Big Native Brook Trout

Mikey2006

Mikey2006

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I’m very new to fly fishing and usually just fish barbless spinners for wild trout, however the last time I was out fishing a local stream in Franklin County I spotted a native brook trout well over 10 inches. I’m hoping I can catch it on my fly rod. What flies do you think could work, I’m getting tired of fishing spinners because they obviously are less safe for the trout
 
Mikey2006

Mikey2006

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I can't speak to cold weather fishing for brookies, but in the warmer months, I've found that natives have a hard time refusing a Parachute Adams (14-16)
I was reading something online about black stoneflies or whatever they are called, those hatch in the winter right?
 
S

Silent Ocelot

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It will depend on what time you are going for them. If you are targeting them right now I'd use midges if the brook trout is located in a tiny trickle as those are the only bugs in those streams right now. Midges should work in general, fished tight-line style or under an indicator, whichever way you'd prefer, weighted or unweighted, though you'll need weight on the fly itself or added to the rig to get down to where the fish are, especially this time of the year when they are hugging bottom. I'd probably tight-line it on a small creek and use an indicator on a larger stream. Stealth will be key in winter unless the flows are up (which they probably are at this exact moment). With flows on the rise I'd probably second @sandflyx and go with a weighted streamer such as a slumpbuster with a lot of lead in it. Black in terms of the color if it is murky and maybe attempt a white or chartreuse streamer if the water is a little stained. Jigging a streamer should be pretty effective. I am typically religiously opposed to running streamers. Not sure why that is. I mostly nymph.

I commend you on getting rid of the spinners. They have a higher impact on the fish in terms of unwanted damage caused by the hooks getting into parts of the fish you don't want them to and you will find a single barbless hook produces a fast release with the least amount of harm to come to to the fish. The thought of a native trout being caught an a treble is so horrific to me I can hardly even conjure it up inside my head.
 
pcray1231

pcray1231

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Yeah, depends where it's at and what time of year. Assuming it's a smallish, infertile mountain stream? In summer I'd be parachute Adams all the way, and from as far away as I could. They take just about anything but spook easily.

At this time of year, I might float the dry over it and see what happens. If no dice, I'd do a dry dropper with a beadhead nymph or something.
 
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kbobb

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Small pheasant tail nymph might work.
Regarding spinners - you can always take off the treble hook and put on a single barbless hook.
 
hooker-of-men

hooker-of-men

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On very small streams in the cold, I simplify down to a bobber and a weighted Pat's rubber legs (or some similar larger stonefly pattern). I generally don't size down, as I would for browns, and I count on that larger nymph as an attractor.

I try not to mess with a dry/dropper, multi nymph rig, adding or subtracting lead, etc. (again, talking small water) as I generally have enough other things to aggravate me in very cold air temps. I want the rig as stripped down as possible.
 
Wild_Trouter

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Right here is all you need right now. Golden Retriever #8 or #10. These bang brookies:
1674685608516
 
rustbeltwilds

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Small pheasant tail nymph might work.
Regarding spinners - you can always take off the treble hook and put on a single barbless hook.
yes 100 pct i use them been fishing over 40years and i can count the number i inadvertently killed browns brookies bows etc not to pick on you ocelot just it isnt as bad as you think jeeeeesh
 
Mikey2006

Mikey2006

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It will depend on what time you are going for them. If you are targeting them right now I'd use midges if the brook trout is located in a tiny trickle as those are the only bugs in those streams right now. Midges should work in general, fished tight-line style or under an indicator, whichever way you'd prefer, weighted or unweighted, though you'll need weight on the fly itself or added to the rig to get down to where the fish are, especially this time of the year when they are hugging bottom. I'd probably tight-line it on a small creek and use an indicator on a larger stream. Stealth will be key in winter unless the flows are up (which they probably are at this exact moment). With flows on the rise I'd probably second @sandflyx and go with a weighted streamer such as a slumpbuster with a lot of lead in it. Black in terms of the color if it is murky and maybe attempt a white or chartreuse streamer if the water is a little stained. Jigging a streamer should be pretty effective. I am typically religiously opposed to running streamers. Not sure why that is. I mostly nymph.

I commend you on getting rid of the spinners. They have a higher impact on the fish in terms of unwanted damage caused by the hooks getting into parts of the fish you don't want them to and you will find a single barbless hook produces a fast release with the least amount of harm to come to to the fish. The thought of a native trout being caught an a treble is so horrific to me I can hardly even conjure it up inside my head.
The creek is like 5 feet across or less and 6 inches deep in 99% of the water, the fish is in the only real big pool there is so ill definitely be able to find it again. I’ll take everyone’s advice in here and throw a bunch of different stuff at it. Gonna probably save the spinners for stocked trout even if it means catching way less fish as I learn how to get them on the fly
 
Mikey2006

Mikey2006

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This caught my PB wild PA brook at 13"!
I’ll definitely have to either tie some or just buy some then, I’ll probably do better with streamers than anything else since I can see it in the water more like the spinners I was using
 
HopBack

HopBack

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I’ll definitely have to either tie some or just buy some then, I’ll probably do better with streamers than anything else since I can see it in the water more like the spinners I was using

An in-line spinner and a streamer are generally fished in the same manner are going to yield the similar results. If you want to try a different tactic, I would put a small bobber on and a green weenie🫣. This can be done with either your spinning rod or your fly rod.
 
sarce

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Good luck and I'm looking forward to seeing the photo here when you get it!

