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big brown in a small freestone

Joined:
2010/7/4 19:28
From cambria county
Posts: 245
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This past sunday my brother and i planned to fish a small brookie/brown stream but managed to forget our map book and ended up fishing the wrong stream by accident. we caught some stockies along with a few natives and wild browns before deciding to head over to one of our favorite freestoners. it is a decent sized brookie/brown stream(not stocked). we have fished it many times before and have caught some nice fish out of it, but there is one big hole that we had never seen a trout in before sunday. It's about 4 feet deep, has a a huge dead tree laying overtop, lots of brush piled up in front of the tree, a run forced under the brush(basically a food funnel), and tons of additional cover. it has everything that a big brown needs to thrive. After fishing it, my brother went and stood on the log to try the upper end above the brush in front of the log, and the brown just mosied out from under all the cover into the lower part of the hole below the log. my brother looked like he just saw a ghost when he spotted it and i came over and got a really good look at an honest 20" brown(maybe bigger). i know the stream pretty well, and highly doubt it was a stockie. We have seen several wild browns in the 15-16" range in this stream, but this thing was colossal for such a small stream. I've been trying to think of the best way to get him/her, and came up with a couple options:

Wait for a good hatch of something big in spring(green of dark green drakes maybe) and try for him then, or go after a rain or at night and try a huge streamer with something like 0x tippet. either way i know he's gonna take me under the log and into the brush if i hook him, so im gonna have to really muscle him to keep that from happening.

Anybody have any other possible strategies you think could work?

Thanks, Evan

Posted on: 2013/9/24 11:56


Re: big brown in a small freestone

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2011/5/26 10:12
From Dauphin PA
Posts: 2766
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Streamer during low light periods. I don't think you'll need to go more than 3x. If you could catch it after a good rain that puts a little stain in the water, the odds just swung in your favor.

Posted on: 2013/9/24 12:06
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Re: big brown in a small freestone

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2011/5/3 12:22
From South Lebanon Township, PA
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Pretty much what Kray said. There's some guys on the board who do very well fishing for very specific big Browns in very specific locations at night. Like you, they found the fish during the day, but caught it at night.

After a good rain while the water is still off color would be a good idea too. Dark colored, large streamer. Make your first cast count...cast to the mostly likely place the big one will be. If you hook a smaller fish first, that will likely spook the big one.

I wouldn't wait for a hatch next Spring. Odds are that fish in a deep hole on a small stream (unless it's a limestoner) won't come up for a hatch...it eats much bigger meals. And secondly a 20" Brown in a small stream is an old fish...he may not be around next Spring.

Posted on: 2013/9/24 12:21


Re: big brown in a small freestone

Joined:
2012/6/5 21:59
From Banshee
Posts: 287
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Green Weenie

Posted on: 2013/9/24 12:28


Re: big brown in a small freestone

Joined:
2011/7/7 20:06
From South Central,PA
Posts: 419
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+1 Green weenie!

Why not fish IN the rain rather than after? This past weekend, Saturday evening was my only chance to fish. It happened to be a downpour at the time. I was able to get closer to a tree that is usually difficult to cast to and the fish tend to be spooky. My first cast caught me a nice wild brown about 16". I used an olive green weenie. I think that these big browns tend to be a little more careless when the rain is heavy.

Posted on: 2013/9/24 13:17


Re: big brown in a small freestone

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2010/7/4 19:28
From cambria county
Posts: 245
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thanks for the comments guys. fishing during a rain is definetly a good idea. However, fishing this hole with a nymph would be pretty tough. you can only fish the lower end really, and theres no current in the lower end. im gonna tie a couple big articulated streamers and fish em the next time conditions are good. ill run it along parallel to the log and try to get him to come out. I dont think 3x would work, honestly. this fish is gonna go straight for the cover under the log, and im gonna have to be able to keep him out of there if i manage to hook him. he's real big, probably 5 pounds conservatively. ill post a pic if i get him. probably won't be anytime in the immediate future as not much rain is in the forecast.

Posted on: 2013/9/24 13:51


Re: big brown in a small freestone

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2010/8/24 20:13
From Bucks County
Posts: 300
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Fish at night with a mousie or a large streamer.

