Re: Strategies for Catching Monster Trout
Lots of good info here.
Large browns at night, things I didn't see:
Once you get past the gloaming and into full dark, don't bother with anything but black noisy flies like muddlers, bo river buggers, etc. If you have a lot on moonlight, you can cut down on the nose factor. Put the non-black flies away once it's dark and take them out again when it starts to lighten up.
If you have a river that supports both trout and smallies, spend you time in the smallies side of the transition area. after browns get to 16-18", they become much more light sensitive and can tolerate warmer water with less oxygen that smaller trout will avoid.
Fish "funnels". Large browns with park just below them. Also watch the tails of back eddies where they turn back around into the main current line. They will also park in that little triangle where just above where the eddie recirculates back into the main current stream.
Fish the selected areas many times before you go at night. Figure everything out before you go at night. then get there while it is still light out and fish through the darkness. Take a nap between 1 am and 3 am and fish till dawn. You need to get a lot of time soaking flies to hook up. Look into "behavioral drift" to get a better idea about this strategy.
Large browns have a territory so to speak. They can cover miles during a night. you have two choice. Cover a lot of water well and fast or park and wait for them to pass threw.
Also look for river that are and always have been C&R only due to less than pristine water. If the tribs to these kinds of rivers are well stocked, your chances go up.
Don't hesitate to throw cat-toy bass flies and salt water sized flies as well. Trout are cannibals. A Winnipesaukee Smelt tied to look like a 6"-8" rainbow isn't an outrageous thing to throw when there is enough light to see it.
Trout have much better vision then we do. They see almost as much red as we do but they see far deeper into the UV then we do. Their range is greater than ours, and they have that laterial line which is in some ways better than another set of eyes. Thing is that as a trout grows, the never endings in the lateral line do not increase, but get spread out a bit more. They loose a fraction of super fine detail, but the "image" becomes a bit more 'sterioscopic'.
Practice your knots in a dark room. Use a butt-kicking leader 5'- 7' long down to .013" - .015" tie on a small barrel swivel and run 18" of 0X off of that (Match the leader and tippet to the biggest fish you expect to catch). This helps a lot with cat-toys that like to spin in the water. Salt water leaders tend to be heavier and tougher than fresh water leaders.
I "discovered" smallies looking for big, nocturnal browns. Biggest one I ever caught was on a black slider 'cat toy' that flopped around on the surface rather than sliding in the surface film. Funny thing was I was after smallies.