Black woolly buggers have taken my largest freestone brookies, but I've also had good results with golden stonefly nymphs, and a few good ones have taken small light-colored streamers similar to what Wild_Trouter posted.
 
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Silent Ocelot

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Fishing a streamer is fished in the same manner as a spinner but you can do a lot more with it like drift it under an indicator or high-stick it. The advantages of fly fishing are that you can present flies to fish in a wider variety of ways than casting out a spinner, letting it sink, and then retrieving it. Versatility is key to catching fish. Remember we have to play to their tune.
 
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Silent Ocelot

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The creek is like 5 feet across or less and 6 inches deep in 99% of the water, the fish is in the only real big pool there is so ill definitely be able to find it again. I’ll take everyone’s advice in here and throw a bunch of different stuff at it. Gonna probably save the spinners for stocked trout even if it means catching way less fish as I learn how to get them on the fly
Once you reach a higher level of competency in fly fishing you will learn it is far mar effective (and more fun) and ditch the conventional spinners. Not trying to diss spin fishing, I did it for awhile, but you can plateau easily in that style of fishing and once I mastered it it became boring and IMO pointless to continue fishing that way. Fly fishing seems to have no plateau, and just when you think you have a stream dialed in, it pulls a 180 on you and you become dumbfounded. That's the beauty (or insanity), depending on how look at it of fly fishing.

I will say that with stocked trout, once they realize that the constant bombardment of Powerbait and artificial (non-fly) lures gets them killed and the face that they start adapting to a natural food source, spin fishing becomes obsolete. It's a beautiful thing to witness the spin guys walking off the stream with nothing on their stringers watching me pound a trout on almost every cast. I may, being antagonistic by nature, let out a chuckle as they walk by. It's all in good fun.
 
Wild_Trouter

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I’ll definitely have to either tie some or just buy some then, I’ll probably do better with streamers than anything else since I can see it in the water more like the spinners I was using
I lived in Chambersburg for ~10yrs. You have lots of great brookie water within easy reach. I know Silverfox knows what's up there too :)
 
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Silent Ocelot

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Yeah, depends where it's at and what time of year. Assuming it's a smallish, infertile mountain stream? In summer I'd be parachute Adams all the way, and from as far away as I could. They take just about anything but spook easily.

At this time of year, I might float the dry over it and see what happens. If no dice, I'd do a dry dropper with a beadhead nymph or something.
I too like to fish from afar, but some of the streams I fish are too small for even getting a 15 foot cast (leader included in the casting distance) out. I am always prone to try and bomb even my indicator nymph rigs. On ponds and larger rivers while fishing single flies I really love to get the fly out there. My goal for this year is to hook a bluegill with nothing but backing on my reel. The challenge there is stripping in a lot of slack line to initiate the hookset. I am also worried about fish inhaling the fly and swallowing it due to my lack of reaction time as I gather up slack to set the hook.

What sort of dries do you throw in winter? I'd imagine smaller sparser flies that wouldn't be particularly buoyant to assist in supporting a beaded dropper.
 
pcray1231

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I too like to fish from afar, but some of the streams I fish are too small for even getting a 15 foot cast (leader included in the casting distance) out.
Oh, I know. "Far" on a tight stream isn't that far for a big stream. But generally, if brookie in infertile streams are active, they aren't picky. They'll hit a dry, nymph, streamer, whatever. What they are is spooky. As such, it can be a huge advantage to cast from 15 feet instead of 10. Or 20 feet instead of 15.

You can fish dry flies from farther away. You can fish them tighter to brush, they just float around. You can throw tighter loops to get under overhanging limbs or rhodo. You can go over that log and fish the spot behind it without hanging up. You're not constantly hung up by crap at your feet. For these reasons, I generally catch MORE fish on dries than I do on nymphs or streamers. And what type of dries? The same as any other time. Again, it's not about what fly. Adams, Wulff's, Patriots, Humpies, Stimmies.

There are times, though. In winter when water is cold. Especially morning or evening. That they won't hit a dry. Just lethargic. They're not charging across a pool for anything. If it's 3 feet above them, they aren't going that far. Won't move far to feed. Maybe not paying as much attention, who knows. But you have to get something down to them and put it in front of their nose. I like a dry dropper over an indicator rig because there's no splash of a bobber to spook them. Such places usually aren't that deep and you don't need much weight beyond the fly too.

There are spots in the summer too. Very deep holes, or fish that are up under a rock or something, or under white water at the head of the pool. They just don't see it on the surface. So there are places you have to go underneath to catch fish even in summer. But it's far rarer than winter.
 
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