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Discussion Starter #1
First off - great pics you guys post Keep them coming. One can tell how much a person enjoys the great outdoors by the small details included in their photography... You guys definitely take the time to smell the roses and share the beauty & bounty of Penn's Woods with the rest of us. - although I don't know where you find the time - with all those fish you are catching..


With that said.


I have a couple questions for the guys that report high numbers of catches on the small streams. (i.e. Frank Trout2003, others)

If/when you fish a larger stream, or a river - say the size of the Lehigh River or Schuylkill for example - what type of results do you normally experience?

Are they the same - on average?

If not,
What factors of a larger water body - (besides more water) in your opinion - makes your results there differ from the small native brookie streams?
 

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Glad to hear you enjoy my photo essays. Thanks.

I've never fished the Lehigh or Schuykill rivers so I don't know their width. I'd be glad to answer your question but only if the larger streams that I fish fit your definition of a larger water body. How wide does a creek have to be to be relevant here?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
How About for this thread

min 50 feet,
max 50 yards.

*****
for ex - Lehigh - my home waters are actually two rivers in one. A small heavily wooded stream less than 10 feet wide - at its origins above Francs Walter Res, and its tailwater section which eventually turns into big water at its mouth in Easton where it dumps into the Delaware River.

There are variations of width, gradient, and bottom structure its whole length.
 

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I spinner fish the Lehigh several times a year in the area below the dam and yes my numbers drop dramatically. I say that with a big ole * though. The first thing that effects #s there is the fact that there aren't a ton of trout in it. It's not class A wild trout (it may be Class C/D at best) plus adult stocked trout. The second is that it's not longer stocked with fingerlings which added to a catch total. The third is that it is a Top 3 most rugged wading experience in the state. #3 probably effects things the most though as there are trout there for sure. Issue is that every step has to be so meticulously calculated that it's impossible to move at a pace required to catch a lot of trout. It drives me crazy. Due to this a normal hour of fishing for me there is probably 8 trout/hour which is well below my average. If there was a way to pick up the pace though I'm fairly confident I could at least begin to approach my average. That is a RIVER. There are few to no other comparisons to it in PA. Not even the Youth which has a lot more pool water in the PA stretch then the Lehigh does from the Dam to Jim Thorpe. Yough is tougher wading though. If I could hover over the water.....that would be money!

The Sch River I don't have much to say about since I dont fish it much. Never did well. That said it is MUCH smaller then the Lehigh and even though it's a 'river' by name, I would call it more of a large 'Stream' by nature. If there were a lot of trout there it would probably fish just like any other large stream.

In general, aside from the Lehigh, all of the large 50+ feet stream I fish are all capable of 100+ trout days or else I dont really have them on my personal list. They are few and far between though when it comes to large high quality trout water.

Frank deals with some excellent classic large water so he'll have a different response I'm sure.
 

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I fish a river a few times a year that runs around 4000-6000CFS so its a pretty big river. It averages 100-150yards wide. In the last 9 trips that averaged 4 hours each, I have averaged 42 trout. MY best day on this river was 133 trout. My worst day was 5 trout. This is much lower than small stream wild trout fishing. Mind you, I can only fish a small part of the river because wading is not an option here, nor is crossing and fishing the other side. Most of the river is inaccessible to me, thus most of the fish are inaccessible to me. Many areas I fish are 10ft or deeper with swift current so I make very heavy spinners to get down to the fish.
 

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One thing that I will add to my thoughts and most will probably concur, it's that it takes a certain amount of practice and knack to understand how to read a large body of water versus a small stream. a large river has a lot of other variables involved that aren't in play in a small stream so when a spinner guy goes to a big river for the first time it can be quite overwhelming. A big river almost has to be dissected into bits and pieces As you move forward. It's a bit of a different approach than normal.
 

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I've been thinking about how to answer this question and haven't come up with a really good answer because I've come to realize that the question is very broad and my answer varies with each of the three large streams that I fish each year that average about 80 feet in width.

