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Hardest Trout to Catch

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2007/6/1 8:08
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I've been doing a lot of fly fishing lately and have fished all types of streams with all types of trout. My question is what type of trout are the hardest to catch? streambred trout, state stocked full size fish, or state stocked fingerlings.

My answer would be state stocked fingerlings that have grown over a few seasons. To me the only difference with these fish and streambred trout is pressure. My experiences with streambred trout is that they receive little pressure and will bite just about anything as long as you don't spook them.

Posted on: 2007/6/13 21:19


Re: Hardest Trout to Catch
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I agree that fishing pressure is the single variable that most determines the difficulty of trout to being caught. By this, I refer to catch and release pressure primarily. I think holdover stockies are equally selective as wild fish although I think (can't prove it) that wild fish always seem to be a bit more spooky and difficult to approach. Other factors include species of trout (browns toughest, cutts easiest) and water type.

Posted on: 2007/6/13 22:20


Re: Hardest Trout to Catch

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2006/9/21 0:02
From Pittsburgh
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In my early fly fishing years, I would have rated browns as toughest, with rainbows next, and brookies the easiest.
But experience has taught me different, and I agree with you guys that fishing pressure is the wild card, and can make any type of trout tough to catch.
I've run into some very selective brookies lately.
Cuthroats also have a reputation as being dumb, and I believed that to be so until, I fished the Tongue river in Wyoming a few years ago. It's quite a small stream with catch and release regs, and lots of fishing pressure apparently. It's full of nice size cuts, but they were some of the most selective fish I've ever tried for.
I had to work for every one I caught

Posted on: 2007/6/14 0:52


Re: Hardest Trout to Catch

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2007/5/10 14:53
From Carlisle
Posts: 633
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I totally agree with everything thats been said, but I think another thing that adds to the difficulty is the clarity of the water. This year has been one of the toughest approach years ive ever experienced, regardless of the species because all of the water in this area is at a trickle compared to its normal flows.

If we talk streams though, Letort browns in the FFO stretch are by far the hardest fish Ive ever expereienced. It has everything the spookiest fish, gin clear water, a soft bank that apparently sends shockwaves a mile away to the fish, and pressure galore.

Posted on: 2007/6/14 8:29


Re: Hardest Trout to Catch

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2006/12/29 10:00
From Harrisburg
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Well said Ship. The smaller ones are tough enough to make it a long day, and then you see those in the 20" range time after time go storming off before your even in casting range. Yeeesh!
Letort browns were the 1st to come to mind when I read this.

Posted on: 2007/6/14 10:29
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Re: Hardest Trout to Catch

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There are so few "holdover" adult trout and fingerlings that I won't include them in this. They just don't survive. Wild rbowns in C & R water are the toughest trout to catch, followed by large brookies, in limestone streams, at least until you know what they eat. For the browns the browns in limestone streams are much harder to catch then freestone stream browns, but the freestone browns can be tough, especially when the water is under 60 degrees. The easiest, hatchery rainbows!!!
If fishing pressure is such a wild card, then why do I see guys going in to a lie, that someone has just pounded and caught nothing, the second guy catches fish after fish. You guys give trout too much credit.

Posted on: 2007/6/14 15:01


Re: Hardest Trout to Catch

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I personally think pressure is a wild card because if its a C&R stream and people are catching and releasing them all the time then obviously theyll be less inclined to bite so quickly the next time. Also when talking about going to where someone was previously at you have to ask, how did the first guy fish it? Was he doing stuff that would spook the fish or mess up the hole or was he just fishing it for a long time? Now taking freshly stocked hatchery trout out of the equation, it becomes your presentation versus what the other guy used. Many times I've fished certain holes on falling springs right after someone else fished it, however I was using something different and thats why I caught the fish if I did. However if I saw someone walk through the whole and stir everything up then I wouldn't think twice about fishing that stream.

Now say falling springs didn't get fished for say 2-3 weeks and you were the first person to fish it in that span. Chances are you're gonna catch more fish then if you were following someone else through the water.

In conclusion the pressure wild card is more about how often the fish are being disturbed/spooked. And the reason I mention Letort as being highly pressured is because a lot of the people that fish it aren't used to such spooky fish and they approach it incorrectly and the fish become more weary because of that.

Posted on: 2007/6/14 15:19


Re: Hardest Trout to Catch

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2007/4/8 20:22
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The hardest trout to catch is sipping bugs off the top in very slow, clear water. It doesn't matter how many flies he's seen... he just has the best chance to inspect what you're offering.

Posted on: 2007/6/14 16:23


Re: Hardest Trout to Catch

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2006/9/9 21:13
From Apollo
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Ones you can see in gin clear water. Last Sunday was fishing to a big brown and a couple smaller ones. The one that hit the nymph was one I didn't see next to the big rock.

