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brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?

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I do more brook trout than brown trout fishing, but am fishing for browns a bit more this year. In early summer brookie fishing, I often fish right through the day, even sunny days, as long as the water temps don't get too high. I wonder if browns are more sunlight-shy than brookies even when the water temps are OK (around 60 at noon)?

There are other issues, fish may be more active when there is a hatch, even if it is sunny. But do you guys think that when water temps are not really an issue, browns are more sunlight-shy than brookies? So, is it more important this time of year to fish for browns versus brookies early in the day, or on a cloudy day? thanks...

Posted on: 2010/6/4 8:48


Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?
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I've noticed the same thing. I don't think the sunlight "hurts" the brown trout's eyes, but they are definitely less active when the sun is strong. I believe I read somewhere it's a trick of where the two species evolved.

Brookies evolved in the relatively sterile brooks of North America. The greatest need for survival was getting enough to eat. So if they see something likely go by, they are less likely to let it pass.

Browns evolved in Europe with it's large rivers, chalkstreams and lakes. Browns could find plenty to eat. Its staying hidden that is important to them.

So I think on a sunny day, you are likely to catch more brooks than browns. And you are more likely to catch either species if you can cast way back under overhanging hemlock branches, nymph deep runs, or pull a bugger through a deep pool.

When trout feel safe, they will eat. Brookies are just less risk averse. Although, put a brookie into a rich limestoner and you'll be amazed at how selective he'll learn to be.

Posted on: 2010/6/4 10:40
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Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?

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"Brookies evolved in the relatively sterile brooks of North America. The greatest need for survival was getting enough to eat. So if they see something likely go by, they are less likely to let it pass.

Browns evolved in Europe with it's large rivers, chalkstreams and lakes. Browns could find plenty to eat. Its staying hidden that is important to them."

Very good point... There are browns and brookies in so many PA streams -- and sometimes both in one stream -- that I sometimes forget that the browns were introduced, in some cases from England. No wonder they feel at home in cold rain :)

Posted on: 2010/6/4 11:00


Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?

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Yes, I think browns tend to be more sunlight shy than brookies. But I'm with Padriac more here, its less about the species and more about where they are found.

Both species would rather feed at night, as well as morning/evening, if they can get away with it. It's a risk/reward thing.

In fertile waterways, they don't have to go to as much risk to get the food they need. They'll move less distance for food, they'll inspect it more closely, they'll avoid heavy sunlight.

But in infertile waterways, food is short, and they need to feed when they have the chance. They'll move farther for a fly, they'll take more aggressively, and they'll feed at midday if the opportunity arises.

In both cases, browns are a bit more light shy in the same water than brookies. But a fertile water brookie is still more light shy than an infertile water brown, the water plays a bigger role than species. I hold that even for the hardened big brown trout fishermen, at certain times of the year you would do much better by fishing some of these freestone streams during the less productive daylight hours, and reserve the bigger more fertile waters for morning and evening.

Posted on: 2010/6/4 11:09


Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?

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pcray: "browns are a bit more light shy in the same water than brookies"

Seems this way to me. On a stream with both brown and brook trout and OK PM water temps (not above low 60s), direct sun seems to move browns more than brookies out of the best feeding lies.

So, I'll consider water temps that might shut brookies down (mid 60s), and both water temps (high 60s) and sunlight that might shut browns down.... thanks

Posted on: 2010/6/5 6:57


Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?

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Alls I know is if the sun is beating down on the water at Penns chances for a skunking are about 50% for me.Click to see original Image in a new window

Posted on: 2010/6/5 15:28
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Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?

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No question in my experiences.

Posted on: 2010/6/7 9:08
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Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?
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Yes, I believe that browns tend to avoid bright light more so than brookies and rainbows. I believe the technically correct term is "photophobic." Low light conditions or at night often produce my best browns.

Posted on: 2010/6/7 19:40


Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?

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thanks. I fished a brown trout stream from 9-2 today and the fishing slowed in the afternoon sun even though the water was still below 60F. I have done a lot of brookie fishing on smaller streams, and the sun had less of an effect (unless it warmed the water up). I will try an earlier start next time I visit the browns, maybe get there at 7.

Posted on: 2010/6/7 20:15


Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?

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Quote:
Low light conditions or at night often produce my best browns.


