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Re: 30" Browns

2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 2370
Everything below excludes the great lakes and their tribs, and speaks to wild/fingerling stocked fish only. If monsters come from a hatchery, they can exist anywhere, so it's kind of beside the point to talk about. We're looking at places that grow em.

Have to agree, the Allegheny below Kinzua would rank right up there as far as places to catch them in PA.

I catch a one or two in the 17-20 inch class every year. Such fish do exist in surprisingly small streams, and can be caught in bigger, richer streams too. The difference is that they're seemingly a true anomaly in the samll streams, i.e. there aren't many in the 15-20" range. You have the small and medium guys, and then the monster. In the larger streams, like Penns, well, you can sneak up on that number. You get tons in the 12-15" class, and a fair number in the 16-20" class too. You occasionally see one that probably pushes 21, 22, maybe 23 inches. Rare to find anything higher than that.

My largest wild trout I've brought to hand in my life was 22". It was actually in the Tully of all places. Off the mouth of Cacoosing, and yeah, it was indeed wild. I've also broken the 20" mark (wild) on Spring Creek and BFC. But I'm probably approaching double digits as far as fish in the 17-20" range from a variety of locals.

I can't say that I've ever even seen an honest 30 incher. That doesn't mean I don't think they exist. If I was searching, and I'm not, the D and the Allegheny, maybe the Lehigh, would be high on my list.

But don't overlook the borderline marginal waters. Pine, middle Clarion, etc. Such streams have plenty of food, but few trout on account of temperatures. Only the dominant fish get the cool water refuges and make it. The rest of the year they have the run of things.

SC limestoners need to be mentioned as well. They have a history of turning up beasts.

Posted on: 2013/11/4 16:28

Re: 30" Browns

2008/6/25 9:41
From Pgh
Posts: 196
Someone with some time to research could probably go through PFBC stream shockings to see how truly rare VERY large fish are in streams (not including lake run fish) limestone or not. I think 30" is pretty pretty much an urban (or rural) myth.

Posted on: 2013/11/4 16:57
"Young men drink because they don't know who they are, and old men drink because they do." -- Gina Ochsner

Re: 30" Browns

2011/5/26 10:12
From Dauphin PA
Posts: 24
Fantastic Paco. When should I mark the calendar to meet ya up there?

In you neck of the woods there have been sightings of the youghness monster. Be careful where you walk because it's a 29.99" blood thirsty brown. One more meal and he might break 30".

If I were looking to break 30", there's at least 3 streams in SCPA that hold or have the ability to produce a beast. See posts from squaretail's monster truck post or some of the giants that grrenieweenie had posted. Better chance of seeing 30" than seein a big foot....except in Lancaster.

Posted on: 2013/11/4 17:01
"Excelling at making people angry since 1967"

Re: 30" Browns

2007/6/19 21:49
From Lancaster County
Posts: 891

PatrickC wrote:
Not real.....

I kid. I simply don't understand why those that have not caught certain things are so cynical that they don't exist.

It's hard to draw concrete conclusions from anecdotal evidence, which is what all of the purported and reported catches are; they do not represent a systemic review of all large brown trout catches, so they are anecdotal at best. From the PFBC biggest fish list for the past seven years, there are two fish creeled and reported at 30.5". This does not include fish that are Catch and Release (length only) and obviously, not everyone reports their catches to the PFBC. From this thread, the OP states he has caught a 30" brown, and the 32.5" pic from Big Spring is shown as more evidence. But all of that anecdotal data really serves to support the claim that such fish really are rare; all the other posters list fish that are less than 30". I did not see anyone denying that such fish can and do exist but they are scarce; that's not a cynical statement at all - it's a realistic one. Maybe 30 inchers are immune to electroshocking or something but I never remember reading a electroshocking survey result that included a fish over 30". Fish that are long-line released always grow in size, sometime quite rapidly, over a few hours

I searched for some data about growth rates; it seems a rule of thumb is four inches for the first three years, then two inches each year thereafter. That makes a 30" fish pretty darn old, even if you add an inch to each year, for a fish that is genetically prone to growing and is living in the ideal environment. Fish that started in a hatchery might have a jump on length, as would a hatchery brood-stock escapee.

