I left that time due to poor action due to recent angler pressure. I’ve had some excellent days on that stream in June as well, so I was wondering what to do. Go to my original choice, where it was lower than I would like, but I was pretty sure I could still get a good number of trout or take the risk and go to the other stream. The other stream is more of a boom or bust proposition, but it provides a better chance at big trout. In situations like that, I admit I often go with the safer choice, but I decided to go for the brass ring.


I had almost arrived at the stream when I saw a fawn get hit by the car in front of me. It got up and scrambled off the road, but I could tell it wasn’t going to make it. I hate to see that, but it’s inevitable with all the fawns around right now.


I pulled into the parking lot and saw the first critical factor for me having a good day; there were no other cars. I organized my gear and hit the stream. The last time I fished that stream I only caught three trout before leaving. This time, I had three trout in just under ½ hour. I landed eight in the first hour, all wild browns on spinners, which the largest being a nice 13 incher.


The next hour also yielded eight trout with the largest being 12 inches. I saw a doe along the stream but couldn’t get my camera out in time to take a picture. In hour number three, I tallied 12 trout, ranging from 5 ½ to 11 inches. I lost 3 trout as well. I had hoped to encounter a big trout at a spot where I’d caught them in the past, but none materialized.

I was surprised how consistent the fishing was. I was catching trout at a decent pace, but it wasn’t particularly fast. I picked up four browns from 9 to 10 ½ inches in the first 20 minutes of the next hour. I came to a spot where I almost always catch at least one trout. It’s a nice pool that is difficult to fish because it empties into a spot that’s too deep to wade and it’s extremely difficult to wade the tail of the pool. I made several casts and got no response, not even a follow. I figured a big trout had taken up residence so I decided to try a plug for the first time that day. I tied on a Lucky Craft, which have great action, but can be a boom or bust lure. I hoped the irregular action would ring the dinner bell. I knew it was a long shot. I rarely catch trout on a plug after trying a spinner in the same section first, particularly on a small stream. On the first cast, the plug stopped and I set the hook. I felt the weight of a heavy fish and now faced the difficult proposition of landing it. I couldn’t wade into the tail of the pool without slipping and falling. I steered the brute into the pool below and then maneuvered her to the shallow water. A little over a minutes later, I measured an 18-inch beauty and released her.


18 inch brown 6-20-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr

I landed seven more trout that hour. I had reached the end of the popular hiking trail. Up to that point, I often encounter people walking and many have dogs, which can put a pall on the fishing if the dogs get in the creek. Above the end of the trail, the fishing often improves, as many anglers don’t go any further. I caught 9 trout before I stopped to eat my lunch. When I resumed, I closed out the hour with 3 more trout.


The fishing picked up the next hour as I added 17 trout to my tally and missed a bunch of others. The biggest trout was only 11 inches. By that time, I was confident that the excellent fishing would continue but I started to have trouble. I began missing strikes and losing trout frequently. At one point, I had six trout in a row hit, jump, and throw the spinner in the air. I almost fell several times and stuck my finger with my spinner. I caught 13 trout in the next two hours, but lost a lot more. I reached a spot where I had a big trout follow on my first trip there this year. I cast to the same spot and again a big trout came in hot pursuit on my spinner. He ran out of room and bolted. I figured he had seen me but decided to see if I could replicate my earlier success with the Lucky Craft plug. Unfortunately, the big trout wasn’t interested, but I did hook and land a nice 12 ¾ inch brown at the head of the pool. A fawn bolted from its hiding place among the abundant ferns along the stream as I approached.


Upstream from that pool is a large deep pool that has a rope swing for swimmers. Luckily no one was swimming there. I’m sure there was during the hot weather last week. I’ve caught big trout there in the past as well, but only caught two small trout this time. I caught six more trout before I reached the state forest boundary. I only had a short distance to fish before I reached posted water. Sometimes the fishing in that short stretch is good, even though much of it is shallow. I had more trout clear the water and shake free of my spinner, but I caught 11 more trout ranging from 4 to 12 ½ inches to finish the day with 101. All were wild browns. I felt like I could have (and should have) caught a lot more. I missed a lot of strikes and had at least 20 trout clear the water and throw the lure. I’m not sure I can really do much about that though. I’m not complaining at all. I caught a ton of trout, caught a big trout and saw another one. I felt particularly good about deciding against the safe choice. I saw another doe as I headed toward home.

Nice spot 6-20-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr

Freestoner2 6-20-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr

Nice spot 6-20-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr

Freestoner 3 6-20-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr

Big Trout Thursday

I only had one more day to fish for the next month or so and I decided to go to one of my favorite large limestoners, even though the water was high. I normally fish it with a friend to avoid the extremely long walk out.


I arrived at the parking lot and put my waders on and organized my gear. Because of the height of the stream, I again chose to use my 7’ ML action rod, just as I had this past Sunday. The longer rod helps with fighting big trout in heavy current. As I was getting ready to walk to the stream, two other fishermen arrived.


