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Old 07-13-2013, 07:05 PM
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Default What's the Deal with Native Brookies

I have had multiple opportunities to fish for brooks. I've never caught one. I read a lot about how they are easy to catch. Then I've read that native brook trout are a whole different animal. I never found out what that meant. Does that mean they're way spookier or what? Sorry for asking so many questions.
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: What's the Deal with Native Brookies

What sort of water were you fishing? What flies?
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: What's the Deal with Native Brookies

The deal with wild brook trout is the fact that they are only found in very clean cold water. They usually not grow any larger than 16 inches and in small streams, may only attain 10 inches. They are not a long lived fish. On top of that, their spawning habits do not help them against other fish species in the race for survival. They lay about 200 eggs per pound of fish. The eggs are laid in late fall, hatch in early spring and the embryos only have a very short time to start feeding otherwise they die. The eggs and embryos are very much affected by acid rain and other pollutants.

Wild brook trout are very easy to catch. Luckily, the fish do not get as big as many family dogs otherwise, wading and swimming would be dangerous.

Easy to catch and great tasting, need of excellent habitat, not good in competition with other fish species, easy prey to other animals, weak spawning habits .... all of these things and more make the wild brook trout a special treat for most fishermen.
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: What's the Deal with Native Brookies

They are one of the more baffling of 'trout'.

I know a couple of small streams where they won't take a fly and I have many fishless days to prove it to myself. Played the 'game of nods' with an 8" brooking in a pool for maybe 4 hours once. Threw everything I had at him, form #20 sparce dries to a #2 muddler... he came out form under his rock to carefully examine each and every fly, the first time threw my boxes. Never once even hinted at a take. Funny thing was when I started on round two of the flies I have on me, he didn't didn't budge for the ones he was only half interested in the first time. Flipped up a log; found a worm; stripped a #12 nymph... He slammed it withing 2 seconds of it hitting the water.

Conversely, I know another slightly larger stream where brookies are actually sort of annoying. I fish that stream for it's resident population of 8" - 12", light, streamline browns.

I've seen them turn their nose up at everything in a manner that would do a life-long Parisian proud. I have also seen them basically throw themselves at my feet.

(For me, brookies basically make less sence than some of my ex's... . They sure do taste good though.)

Thing I find most interesting about them is that they have been much less the subject of study and scrutiny as compared to the rest of the 'trout' clan. Yes, I do know they are char. They swim like a trout, eat like a trout, eat what trout it, live where trout live, act like trout - trout enough for me.

The other weird thing about them is the biggest ones are most often found in habitats which also support Northern Pike.
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: What's the Deal with Native Brookies

Where I fish for them, the Shenandoah National Park, they are both very easy and very difficult to catch.

They'll hit any pattern that is presented properly the first time they see it. However, they're really spooky towards movement. So it's tough to get close enough to throw flies at them. Keep low, don't silhouette yourself, wear neutral colors, and make your first cast your best ca

Edit: To elaborate on that last point: 90+% of brookies I catch, I catch on the first cast to the pool. Take your time, get into position while being stealthy, and make your first cast count.
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: What's the Deal with Native Brookies

Ok, it makes sense to make my first cast count, and to be stealthy. The only thing I've got a problem comprehending now is; I can catch browns in the rivers I fish almost every time I go out, but they're supposed to be the tougher species of the 2 to catch. But I always struggle with those dang brookies! I just don't get them.

---------- Post added at 09:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:41 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by williamhj View Post
What sort of water were you fishing? What flies?
I was fishing a tiny creek and a nice sized stream. I used attractor patterns, like royal wulffs, adams, pass lakes, and caddis patterns.
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: What's the Deal with Native Brookies

Quote:
Originally Posted by pikefisher69 View Post
Ok, it makes sense to make my first cast count, and to be stealthy. The only thing I've got a problem comprehending now is; I can catch browns in the rivers I fish almost every time I go out, but they're supposed to be the tougher species of the 2 to catch. But I always struggle with those dang brookies! I just don't get them.

---------- Post added at 09:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:41 PM ----------



I was fishing a tiny creek and a nice sized stream. I used attractor patterns, like royal wulffs, adams, pass lakes, and caddis patterns.
Sound like an interesting challenge. Not fun to be skunked, but it is fun to finally catch fish that make you work for it. What do you see the fish doing when you're fishing for them? Are they actively feeding when you walk up (on the surface or subsurface)? Do they keep behaving the same way while you're fishing for them? Sometime fish spook but don't run for cover. Instead they stay on the bottom and stop feeding for a bit.
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:44 AM
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Default Re: What's the Deal with Native Brookies

Brookies are all I fish. They can be very tricky at times. If the water is fished hard any one day, brookies usually need some time to recover. To get over disturbance of fishermen tramping through the pools stirring up the bottom and such. There is no "too careful" when approaching the pool. To get them back rising they may need a few days of peace. Which is sometimes hard to find with so many warriors wading up and down the streams and rivers.

Stay out of the water as much as possible. Floating debris will spook them as will snapping branches underwater or grinding and knashing of stream bed rocks. Slow down, they are very sensitive to movements in and above the water. No big body movements. One poorly presented fly cast can ruin a pool for an hour or so. I have found fishing downn stream a little better as you can float and drift the fly into their zone on the current. But approach with caution as sound and debris travels down stream too.

If you see fish darting up and down past you. You can forget it for a while. Spooked fish can trigger a mas hysteria. One fish spooked below can go up or down to the next pool and put it's occupants on amber alert. Best advice I can give is to stay out of the water as much as possible. Approach pools from land or walking as close to the shore line as possible. If you try to cut corners getting to them they will know.
Whenever I go to a spot, I will usually sit and observe, have a puff, or change the fly, wait until I see fish rising before I wade out carefully and slowly. Even little ripples off your legs, can signal them something out of the ordinary is a foot.

Whether or not a big brookie hits your fly is ultimately out of your control. However all the stuff mentioned above is within your control. With them it's an accumulation of all the details. If you give them the respect they deserve they are more likely to strike. Think like a great blue heron. Ever watch one of them get into position? Masters of stealth and stalk.

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Last edited by noreaster; 07-14-2013 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:28 PM
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Default Re: What's the Deal with Native Brookies

Most of my fishing is for brook trout. OK....I live and fish in just about the best region in the world for brook trout. There are no perch, bluegill, bass etc in my region. 90% of the lakes and streams only have brook trout....no other fish species so the trout must eat insects and the occasional amphibian or animal. Yes....the fishing is easy However, finding large trout over 15 inches is difficult because the past fishing practices have reduced the number of large trout and this part of the population of trout has been replaced by smaller trout. In effect, the capacity of the habitat to support trout has remained the same (about 14 kg per hectare) but the average size has diminished while the overall population has increased. This is due to the fact that people kept the larger trout and released the smaller trout.

Anyway, most of the time, the fishing for brook trout is fast and furious. A 20 trout limit can sometimes take less than 30 minutes.

Other times, the trout won't touch anything. When I do any stream fishing and I have caught a few trout from one spot yet I know that there are other fish in that same spot, I change my fly to something completely opposite of what I was using. So that small dark nymph is changed for a large lighter coloured dry fly or nymph. After a while, it's best to move and come back a few hours later.

Brook trout spend all their time fleeing from enemies so any vibration (footsteps) or visible movement will spook them.
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Old 07-14-2013, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: What's the Deal with Native Brookies

Anything orange they will violently consume. I caught the snot out of them in The Smokies with a orange humpy. They were very very eager to eat the fly.
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