Posted on: 2013/11/4 17:02

Re: 30" Browns

2012/5/7 14:55
From Cambria County
Posts: 6
I'm not sure I would know what to do if I even hooked into a 30 inch fish. I caught a 22-23 inch wild brown in a well known, heavily pressured central PA stream two weeks ago and nearly had a heart attack over him. My legs were shaking so bad after catching a glimpse of him that I could hardly walk. I then encountered the problem of netting something so large with a regular size net. The fight lasted a solid 10 minutes after taking a couple long runs and I fell in twice chasing him up and down the pool. If I were to encounter a true 30 incher, I may just kill over right there stream side.

Posted on: 2013/11/4 18:16

Re: 30" Browns

2009/9/14 12:48
Posts: 22
Maybe 30 inchers are immune to electroshocking or something but I never remember reading a electroshocking survey result that included a fish over 30".

They miss most of the big fish in electro-shocking surveys (and they know it). Those big browns live in deep pools and they don't use the kind of juice to cover that volume of water. I think there are more 30" browns out there than people realize.

I've seen one trout in PA that was close to 30. It turned on a streamer and it was close enough that I could see it's spots. It was so deep I couldn't believe it. Not in a stream many would guess either.

The biggest wild brown I've landed is shown. This fish was taped at 25". 30" is a true monster.

Resized Image

Posted on: 2013/11/4 18:57

Re: 30" Browns

2006/9/10 16:07
From Pine Grove
Posts: 36

vcregular wrote:
Now this thread is funny. So where do these 30" fish show up on the PFBC electro-shocking surveys they do all across the state?

Besides, I'll start believing there are 30" fish, when I start to see pics of actual 25" trout. Taped.

Too funny

If I felt I had something to prove, which I don't, I'd dig up the video of me catching mine on a night crawler at 16:07, the day before labor day 2004, across from the old Pine Creek Valley Campground and holding my rod up to it while it was laying in the shallows. When I went home I stopped the video at that spot and taped the rod. I actually said on the video that I thought it was about 26-27. It was 29 1/2 from fork to nose, so probably an honest 30, but I can't say I nailed it to the tenth of an inch, so I usually just say 29 1/2. Believe what you want, but there's no reason to talk smack about someone just because they claim to have done something you never did. It tends to highlight your ignorance when you do such a thing and really is the only thing in this thread that I personally find too funny.


Posted on: 2013/11/4 19:01

Re: 30" Browns

2010/5/1 9:10
From NE OH
Posts: 75
Thank you Matt Boyer!

Posted on: 2013/11/4 19:04
"You don't need 7x. All right, you're just being stupid. That's ridiculous. You know what else...throw away the 6x, because that's garbage too." -Hank Patterson

Re: 30" Browns

2011/5/9 15:37
From Ohio
Posts: 124
They miss most of the big fish in electro-shocking surveys (and they know it). Those big browns live in deep pools and they don't use the kind of juice to cover that volume of water.

Interesting. I've always wondered about stuff like this when they electro-shock streams, especially streams with tons of cover. There's a couple streams that I fish that come to mind where the bigger browns(well, 12-20in, nothing near 30) often hide under rock ledges, undercut banks, etc. and if they shock the water the fish probably still go belly up, but go unnoticed because they're stuck under a rock.

This is probably less of a problem on slow gradient spring creeks, but in those rocky freestone streams the fish have lots of places to hide.

Posted on: 2013/11/4 19:14

Re: 30" Browns

2013/5/15 10:50
From PA
Posts: 83
Lots of great posts here. Thank you guys all for responding and for the info. Glad to see it was positive for the most part.

Many of you guys hit on a lot of the points I wanted to mention. First of all, the post about electorshocking missing a lot of the big ones is true, and that was straight from PA Fish Commish mouth. Sometimes, if they turn it up high enough to get the big fish, small fish can be killed, so they don't often do it. Watched it done twice on one of my favorite local streams.

