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bigger brookies

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2009/7/29 10:25
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There have been a few threads about bigger freestone brookies lately. I don't really chase bigger fish, but I wonder if bigger freestone Brook Trout tend to be found on streams that have no brown trout? or maybe the streams with only brook trout are acidic and have less food, so the bigger Brook Trout tend to be found in streams where there are also brown trout?

Posted on: 2013/5/7 7:44


Re: bigger brookies

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The biggest ones I have caught were on streams with browns. A slightly larger creek with lots of brookie tribs is a formula for larger brook trout.

Posted on: 2013/5/7 7:50


Re: bigger brookies

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Agree. I've caught brookies UP TO 10" in just about every type of stream.

But the few that I've caught above the 10" mark (talking freestone only, here, and nothing "obvious" like a lake or large river where they grew up) have come from fairly similar streams.

1. Contain mostly brookies, but definitely a few browns, and are known to hold a few BIG browns.
2. Do not have ridiculously strong populations of either species. These aren't the places your catching 50+ in a day. They're the places where perhaps, you can reach the 20's on a good long day. Class C-ish.
3. Have some good, deep pools. Big brookies may or may not be located in them, but even when not, you can probably assume they have been at some point.
4. Lower gradient, for a freestone brookie stream, anyway. I think that probably goes along with being a little richer, and perhaps warmer, leading to a longer "growing season".

Posted on: 2013/5/7 8:24


Re: bigger brookies
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The variable to focus upon is fertility, hence, forage base. You need abundant food to grow a brookie. Usually such conditions are conducive to brown and/or rainbow reproduction as well. I wish total alkalinity ratings were more universal in the PFBC lists. I have found it to be a very reliable indicator of general fertility.

Posted on: 2013/5/7 8:58
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Re: bigger brookies

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Agree with the above...larger and marginally warmer and more fertile main stem stream with smaller, colder Brookie tribs is a good place to start...and yes, this usually means Browns will be present to some degree.

My big Brookies have also come from lower biomass streams. The big biomass class A Brookie freestoners tend to produce A LOT of fish that top out at 7-8"...fun fishing for sure, but not the type of place to expect to find a 10+ incher.

Posted on: 2013/5/7 9:26


Re: bigger brookies

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I think it's a general rule of thumb that in freestoners, lower biomass = bigger fish. Goes for browns too. If chasing trophy browns, fish streams that aren't chalk full of wild browns.

I think the reasoning there is only HALF about fertility. The stream has to be fertile enough to produce larger fish, yes. But given perfect conditions, that fertility only produces MORE fish, not necessarily larger ones. There has to be some other factor limiting the wild trout population. Temperatures are the typical reason, harvest/predation can come into play too.

But with, say, temperature. You've got a fertile stream. But perhaps only a few spots stay cold enough to hold fish over the summer. Your larger fish win the battle for those spots. The rest of the year, they have no competition, can totally dominate the better holding areas all of their lives, and get all that food supply to themselves.

With brookies, I think you get a bit of the bass/bluegill reltationship going on too. It's well known that if you want bigger bluegills in a pond, add bass. For the same reasons, having just a handful of large browns present ensures that a fair % of the smaller brookies get eaten. Those that survive, then have less competition for prime holding spots (which are different holding spots than the browns take). That means they get the prime holding spots earlier in life, feed better, and grow quicker.

Posted on: 2013/5/7 9:38


Re: bigger brookies

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Streams with only brook trout.

And with low harvest/fishing pressure.

And definitely streams that are not stocked.


Posted on: 2013/5/7 9:45


Re: bigger brookies

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Ok, brookies are more tolerant of acidity than browns. And acidity reduces food supply... at the extreme level of acidity brookies can tolerate, they have to survive on terrestrials because there are so few aquatic insects. Fun fishing, but not a habitat for bigger fish (not enough to eat in colder months). So the highly acidic/ low alk brookie freestoners will tend to not have bigger fish.

