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Old 09-13-2009, 09:47 AM
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Default Making the move from small trout to large trout... :)

When I go out to a local stream, I find myself catching plenty of fish (sometimes averaging 15-20/hour). However, the majority of these fish are under 4 inches. Although it is always satisfying to have a fish on your line, what can I do to bring in a few more larger fish? Is my fly pattern or presentation slightly off to where only the "naive fingerlings" think it is really food? Does the stream only support these smaller sizes? Do these younger, immature trout drive the older, mature trout away?

Locale: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Species: Brookies, Browns, and Rainbows
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Old 09-13-2009, 01:21 PM
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Default Re: Making the move from small trout to large trout... :)

There are some streams in my area that a 12" trout is a huge trout. One thing that I noticed is that these fish stay deep. They rarely come up to look at flies. If I want to catch one, I need to dredge down deep in the tumbly water.

You need to remember that little trout are more opportunistic than the bigger ones. Therefore they will lash out at any meal coming their way. With the number of little trout in your stream, I wouldn't be surprised if the larger trout are feeding on the smaller trout. What has more protein: a PMD pupa or a 4 inch trout?

In some of the deeper runs on your stream, try this. Try nymphing a weighted size 8 scuplin pattern. If there are stoneflies in the stream, try nymphing a size 6 or 8 rubberlegs stonefly. If there are crawdads in your stream, try a crawdad pattern, too.

Good luck,
MP
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Old 09-13-2009, 01:40 PM
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Default Re: Making the move from small trout to large trout... :)

Harry welcome to the board, glad you found us. Good thread, great advice from Mosca. Hopefully others will weigh in too.

It's hard to say exactly- it could be the stream's nutrient carrying capacity and the extent to which it warms up over the summer which can greatly affect the amount of dissolved in the water. Fast, steep gradient mountain freestone streams tend to be less productive in nutrients and more susceptible to swings in amount and temp of water than slower moving spring creeks for example which are richer in nutrients and have a steady water supply within a narrow constant temperature range. But if bigger fish are around it is more likely that they'll chase smaller fish out of the good lies rather than the other way around. Catching a larger fish from a small stream like this is quite an accomplishment-- and it doesn't have to be much larger to make it feel like a trophy from small streams.

Look for undercut banks, log james, the outside of bends where there may be a deep water run next to an overhang. These places may be difficult to fish-- and may hold the bigger boys. If you do catch a bigger fish, mark the spot because that same spot, and ones like it, are likely to hold good fish in the future. In smaller streams, a stealthy approach is often required-- littler fish might be easier since they have to be aggressive- they're forced into less productive lies by bigger fish if they're around. Play "if I was a big 'un where would i be?" -protection from overhead predators, a conveyor belt that brings food, protection from heavy current, access to deeper water for protection from predators, sufficient oxygen and water temps -a good holding lie to try might have overhead cover, near a current seam, near/in water 2' deep or more for example.

Large browns especially are carnivorous, so a meaty streamer might be the ticket. Hot temps with water temps in high 60's edging towards 70 degrees might lead fish, especially rainbows, to move into or right below riffles (more oxygen).

Of course you could also fish waters you know to hold larger fish-- like the Ausable for example.

Another thing to keep in mind is that as October starts to get closer, browns will move up the tribs to spawn-- so small tribs that don't usually hold big fish may get some visitors. Look for the bigger fish milling around at the mouth near where a smaller trib empties into a larger stream, at the base of small falls or pools where they may congregate. And sometimes they'll move in after a heavy rain raises water levels. There will also be lake run browns entering the major GL tribs along with salmon and steelhead. Some of these fish will be bruisers.

mark
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Old 09-13-2009, 03:02 PM
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Default Re: Making the move from small trout to large trout... :)