Posted on: 2007/6/14 21:15
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Re: Hardest Trout to Catch

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2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
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i agree with everything said about pressure as a wild card. the hardest trout i have ever seen also have been the letort browns.
they are by far the hardest to catch. i dont agree that there are not many holdover stocked trout. while most donot survive...i have caught enough this season to belive there are more out there than we think. the reason that someone will catch fish after someone has fished a hole and caught nothing is probably due to presentation, fly selection or experince on the water. i have done this to other fisherman many times on my local waters because i simpily know how to fish them. i belive we dont give trout enough credit. the other day at donegal i caught a few nice browns on top. in that hole is tons of rainbows. tonight the water was off color due to the rains and the hatch activity was limited at best. i caught 12 rainbows on streamers and nymphs. the browns were pretty tight lipped to these flys due to the fishing pressure. one fish was rising....i threw a sulphur and landed a 16 inch brown trout. seems to me the browns are looking up for real food while the dumb bows are just looking for anything.

i rate the fish this way:
1. wild browns in high pressured water
2. stocked browns in highly pressured water
3. wild brookies in highly pressured water
4. stocked brookies in highly pressured water
5. wild bows in """""""""""""
6.stocked bows in """""""""""""
if the water isnt highly pressured everything else goes:

7.browns
8.rainbows
9.brookies
just my opinion

Posted on: 2007/6/14 21:20
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Re: Hardest Trout to Catch

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2006/12/29 10:00
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Have to make a thread before to long about these lack of holdover opinions. I'll need to take some pictures but I catch stockies, holdovers, and wilds on almost every trip up Clarks. Did it today, but thats a stream report to be made.

Posted on: 2007/6/14 22:33
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Re: Hardest Trout to Catch

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i agree squaretail. i would like to here what peoples opinions are on holdover trout. it really depends on the stream. is easy to say that most dont survive because the majority of pas stocked waters are marginal in the summer....but those that can hold trout year round....have holdovers. i belive there are more holdovers than we think in pas best streams.

Posted on: 2007/6/14 22:56
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Re: Hardest Trout to Catch
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2006/9/9 9:29
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Any stream with sufficient food and habitat (including water quality) will hold over stocked trout. Contrary to a certain prevailing prejudice, there is nothing inferior about hatchery-raised trout other than the habits instilled during several months of hatchery rearing, which are quickly shed once they are in the stream.

Posted on: 2007/6/15 6:15
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Re: Hardest Trout to Catch

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2006/9/13 10:18
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I've seen it time and again on "highly pressured streams" I've even had it happen to myself, a guy fishes over a pool for a long period and doesn't catch anything, another guy comes along after the first guy leaves and BAM, he catches several fish over the next hour. How does this fit in with the "Highly Pressured Theory?" I say when this happens it just the angler using the wrong fly and he's getting refusals or the fly isn't even getting a look from the trout.
Keep in mind that on C & R streams the populations of fish are usually pretty high, and in many instances the fish are competing with each other for the available food, so cannot wait to see if more food comes down the highway. This is especially true when a C & R stream is heavily stocked. Trout have to make a decision to take a fly or let it go. If they don’t like the imitation that is coming down toward them, most often they will not even give the fly a look. Many times they will rise to something the angler can’t see that is near the imitation as it drifts, that is why anglers think they get a rise and when they set the hook nothing is there.
I’ll use the Little Lehigh as an example, 20 to 30 guys will be on the section from the foot bridge below the fly shop, up to fish hatchery road. A person would think that among all those people a few would catch trout, but quite often no one is catching even a chubb. Another guy moves up from downstream and is catching trout in every place he casts, including places vacated by anglers moving on, how can this be explained, if indeed the other anglers are not catching fish because the stream is “highly pressured?"
Jack, everything is different with hatchery raised trout, they don't act like wild fish, they don't feed like wild fish, and they don't survive and spawn like wild fish. They may look similar, they may even fight once in a while, but they aren't the same. You're statement says it all, "there is nothing inferior about hatchery-raised trout other than the habits instilled during several months of hatchery rearing."

Posted on: 2007/6/15 7:26
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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.


Re: Hardest Trout to Catch
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2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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Chaz wrote – “I've seen it time and again on "highly pressured streams" I've even had it happen to myself, a guy fishes over a pool for a long period and doesn't catch anything, another guy comes along after the first guy leaves and BAM, he catches several fish over the next hour. How does this fit in with the "Highly Pressured Theory?" I say when this happens it just the angler using the wrong fly and he's getting refusals or the fly isn't even getting a look from the trout.”

Chaz, IMO the main reason why most fly anglers aren’t catching fish in this situation is PRESENTATION. I’ve seen it many times. You can fish next to a neophyte angler with the same fly and catch fish while the inexperienced angler gets skunked. Conversely, several experienced anglers can catch fish on the same stream using total different flies and methods. Most often, unless the fish are locked into a specific hatch, many fly patterns and methods will catch fish.

I like going to the LL once in a while to fish over “pressured fish” – it’s a challenge. In the clear water you can see the fish come up and inspect your fly. I’ve seen these fish follow your fly 10’ or more waiting for drag. As soon as the fly drags they turn and swim back to their holding position. It’s like a chess game trying to catch these fish using different patterns of flies, different methods of fishing, and flawless presentation.

I also love fishing for wild brookies like you do, but you have to admit that with lightly fished brookies, if you can remained undetected, they are usually very easy to catch on almost any pattern. The chess game there is stealth, and making the cast in tight quarters – not necessarily fooling the fish.

Both types of fishing and fish are challenging and fun……IMO.

Posted on: 2007/6/15 8:43



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