Dwight brings up the issue of fishing pressure. I agree that it can matter, but I think that only small number of the PA freestone brookie stream miles see a lot of pressure... harvest is too low to be a factor on most of the miles. I also believe that most of the PA freestone brookie streams aren't stocked. But sure, places that aren't stocked and arent fished too much.

I dont really count streams above reservoirs, yeah, I see bigger brookies there, but to me that's another category. Someone built them a lake :)

So not too much acidity, it reduces food supply. Anyone know whether streams that have moderate acidity that discourages browns and stay very cold, below 58 or 60 all year, have less food due to the cooler water temps? I think they might.




Posted on: 2013/5/7 10:08

Edited by k-bob on 2013/5/7 10:32:23


Re: bigger brookies

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Im gonna agree with Troutbert. In my brookie fishing experience ive caught brookies up to 13 inches in a stream that isnt stocked, have had 50+ fish days, and noone fishes at all. Ive seen one other person on the stream and he was a homeowner from up the block.-Kev

Posted on: 2013/5/7 11:38
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Re: bigger brookies

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Dear k-bob,

Try fishing above one of the numerous municipal water supply reservoirs found in PA after Labor and after a decent rain and tell me if you don't find brook trout over 12".

If you can't you might not be trying hard enough for they are definitely there. A good rain will bring fish that spend the bulk of their lives in the water supply reservoirs upstream to spawn.

You can also try fishing anywhere a day after a heavy thunderstorm. That's when I alsways see the hilljacks toting full creels on brookie streams. They don't keep 7 inch fish.

Regards,

Tim Murphy


Posted on: 2013/5/7 12:22
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Re: bigger brookies

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Uh tim what I said is that there are bigger brookies above reservoirs. I just think that is a different habitat.

me: "I dont really count streams above reservoirs, yeah, I see bigger brookies there, but to me that's another category."

a small stream with a big impoundment, to me, is a different habitat than a small stream without an impoundment. yes they have some big brookies that move in an out of the impoundments. have caught some but I usually don't go out of my way to do it.

Posted on: 2013/5/7 12:29

Edited by k-bob on 2013/5/7 12:44:52


Re: bigger brookies

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2013/2/16 0:51
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About half of the 10"+ brook trout I've caught were from streams that do not have brown trout. They flow into warm, flat, featureless sections of a much larger stream that is not stocked in that area. I have found smallies and rock bass in the lower end of these streams but no browns. Since it isn't acid keeping the browns out, the brooks have a normal food supply. In addition there are long sections of shallow riffles between deep holes which provide great habitat for young brookies to survive but keeps the number of adults low.

The other ones I've caught I think just have good habitat and low angling pressure, with a handful of browns in one of those streams. HTH

Posted on: 2013/5/7 14:25


Re: bigger brookies

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2009/4/11 18:51
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Love em.

Posted on: 2013/5/7 15:00
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Re: bigger brookies

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Quote:
Try fishing above one of the numerous municipal water supply reservoirs found in PA after Labor and after a decent rain and tell me if you don't find brook trout over 12".


Yeah, I agree with K-Bob. We all know those fish exist. And we all know why. It's a fairly specialized situation.

The question is what to look for in a STREAM to be able to produce the larger brookies. A lake is a valid answer. As is flowing into a large river like the Allegheny, Pine, or D where they can grow large and then re-ascend the smaller stream. As are beaver dams, being a limestoner, etc. They are just specialized situations that are assumed to be obvious to everyone. And they don't help when the question is about less obvious factors that can grow big brook trout. i.e. why two otherwise seemingly similar streams can vary so much in the fish they produce.

Posted on: 2013/5/7 15:02


Re: bigger brookies

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2009/2/19 19:59
From Mont Co, Pa
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The stream that I consistantly get 10"+ natives from also has wild browns, but neither are in great numbers. It's also not a high gradient stream.

Posted on: 2013/5/7 15:29
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