Wading in below a bridge, I seriously questioned my stream choice. The water was cloudy and flowing really fast. I had made a few casts when I noticed that the two anglers I had seen in the parking lot had waded in about 30-40 feet ahead of me. It never ceases to amaze me that with a whole stream open that people cut directly in front. I wonder if it’s intentional, or they just don’t know any better. At any rate, I waded out, climbed the bank, and walked upstream and got back in well upstream. Unfortunately, when going through some heavy brush, I lost my fit over sunglasses, so I had to do without them the rest of the day.


My first trout of the day was a nice 14 ¾ inch wild brown, which hit my copper bladed spinner. On the very next cast, a 12 ¼ inch wild brown followed suit. I caught four more wild browns in the remainder of the hour, highlighted by another 14-inch brown. I find it interesting how much trout can vary in appearance within the same stream. This particular trout had no red spots.

14 inch Brown 6-22-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr

Large Limestoner 6-22-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr

Because of the high water, I fished at a slower pace than I normally do. Wading was treacherous, and the trout often don't move as far when the water is high. I caught three browns from 9 to 10 inches before a heavier trout rolled up and grabbed my spinner. I maneuvered the trout to my net and scooped him up. At 16 ¾ inches, it was my first big trout of the day.

16 3-4 inch Brown 6-22-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr


An 11 incher quickly followed, then I had two in a row hit my spinner and slip the hook. A feisty 8 incher smashed my spinner and cleared the water multiple times before I brought him in. About 10 minutes later, my spinner was intercepted by a hefty trout. My hopes were high that I had my second large trout of the day, but I could see that he was going to be just short. He turned out to be 15-inches. On the next cast, my spinner was pummeled by another nice trout. This one was 15 ¾ inches, just a hair short of hog status. The hour closed with a 12-inch brown.
As the next hour began, I cast right into the heavy flow at the head of a beautiful riffle and was rewarded with a hard strike. I set the hook and my drag screamed as the heavy fish zoomed downstream. I had no doubt that this fish qualified as a hog. The problem was bringing him in through the heavy current. After a few minutes, I netted the beautiful trout, which turned out to be a 21-inch rainbow. I set up my camera to take a self-timed shot, but for some reason, it was extremely blurry. I was worried about handling the fish too much so I let him go without taking a safety shot.


Six more trout were added to my tally in that hour, browns between 9 and 13 inches.

As I began the next hour I expected to see other fishermen ahead of me, but happily there were none. Nine trout came to hand in hour number four, highlighted by my third 15-inch brown of the day and a golden 14 incher.

The action slowed in the next hour as the full sun hit the water. I hoped that the higher flow would compensate for the sunny conditions. I caught six browns during the hour, with the largest being a 15 ¼ incher. I only caught one 13-inch brown during the next hour. I feared that the bright sunshine had put a pall on the activity.


A trout struck violently and I set the hook. The trout launched itself out of the water and the spinner flew out. I believe that trout was a hog brown. As I moved upstream, I landed a 9 ½ inch brown before I noticed four kayaks headed downstream. The kayakers all moved to the far bank to avoid paddling over where I was fishing, which I appreciated. Still, I worried that the presence of the kayaks would put the trout down. Shortly after the kayaks passed, I caught a 13 ½ inch brown. Two casts later, a heavy brown hit. I knew immediately that I had a big trout on the line. I brought him in, measured him, and snapped a quick picture. It’s a lousy picture, but it was a very nice fish. The 18 ¼ inch brown was my third big trout of the day.

18 1-4 inch Brown 6-22-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr



The hour closed with four more trout, browns ranging from 10 to 12 inches.

I reached a pool with a nice bend. As I brought my spinner through the heavy current, a heavy trout slammed the lure. It made several line-peeling runs before I netted him. The 19 ½ inch rainbow was my fourth hog of the day.

19 1-4 inch Rainbow 6-22-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr

My next five trout were all from the junior division, ranging from 7 ½ to 9 inches. A split lay ahead of me and I hoped to fish both sides. Unfortunately, I saw a fly fisherman fishing downstream through the split on the right side, so I fished the other side.


The first trout in the split was a 9-inch brown. I had two trout hit and get off before I hooked a heavy trout. I suspected that I had another rainbow on by the way it was fighting. As I brought the fish in, I saw that it was a rainbow. At first glance, I thought that I had another near hog, but was surprised as my tape showed him to be exactly 16 inches long.

16 inch Rainbow 6-22-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr


That was my fifth big trout of the day and a very special trout. I began keeping track of how many 16-inch and larger trout I caught in 2002. The trout I had just landed was my 1,000th trout of at least 16 inches. When the year began, I noticed that I was 52 trout away from hitting that milestone. I hoped to accomplish it during the year, but never figured I would reach it halfway through the year. I want to note that all my fishing is done on streams that are either open to the public or where I have permission to fish. None of my big trout were caught in pay to fish streams and none are steelhead. I have fished for steelhead but not for a long time because I can’t stand the crowds and the almost total lack of courtesy from other anglers.


