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How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2010/12/19 22:59
From Bozeman, MT
Posts: 29
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I've become hooked on catching big fish and thought I would throw out a few strategies that have been succesful for me over the years. I'll never forget the big 23" brown I hooked 3 times before landing (over the course of 2 weeks) on Spring Creek during the Sulphur hatch while attending PSU. Since then I've travelled to New Zealand and Russia and currently live in Montana where I can think of nothing more entertaining than "trying to catch the big one". This gets me into trouble sometimes...like getting skunked when all of your friends are hooking up on dries while you are hucking big streamers....but every now and then it pays off big!

Here are my top five tips...curious to see if anyone can add some more:

1) Fish a lot
Hey, even a blind horse finds water sometimes. The more time you spend on the water the better the chances that you will stumble into the trout of a lifetime.

2) Fish in places that huge trout are common.
This is probably the best tip of all. Do whatever you can to fish rivers that commonly produce massive trout. I have only caught two trout in the 10lb range: a 28” rainbow in Kamchatka and a 28” brown in New Zealand. In places like New Zealand, a few Alaskan rivers, Kamchatka, and Tierra del Fuego trophy trout in this league are regularly caught. In the lower 48 fish of this size aren’t as common but can be found. In the West I would rate Montana and Idaho at the top of the list and Pennsylvania in the East. Some tail waters in Arkansas, Wyoming and Colorado also produce monsters just below large dams.

3) Fish big junk!
With the exception of some huge tail water trout that gorge on freshwater shrimp being out of a dam, most big fish eat big meals. If you spend every day on the water casting tiny dry flies you might have a lot of action but your chances of hooking a trout of a lifetime are slim to none. Monster trout eat sculpins, crayfish, big stoneflies and other trout. I fish a lot of really big streamers that I custom tie. Casting these 10” tandem hooked bunny fur contraptions will scar away most small dogs and make your arm fall off at the end of the day, but throw them often enough good things will happen! A more reasonable option is to dead drift one meaty fly like a zonker trailed by a smaller bead head nymph under a strike indicator. This keeps you in the game for big trout but also increases the odds of not going home skunked.

4) Fish when it rains
Big trout, especially large browns, prefer to eat under low light conditions. Since they are often eating large meals they often go long periods of time without feeding while they digest their last unwilling victim. Fishing at the crack of dawn or at dusk is a good bet. Cloud cover and especially a good rain will often trigger intense feeding in the middle of the day by big trout. When the skies turn dark I always grab for my streamer rod and swing for the fences.

5) Fish in the dark
This isn’t as popular here in Montana as it is in some places, but it can pay off. In my opinion night fishing most effective on rivers that get too warm during the day. Sometimes the best water temperature window occurs in the middle of the night and this is when large predatory browns do their feeding. I don’t do much of this anymore...the thought of waking up to three kids between the ages under the age of five after 2 hours sleep is enough to scare me straight. When I was in college in Pennsylvania this was a fun option on some of the limestone streams in the center of the state. The key to night fishing is to pick out 2 or 3 big runs that hold large trout and work them methodically with large bulky streamers that push a lot of water.

Attach file:



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Posted on: 2010/12/30 23:22
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Brian McGeehan
Former PA fishing junky
Penn State Grad
www.montanaangler.com


Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2010/6/26 11:19
From Along the Lehigh Above the Gap
Posts: 7117
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As a newbie, I would like to thank you for the tips! I am also pretty jealous. lol

Posted on: 2010/12/30 23:40
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"Four of us wolves, running around the desert together, in Las Vegas, looking for strippers and cocaine. So tonight, I make a toast!"

http://bugflingerandfeatherlasher.blogspot.com/



Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
From SEPA
Posts: 11345
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Man, that's alot of work.

How about "fish, and if it happens, well, that's pretty cool, too."

Posted on: 2010/12/30 23:48
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April 8, 2007 - December 4, 2011.
And why not?


Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2009/4/1 21:52
From Johnstown, PA
Posts: 4469
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Hey now..........spoken like a man of my mind.

Posted on: 2010/12/31 7:30


Re: How to catch monster trout

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Did all that for 30 years
could not agree more.

Posted on: 2010/12/31 7:43
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Obstrification> The fine art of confusing liberals.


Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2007/7/2 19:40
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The key to night fishing is to pick out 2 or 3 big runs that hold large trout and work them methodically with large bulky streamers that push a lot of water.-great advice-
i mentioned on here before trout will have feeding periods at night where the river suddenly turns on and it's "yeah baby" and then get switched off.
so like the man said keep working the places you know will hold big ones .Usually it happens when they move up from the deeper holding water.
.I have found the same is true river fishing for reds day or night-learn the ambush points and have confidence if there is a feed,thats where it will be-on big rivers like the Missouri or the Halifax there will be a lot of dink water and few "hot spots".Learn them.lol

Posted on: 2010/12/31 7:50
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Obstrification> The fine art of confusing liberals.


Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2009/4/1 21:52
From Johnstown, PA
Posts: 4469
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Do you ever fly fish for reds or is it all spin and bait cast? Don't get me wrong i'm not anti anything when it comes to fishin what ever floats your boat.

Posted on: 2010/12/31 10:39


Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2007/7/2 19:40
Posts: 15146
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Kayak its easier to spin fish-
Just saying[no further on a fly forum-lol]

Posted on: 2010/12/31 10:48
_________________
Obstrification> The fine art of confusing liberals.


Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2009/4/1 21:52
From Johnstown, PA
Posts: 4469
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Well.........i guess it's time to come out of the closet...........i've been known to fish with worms..........there i said it and it feels GOOOOOOD. i really don't think anyone on here is that elitist an if they are i feel sorry for them. The VERY BEST way to teach a kid how to handle a fly rod , catch fish and not get bored and spark that interest we ALL talk about is to go out on a trout stream with a can of worms and be prepared to be the baiter (put the worms on for em) and you keep and handle the bait , let them fish. Do that once or twice and then introduce them to doin it themselves and then go to a fly and "see how easy that is?" BINGO you got a fisher for life.

Posted on: 2011/1/1 6:25


Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
From SEPA
Posts: 11345
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I'm elitist.

Posted on: 2011/1/1 19:36
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April 8, 2007 - December 4, 2011.
And why not?


Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2010/6/26 11:19
From Along the Lehigh Above the Gap
Posts: 7117
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As am I, and I only fish for natives and wild trout.

Posted on: 2011/1/1 22:13
_________________
"Four of us wolves, running around the desert together, in Las Vegas, looking for strippers and cocaine. So tonight, I make a toast!"

http://bugflingerandfeatherlasher.blogspot.com/



Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13453
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I find everything you say to be true, but I just don't got it in me to be a trophy hunter. Occasionally its cool for a change of pace, and if I run across a monster while "regular" fishing I will often schedule a return trip, at night or in the rain, with big junk.

I think my biggest problem is #2. I'd rather fish 20 different small streams than fish one big, good stream 20 times. Since our "big fish" is only a small percentage of our streams, I only run across them on occasion, and don't ever get to know them in the kind of detail you need to catch the big ones with any consistency.

Further, if I really want a big fish fix, I go to Erie, where the trout average 24" and 4-6 lbs, and 30+" isn't uncommon at all.

Posted on: 2011/1/2 16:54


Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2009/11/16 19:34
From Nazareth PA
Posts: 1038
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Quote:

gfen wrote:
I'm elitist.


That explains a lot!!

Posted on: 2011/1/2 17:29


Re: How to catch monster trout

Joined:
2007/7/2 19:40
Posts: 15146
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Further, if I really want a big fish fix, I go to Erie, where the trout average 24" and 4-6 lbs, and 30+" isn't uncommon at all.quote;
wouldn't that be like going to the mustang ranch looking for love or reasonable facsimile thereof?[tic]

Posted on: 2011/1/2 17:45
_________________
Obstrification> The fine art of confusing liberals.


Re: How to catch monster trout
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/9 9:29
From Monessen, PA
Posts: 22294
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I like to handicap myself when fishing for big trout, like trying to get them to take a green drake dry or a #10 Orange Stimulator.

My method for how to catch 24"+ trout on a dry:

1) first, find a 24"+ trout that is rising;
2) cast a dry fly to it.

Posted on: 2011/1/2 18:10
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Peace, Tony



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