On all three of them I usually will catch 100 or more trout as long as I have the place to myself. That's the key and I can't say it happens all that often anymore. If other people disturb the trout I will leave and go to another section of the same stream or else leave altogether. As we spinner fishermen know, fishing over disturbed trout almost alwasy results in few trout caught. We're not fishing bait or fake-bait (flies) which can draw fish out to feed. The key is to avoid people and that can't be done as easily as on a small mountain stream.

On a trout per hour basis the fishing on these streams is almost always lower than those little mountain streams, but this isn't always the case. Sometimes these larger streams seem to have a trout behind every rock. And since I don't have to move much it's easy to catch a pile of trout quickly. However, I consider this to be a rare thing in recent times.

Obviously, the size of the trout on these larger streams is longer than on the little mountain streams, even if the mountain stream is full of wild browns instead of brookies. As you know, I measure each trout that I catch and record them in a tablet. I can state without reservation that the trout average about 9.5" to 10" on all three of the large streams that I fish. The time of year that I fish them can affect this average size.

There was an article in Pennsylvania Outdoor News two issues ago where the author stated that the trout average 13" on, coincidently, one of the large streams that I fish. This writer needs to measure his trout and collect a meaningful sample size. It's a good day on any of the three large streams that I fish where the trout average 10". And I firmly believe that I catch a good cross-section of the trout in the stream. It takes a lot of 13" to 14" trout to make up for the 6"ers in order to average 10".

Stream #1 has a low population of trout in most years (particularly recently) but also has few anglers and few kayakers. I sometimes fish it a time or two each spring but mostly focus on it in the autumn. The wild browns average about 10" which is very good for a Pennsylvania stream. I've had days here approaching 200 trout but in recent years I feel pretty good if I can top 100. On this stream I typically skip all of the flat pools except the tail and head of these pools.

Stream #2 is frequented by kayakers and I don't fish it very often. I get pretty burnt if I take a precious day off work and five kayaks come through at 9:30 a.m. I'm retiring soon so I may fish it more often since I won't consider my time to be as valuable. I fish this stream mostly during non-kayaking-type weather and I expect to catch, and often do catch, over 100 trout.

Stream #3 is a popular fly fishing destination where fly fishermen think nothing of stepping in the water a hundred yards in front of me, even when there probably isn't another angler within a half mile. It has few kayakers. The fly fishermen call the trout here finicky; I call them wary. If I'm the first person through it's not difficult to top 100 trout, though it may take 9 or 10 hours. I fish all of the flat pools in this stream. I commonly catch a few in the 15" to 17" range, but again, with the young-of-year trout mixed in to average 10" is about how it usually turns out.

In reality, I'd have to say that on at least half of the days I fish these big streams I catch less than 100 trout due to disturbance from other anglers and kayakers. Sometimes I get lucky and get a second stretch to myself after being crowded out by fly fishermen. But I'm often heading to option #2 up in the mountains somewhere.

One thing that small streams have are lots of little pools -- one right after the other for miles -- that are usually teeming with trout. That's why it is easy to catch a lot of little trout quickly there. Of course, accurate casting comes into play here whereas on a large stream it is not as important.

On average, with all things considered, I catch more trout on days I fish little mountain streams than I do on larger creeks. Another factor to consider is that trout in smaller streams are probably a lot less likely to see spinners than on larger water. This makes a huge difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Great read from all you gents. Very insightful thoughts.

Frank - I've gained new understanding of how you plan your tactics..and the obstacles (people disturbing water) that make you head back to the small mountain streams for solitude and high catch rates.

da Trout doods -

Class A - high #fish per mile - gotcha..

Difficult or Impossible Access - gotcha..

The Lehigh is an ankle buster of a river - especially above Jim Thorpe up to the dam... I would not dare take more than a few steps without my wading staff for fear of doing a faceplant or worse - breaking my fishing rod !!!

Surprisingly - above the dam it is a whole different ballgame - easy wading (although access to the banks) can be a challenge.

One thing is constant & certain:

I will never come close to the numbers you produce - even though I fish a couple Class A streams in my area per year.

I am accept that fact that some of us fishheads (me) are destined for the Hall of Mediocrity!!!

later
 
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