Posted on: 2013/9/24 14:11


Re: big brown in a small freestone

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13485
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I've seen a number of these kind of fish over the years. I mean, I'll fish to them when I'm there. But I don't get all hell bent over them and make a point to specifically go after them.

But I have friends who do target these fish. Once located, you go in by night, with a flashlight. Don't even bother taking a rod the first night. As you approach, turn the light off and sneak up. Then turn on the light and look for him. Chances are, he has a feeding lie somewhere nearby where he sits at night. Tailout, extreme head. Usually shallow, moving water. Find him!

Now you know where he sits. Wait a few nights, and return again, this time with the rod. Make the first cast count. Cast beyond him and swim a streamer by him in the dark before he's aware of your presence. Use really stiff tippet. It's streamers, and nighttime, after all. like 1x. When he hits don't be afraid to muscle him to keep him out of the cover!

Posted on: 2013/9/24 14:17


Re: big brown in a small freestone

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2009/2/19 19:59
From Mont Co, Pa
Posts: 2030
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Ask salmonoid about big wild browns on smallish freestone streams. He's gotten lots of them, in fact he caught a 21"+ monster recently! I'm hoping he'll treat us to a pic of this most recent trout. I'm familure with the wild brown he caught and I believe it was around 4lbs, perhaps a bit more.

Posted on: 2013/9/24 16:36
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Re: big brown in a small freestone

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2007/6/19 21:49
From Lancaster County
Posts: 1531
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Quote:

pcray1231 wrote:
I've seen a number of these kind of fish over the years. I mean, I'll fish to them when I'm there. But I don't get all hell bent over them and make a point to specifically go after them.

But I have friends who do target these fish. Once located, you go in by night, with a flashlight. Don't even bother taking a rod the first night. As you approach, turn the light off and sneak up. Then turn on the light and look for him. Chances are, he has a feeding lie somewhere nearby where he sits at night. Tailout, extreme head. Usually shallow, moving water. Find him!

Now you know where he sits. Wait a few nights, and return again, this time with the rod. Make the first cast count. Cast beyond him and swim a streamer by him in the dark before he's aware of your presence. Use really stiff tippet. It's streamers, and nighttime, after all. like 1x. When he hits don't be afraid to muscle him to keep him out of the cover!


There's no reason to not take a rod the first night. Up until this year I might have endorsed this approach, but one night fishing escapade this year has me convinced otherwise (or at least convinced that its not a complete waste to try again after the light is shown). Fish one was caught around 10:55. Once I hook a fish at night, I usually flip the headlight on, to see what I have and to help with guiding the fish away from the in-stream obstacles, plus its a heck of a lot easier jumping down off of rocks to get streamside when a light is used Anyway, I landed the first fish and figuring I had caught my one fish of the night, I cast my light around the pool. I located two more fish - the headlamp makes their eyes glow white. One fish was at the head of the pool and he went spastic when the light went on him, darting all around. He ended up holding right out in front of me, so I quickly snapped the light off and figuring I had nothing to lose, I dropped the mouse in the water. On the third cast, I hooked him and landed him. No more than five minutes had passed between one big commotion in the stream, with a light, and the catching of the fish. And it was definitely the same fish; he had a unique shape, which I also spotted last year, and his nickname is Lion because of the way he was just sitting in his feeding lie at the head of the pool, waiting to pounce on anything that floated down through. Bottom-line - if you're going to walk in to spotlight, take the rod with you. Wait a few minutes, and then start fishing.

Unlike pcray, I am a person who will target specific fish once I find them. The particular nightfishing episode from above resulted in a third fish, although that didn't come until almost an hour and a half later than the first two.

The fish wildtrout2 refers to dogged me for two years and five separate trips, although I only fished for him once at night. I hooked him two times and lost him two times and didn't see him the third trip. I saw him the fourth trip, but didn't hook him, and finally landed him the fifth trip. And if you intend to target a specific fish, don't let too much time go by. I believe the fish was about 18" when I first saw him and over the course of a year-and-a-half, he added another three inches. I'll be super-surprised if I find him in the same spot next year. The good news is after he wrapped me around a root system and I sprang into action to net him, he kicked out ANOTHER large trout, between 16-18". His succession plan is already in place..