I'm not disagreeing with you here Fishidiot, what you say is definitely true, but maybe not to the degree that some think. In some of the freestone streams, you definitely can do real well on big browns in the middle of the day. When the water is infertile, they get bolder just like the brookies do, maybe not quite to the extent of the brookies, but still more than a fertile water brown.

I don't know that it worked out that way since you ran into more stockers than I'd expected, but I was hoping the area you fished during the jam would fit this description. On some streams like that, despite being nowhere near the actual quality of, say, nearby Spring Creek, some of them significantly outfish Spring Creek (in size and numbers) during the midday hours. The smart thing may actually be to reserve the Spring Creek's of the world for morning and evening and fish those streams throughout the day. I do think a lot of people underestimate the actual fishing in a lot of streams.

We get blinded by quality. A great stream may have you fishing over hundreds of fish in a short time period, some of them big. But unless the conditions are just right, you'll only catch a few of them, and very few of the big ones. On a lesser quality stream, you may only fish over a few quality fish, and 1 or 2 big ones, but your chances of catching them are much higher, and the fishing is pretty good a much greater percentage of the time.

Posted on: 2010/6/8 11:48


Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?
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On the Delaware River, more so the mainstem (where the rainbow population is higher) I've found many times, most of the trout I catch during the day are the bows, while in the early morning and evening, the browns come out to feed. And when it turns dark the big brownies are on the prowl.

How many times have you fished a stream or River in the afternoon and swore there wasn't a stream, and sure enough, evening comes and the brownies seem to appear from nowhere. A good hatch or spinnerfall may also bring fish up during the day.

I agree with Pcray that any trout (brook, brown or bow) in an infertile stream is more likely to feed during the day since food is scarce. In a fertile stream or river, the fish (especially browns) have no reason to expose themselves and will wait to feed when the light is low.

The exception to the above is during the colder water times (late fall- winter- early spring) when the sun warms the water and temps are highest during the afternoon. The trout may be most active during the afternoon.

Posted on: 2010/6/8 12:17


Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?

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afish is 'spot on' again. One confusing thing about the D or rivers like it.... air is filled w/ caddis, water is COVERED with emerging Hendrickson, Blue Quills and Olives. Not a rise to be found during the middle of the day sometimes... even if the water is cold. 30 minutes before dark, it's pure chaos. The browns throw all caution to the wind. 20" fish slashing in 10" of water or 3' away from where you're standing. During the middle of the day you are much more likely to find bows in the fast water slashing at caddis.

If you hit a fertile stream like the Letort, Spring, Penns or D and take a BIG brown during the middle of the day, you've really done something special. Savor the moment, it doesn't happen often.

Posted on: 2010/6/18 19:20


Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?

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Quote:
One of these fish turned out to be a small wild brown trout, no larger than the size of my palm.


That just about says it all.

At that size, few trout are what we would call "selective."

Young, stupid, and hungry.


Kev

Posted on: 2010/6/21 18:26


Re: brown trout more sunlight-shy than brook trout?

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Well everyone says browns are sunlight shy, more so than other trout. But I have found brookie streams, usually ones that are not well shaded, or get a little warm where the brookies will not rise in bright daylight. In some streams they won't rise at all during sunny days. So the answer is, it depend on the stream.
As for temperatures that both species feed, I've found the breaking point to be about 60 degrees on mixed population streams. This means during the am the brookies are active until the water gets to about 60 degrees and may still feed at temperatures higher than that.
Browns will generally lay low until the water warms in the morning, meaning if the temp is below 60 they will rise when the water starts to approach that 60.
At about one or two in the afternoon both species will shut down on the brightest days of the summer, I call this the dulldrums, then they will start to comeout again when the sun leaves the water. So given this, they both are shy during the brightest days of summer when the sun is on the water, or from roughly 200 until 700 or 800.
They may both be feeding early on the hotest days at dawn where you find the sun on the water, that's why when fishing the trico hatch on limestone streams I look for sunny places at dawn for feeding trout, then as the sun rises I look for the shade. Even on freestone streams trout may be feeding at dawn.
Does that make sense?

Posted on: 2010/7/2 18:05
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It's time to stop stocking all wild trout streams no matter what Classification they are, and time to eradicate brown trout in some of our limestone streams and re-establish brookies in them.






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