I was very close to my stopping point, but landed five more trout, all browns from 7 ½ to 13 inches.


My tally for the day was 58 trout, all on spinners. I tried plugs a few times during the day and only had two strikes. 54 of the trout were wild browns and the remainder were rainbows. I had my second five hog day of the year. Five hog days are very rare. In addition, I caught four trout between 15 and 16 inches.


I made the long walk back to my car, which took 1 ½ hours. It started to rain on my walk back. Fortunately, the heavy rain held off until I had removed my waders and got in my car.

Wildflower 6-22-17 by Andy Krouse, on Flickr


Saw this wildflower on the way out and snapped a picture. I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure someone in this forum knows.
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Last edited by Trout Traveler; 07-07-2017 at 06:53 PM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 10:10 AM
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The flower is "day lily." It's sometimes called "orange day lily." Each flower blooms for just one day which is why it is called "day" lily.

I can be contacted at [email protected].
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 11:29 AM
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Congratulations on your 1,000th hog since 2002! That's quite a milestone!

During that time, how many were on spinners and how many were on plugs? How many were on purely freestone streams and how many were on limestone or limestone-influenced streams? What's the breakdown by species?

I dug back into my stats (hey, that's what I do) and found that from 2002 to the present I've caught 733 trout that were 16" long or better. All were on spinners, of course. Best year was 2005 with 101 big trout. What was your best year? I'm guessing it was also 2005 since there seemed to be so many big trout that year that I couldn't keep them off of my spinner.

I would never have gone where you went on Thursday when the water is as high as it was. Definitely chest wader water when it's up like that and I'm a hip boot guy.

The big trout will be relieved to hear that you'll be out of commission for a month or so.

Get well soon and I look forward to reading more about your big trout adventures. You're probably the best angler at fooling big trout in the state, excluding the steelhead guys which really don't count since that is a totally artificial situation (no offense intended to the steelhead anglers).
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 01:50 PM
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Nice Andy, and I would agree. I think he's the best of the best when it comes to catching fish over 16".
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 05:40 PM
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Thanks for posting TT. I always enjoy your posts.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 08:55 PM
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Way to keep plugging (pun intended) and top 100 for the day. I tried some of the minnow lures last year on a couple different bigger waters but I just didn't have enough patience to stick it out and catch fish with them. Good job!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I'll look up my stats when I get the chance.

Not surprisingly, most of my big trout are browns.

I've caught more big trout on spinners than on plugs. I used to use plugs a lot more than I do now.

Plugs definitely take some patience to use. There are more variables to using them than there are with spinners. I think color matters more with plugs than with spinners and the retrieve matters more too.
Sometimes a straight retrieve works with plugs, sometimes you have pause and jerk it sometimes. Most people I have seen using plugs for trout jerk them too much. I've seen people jerk it after every other crank of the reel. Real minnows don't act that way.

I almost always start the day using spinners and try plugs when the action is slow or I think I might catch a big trout on a plug. There are some days where I don't use them at all.

I use mostly sinking or suspending plugs. 1 1/2" is the smallest I use and the biggest is generally 3 1/2". I have some larger ones but only try them on big water.

One thing that I do that most others don't; I remove the front set of trebles from my plugs. I've noticed most strikes occur on the rear set. Removing the front set keeps the trout from being hooked in the side with other hooks. It also reduces the chance of being hooked in the fingers.


TT

Last edited by Trout Traveler; 06-28-2017 at 01:37 PM.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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I know that my best year for catching big trout was 2006. I caught 106 of them that year.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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One more note. The 1,000 big trout are PA or PA/NY boundary waters only. The big trout I've caught in my US and Canada trips are not included.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=FrankTroutAngler;2396377]Congratulations on your 1,000th hog since 2002! That's quite a milestone!

During that time, how many were on spinners and how many were on plugs? How many were on purely freestone streams and how many were on limestone or limestone-influenced streams? What's the breakdown by species?

I dug back into my stats (hey, that's what I do) and found that from 2002 to the present I've caught 733 trout that were 16" long or better. All were on spinners, of course. Best year was 2005 with 101 big trout. What was your best year? I'm guessing it was also 2005 since there seemed to be so many big trout that year that I couldn't keep them off of my spinner.
QUOTE

In the 16 1/2 years it took me to reach 1,000 trout of 16 inches or more, I've caught 35,219 trout, so 2.8% of my trout are hogs.
142 were 20 inches or longer.

Size Distribution Comparison Six Months by Andy Krouse, on Flickr

Notes:

1.) All of the golden rainbows, brooks, and tiger trout were stocked. Only one of the rainbows was wild. Most of the browns were wild while some were likely stocked as fingerlings.

2.) Highest year was 2006 with 106

3.) # of streams producing trout 16" and over since 2002: 63

4.) # of streams producing trout 20" and over since 2002: 28

5.) # of 5 (or more) hog days since 2002: 35

6.) Most big trout in one day: 10

7.) Most 20 inchers in one day: 3

Last edited by Trout Traveler; 07-07-2017 at 06:59 PM.
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