As far as night tactics, forget about light tippet. I used 8lb mono my last outing, and have skipped tippet altogether if I happen to have on a stout leader that I've cut back a few times (say a 3X 9' leader, after removing the bottom 2 feet from retying tippet on, you've got a nice stout leader that you can tie a fly directly onto - one less knot to fail). I've caught night fish on hoppers and mice patterns and I don't know that the fish were necessarily keyed on the patterns as they were to something that made decent movement on the surface. The hopper is actually what I caught my first night brown on and it has opened up a whole new world of fishing for me. I like mice patterns because they are food that a large brown may reasonably encounter, they can generate enough noise to attract attention, both on the cast (a water-sogged fly makes a nice THWAP! when it hits the water) and they will displace water on a retrieve. I vary the retrieve, sometimes just a twitch here and there, other times a more measured five strips, pause, five strips, pause. It's during those pauses that my imagination likes to think that there is a large brown (like Lion) that has been following the mouse, and given the pause, is now ready to pounce. Sometimes, imagination comes to life and a fish does strike at that exact moment.

Other suggestions are good too, if you don't want to fish at night. Fish in high water, although don't necessarily expect the fish to be in the same spot as you saw it - it may be in the head or tail of the pool, or along the bank. Generally, the larger fly you use, the better. Big fish will eat mites of flies, but they don't get big nibbling on tricos as the mainstay of their diet, plus if its a freestone stream, there may not be good hatches to begin with. They like meat, so articulated streamers are a good choice.

Make it a quest, learn something, and enjoy the pursuit.

Posted on: 2013/9/24 18:06


Re: big brown in a small freestone

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2007/6/20 11:26
Posts: 480
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So i guess we don't get to see the pics then Salmonoid? :)

Posted on: 2013/9/24 18:15


Re: big brown in a small freestone

Joined:
2013/5/15 10:50
From PA
Posts: 55
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This post is a great one. I am one to definitely target large trout that I have found, during other trips. It is amazing how many big trout really are out there, it seems for some reason most people don't believe it though for whatever reason.

The tips given so far all are decent, except the fact I wouldn't waste a night checking a fish without taking a rod. These fish move and you just never know when the last time you may see a particular fish.

I have also experienced some very aggressive fish as the poster above described. Fish I thought spooked came back and were caught a bit later.

These same concepts apply on the bigger waters too, generally the top end fish are just much larger. My Dad and I late evening/early night fish a popular larger stream and we have caught fish to the 10 pound mark. They are out there.

Good luck to you it sounds like your on the right track!!

Posted on: 2013/9/24 22:13


Re: big brown in a small freestone

Joined:
2006/12/29 10:00
From Harrisburg
Posts: 2013
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Quote:
So i guess we don't get to see the pics then Salmonoid?

I bet we do, just in its own thread. Sounds worthy enough.

Posted on: 2013/9/24 23:29


Re: big brown in a small freestone

Joined:
2009/6/17 21:49
From United States
Posts: 262
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If you can get stained or dirty water, that's ideal. If it's raining that breaks ups the surface allowing you to get closer while also making the fish more comfortable to feed. Don't count on that trout being there next spring. However do check on that fish again next year. Where I'm going is that fish may have moved there to spawn. That fish may have even have moved up from whatever body of water your stream runs into. Appeal to the agressive side. Streamer. Hooking that fish will be the easy part. Once hooked be prepared. Have a plan. Get right down into the stream if you have to. Push the rod tip down into the water and keep the line down when it's in the brush. Don't keep the pressure to him once he makes it in the brush. Let off a little bit. Tesion on the line will certainly snap it when he meets obstructions. Use previously mentioned technique to work it back out. Check that spot every year at this time. Once fished if you don't see a big trout before leaving poke around and see what comes out. Unless you suspect someone may be fishing behind you. Good luck and enjoy the pursuit. I've been doing it a long time and it still gets my heart pounding. Big wild browns on small streams is excactly what I was weaned on. I cut my fly fishing teeth on just such fish.

Posted on: 2013/9/24 23:56
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Re: big brown in a small freestone

Joined:
2013/5/15 10:50
From PA
Posts: 55
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Stenonema is exactly correct about fish right now. They are on the move due to the spawn. This occurs in almost all waterways, and you can bet if your stream runs into a bigger one or a lake some of the better fish(not all obviously) came from the said water.

Posted on: 2013/9/25 17:33



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