You may need to change the place you are fishing. I don't mean a new river, just a new spot in the river. Walleye are the primary target fish where I live. There are people here who fish all the time and never get a walleye bigger than 19". I have been hitting a spot the last few hours before dark and have yet to catch one less than 23 1/2". I got a 41 1/2" Northern there yesterday. This place is not a numbers spot as I don't get a fish every time, and the most ever was three. Most of the time it is a one fish spot. You may have spots like this there. Hunt around for differant spots. If you pound the snot out of tiny ones it is likely because those tiny ones feel safe there because the spot does not hold big fish. If you get to a new spot and right away get a couple small ones, move. You may want to try tying something that looks like a 4" trout also. Maybe EP fiber or something. If there are big ones in the area, they are probably eating those same fish you have been catching.
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: Making the move from small trout to large trout... :)

i like using a thermometer, especially this time of year when everything is heating up. Take temps and find some cooler spots. Usually were a tributary connects with the stream the water will be a few degrees cooler. Once the river was so hot that the fish were all congregated in one some area. it was like a fish in a barrel.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: Making the move from small trout to large trout... :)

Newbie question regarding same subject - the more I read and talk to fellow fisherman about landing bigger fish on a fly, the more it sounds like I will have to abandon the dry fly method to improve my chances of landing something with more size.

It does make sense that bigger fish are probably not as excited to swallow little dry flies that float along the top of a deep pool, even by the banks. Especially when there is bigger meals to be had down below in safer waters.

Lately I have started fishing with dries to start on the waters, and after bringing in about 10 fish to hand, if the size seems to run about the same (6"-10") I will swap out my dry for a streamer. I have yet to catch anything with a streamer so far in my fly fishing experience, but this would have a lot to do with not practicing this method very often. Being new, it's hard to switch from dries when there is top water action happening, only to use streamers and see the action slow down and the takes stop.

My question is this - do I have any chance of hooking into something substantial fishing primarily with dry flies, or do my chances improve if I go sub surface for them?

The waters I fish have small fish a plenty, but I do see hogs in good numbers too, and my friends fishing with bait seem to be able to catch them. I always thought the fish were just seasoned and not fooled by my rookie methods. My goal now for the rest of this fishing season is to hook and land something that will truly test my 5wt setup.
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:23 AM
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Default Re: Making the move from small trout to large trout... :)

+1 to Mosca and perigrenes.

Think real estate - location, location, location and as we all know in this real estate market; timing, timing, timing.

Think also biology. Any living thing must optimize energy in (food) - energy out (catching food). The larger the organism, the more energy it takes for it to feed and therefore, it must either get more calories per food item and/or it must be more efficient in feeding. Both occur as fish get larger.

For a large fish to survive it must be an efficient feeder. That means it must seek a location where it can feed very often on smaller items like insect hatches but expend very little energy. Or it must feed when it can feed on large items, like at night from an ambush position. So look for prime feeding lies. I wrote a FAQ on reading water that explains "lies".

Look for hydraulic cushions like in front of a boulder, or areas of slow flow like next to a bank; you get the idea. Within this spectrum of prime feeding lies, the largest fish will be in the most difficult lies for presenting the fly.

For example tight to the bank under an alder branch. Or behind a low lying branch in the water with other branches just above it. They will feed imperceptibly, with little noise and surface disturbance unless they feed at night. You likely will NOT see them feed during the day unless you are looking for the slight dimple of the subtle rise.

Also fish in fertile rivers. Newbies never consider that the more fertile a river is the more fish there will be. The more fish there are, the most lies will be filled and the fish will be larger.

Top illustration is an infertile freestone river and lower illustration is a fertile spring creek or tailwater fishery. More fish also means more big fish. The better the lie, the larger the fish so for any given lie, the fish will be larger in a fertile river.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

So location, location, location - choose a fertile river and the best feeding lies, then OBSERVATION! Find the hidden large fish. You may have heard the adage, "Be the heron". That means spend some time looking and observing before casting.

Then comes timing. Fish when they are feeding. During hatches or spinner falls or at night. In tail waters, at the correct water level.

Finally PRESENTATION. Hone your skills so you know what fly to use and how and where to present it.

Fishing is like selling real estate - Location, Timing, Observation, Presentation. Where is the property, when will it sell, find a likely customer, and finally close the deal.

Search Google for
Click to View Search Results for "Gary Borger, Marker Fly" "Gary Borger, Marker Fly"
and go to the first search item to read about how this is done.
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