Second, someone had said that there is many fish in the 20-25 inch range, and that is so very true on the good waters. We get quite a few of those each year, and we MEASURE those fish when they appear to be over 20, not a guesstimate. I record every one. As stated before, I am a big trout addict and devote my free time to the pursuit of them.

Now, as far as the 30's or even the 28 to 30's, they certainly exist, and in many waters, some famous some not so. But, by no means do I think there is a lot of them, which is sort of why I started the post in the first place. Thought it would be cool to hear about others experiences with these beasts.

But, they are there, and most of you are probably fishing somewhere that has one or more. Most of the major limestoners have all given up honest 30" fish.

Two things I have found to increase your odds for these bigger fish are 1.Fish NOW. Fall is when they are out of their normal summer haunts, obviously attracted to the spawn.(NOT saying catch them off redds!!!) 2.Fish streams with areas of posted water. It seems it gives fish a chance to grow up and not be taken out the minute they are nice.

For the record, I release 99.999999% of all trout I catch. But the 30 1/2" brown is on my wall, I got accurate measurement and weight.

Oh and MattBoyer, you couldn't have said it better. Congrats on your fish.

Posted on: 2013/11/4 20:10

Re: 30" Browns

2010/6/9 12:35
From down the block from the Letort.
Posts: 441
yhep, there sure are bigger fish out there than you can imagine...that 32.5"er pictured above is a BigSpring fish, word on the street is that it's a very old holdover and was caught in the lower, open water...lot of deeeeep undercuts down there. Just look at that fish, how pale it is, when do you think it last came out during the daylight hours?

Other words on the street are the salmon sized brown I spot lighted on the Letort from a bridge one night, easily bigger by a large margin than any 20"er I've ever sight fished to in 20+yrs. And if you think those little electrified sticks can reach up under all of those spring creek swamp ass undercuts as they stomp on through while doing their surveys...well, yeah, they are missing some truly rare big it should be.

Posted on: 2013/11/4 20:37

Re: 30" Browns

2013/9/6 11:40
From Westmoreland Cty
Posts: 171
At yellow breeches outfitters there's a picture if a brown in the 30" mark caught on a steelhead streamer, the guy actually released it back into big spring as well. My biggest "wild" brown was around 20" taken out of Spring Creek last year on a cress bug. Now my biggest wild rainbow is a different story out of Big Spring that was 26"

Posted on: 2013/11/4 20:46

Re: 30" Browns

2010/8/24 20:13
From Bucks County
Posts: 25
I have some suspicion that the largest trout are migratory river fish. This could explain the lack of electroshocking survey 30 inch fish. They swim out of the marginal water only certain times of the year and are rarely caught on what we think of "trout streams." I believe in 12+ inch brookies, so why not 30inch browns...

Posted on: 2013/11/4 21:16

Re: 30" Browns

2011/9/24 16:37
From Clearfield
Posts: 0
I believe in 15 inch natives and believe I saw one about a month ago so yeah I can believe in 30 inch browns. From a numbers stand point if you have 1500 fish per mile then that 0.01 percent might be that big in the right streams, especially with how many miles of streams there are in PA.

I also believe when toothy critter fisherman say it was a 30 inch brown it would be fairly accurate. To them 30 inches can be a demarcation for a good pike. Like most of us regular guys looking for 15 inch plus fish rising in Spring.

Posted on: 2013/11/4 21:36

Re: 30" Browns
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 439

tulenkot wrote:
I have some suspicion that the largest trout are migratory river fish. This could explain the lack of electroshocking survey 30 inch fish. They swim out of the marginal water only certain times of the year and are rarely caught on what we think of "trout streams."

This. ^

Many large browns are resident fish that can live in the same pool for years. Others however (perhaps many more) are out in rivers that we would associate with bass fishing for most of the year except the warmest months and even then they can find cold water refuge. Some of these bigger rivers are known for harboring wild fish over two feet long - the Clarion, Delaware, and Allegheny come to mind - but other rivers have them too. The largest brown I saw this year, a fish in the mid 20s - was while I was bass fishing.

Posted on: 2013/11/4 21:47

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