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Old 05-20-2013, 08:01 AM
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Default where the big trout live

Hi all,

without jinxing myself (hopefully), I do pretty well in the local lakes and have even taken a few large fish for the lakes I fish, I generally enjoy the camaraderie of fishing with friends and/or family and the only reward (I C&R generally) is the bragging rights until the next trip and this generally is about how many not how big, though how big does have it's own plusses in the bragging rights category.

So, I got myself linked up with a friend to compete in a fishing tourney, and the grading for this tourney is "largest fish" not most fish. I am generally pretty good at finding the fish, and landing my share, but, I have never specifically tried to target the "biggest fish" in the lakes.

I believe, and I may be wrong, that the bigger fish tend to hang deeper, and go after the more substantial offerings, including wounded smaller fish, but in lakes where food is plentiful, it seems the bigger guys just tend to be deeper in the same locations where the other fish are - sinking lines, flies a size or two larger than what is hatching, and a little luck have been what I have used in the past to catch some decent sized trout in our local lakes, but I am sure there is more. I am aware of using the channels (where the streams enter the lake), and structures (points, dropoffs, outcroppings, etc), and am not afraid of fishing in or near the weed beds.

So here is the question/request for this post: I was wondering if you would not mind passing along your experience and/or advice on targeting the bigger fish in western alpine lakes (6000 feet) and any techniques you use when specifically going after the bigger fish?

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:49 AM
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Default Re: where the big trout live

Looks like everyone is keeping their stillwater big fish tips to themselves huh?

OK, well, back in the day, bigfly and I would be discussing big flies for big fish, and fish em deep (at least an intermediate line)

Denny Rickards would say, seal bugger or one of his other top 5 stillwater flies

Brian Chan would say, chironomids or shrimp under an indicator

I plan on fishing my peacock and mallard or another variant of this pattern which uses some prism dubbing, damsels should be hatching so perhaps wiggle tails in various colors, and the black mini-leech is also one of my stillwater favorites.

Anyone else care to jump into the fray?

D
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:39 AM
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Default Re: where the big trout live

I still use an 8wt, with a Rio 300 gr. integrated running line.
Control depth with troll speed (fins, oars, etc....)
Tip twitch, tip twitch, Ad infinitum.......

Back in the day?......

Jim
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:56 PM
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Default Re: where the big trout live

It might be helpful to know what species you're targeting, and what are we considering as 'big.' In AZ, anything bigger than 18" is big, while in AK, that same fish is probably a minnow.

R.
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Old 05-22-2013, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: where the big trout live

18" is pretty large here too Rich, I very seldom fish lakes but........... when I do I tend to hang around the same areas where the trout spawn in early spring. We are not allowed to fish during the spawning season but the big fish tend to be hanging around the same areas into late June.

One reason I never became a still water angler (there are a few) is that it is so hard to locate the fish unless they are showing on the surface.

Good luck Dave
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: where the big trout live

Ranger, sorry, I guess I should mentioned rainbows as the target.

A big fish around here, in the lake I will be fishing can go over 20. My buddies and I routinely pull fish between 12 and 16 but we have also pulled a few 20s and one of my buds pulled a 24 out not too long ago.

Big Fly, sorry about the back in the day comment, good to see you posting on this one, sorry, had not seen anything from you in a while, of course, that may be my fault, I have only been on intermittently lately and I must admit I don't always read every post when I do get on. I am fishing a floater for midges and such, type I for the dropoffs - nymphs, leeches, wiggletails, etc, and a type VI for the deep water again leeches and buggers and wiggletails - oh my.

Ard, don't give us that 18 is big stuff, we have all seen the pictures of your monster fish

Curious bigfly, are you (or any of the other locals) fishing the Portola/Davis tourney this year? Just want to know if I gotta be careful and not give out too much info , or failing at that, curious if anyone is planning to meet up. I will probably tube and launch at jenkins, but I might break out the boat if its windy.

Dave
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:07 AM
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Default Re: where the big trout live

Dave,

In my experience big fish, even in still waters, are scared and lazy. By scared - I mean they don't come out of hiding very often. They don't leave their home area. They hang out under cliffs below the water, near underwater currents to bring them food. Try and find out the topography of the lake. Is it flat and muddy with some seaweed or is it rocky with several drop off points, large boulders, and the like? Is the water a reservoir with and inlet and out let?

But you already knew all that jazz...

Sometimes fishing is just fishing!

Randy
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: where the big trout live

Everyone's already said what needs to be said here, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents anyway.

My experience with catching large rainbows is limited, but big fish regardless of species have the same needs (cover, forage, access to deeper water, etc.). Also, keep in mind what another poster has already said about big fish being lazy. Larger fish are very efficient, feeding on pretty that's easy to capture, abundant, and high in calories. They also are adept at staking out a territory that gives them everything they need within a small space. And many times they will defend it, bullying other smaller fish out of their area. If you find a really 'fishy' spot, and don't find evidence of many fish, there's a chance that's because a really large fish owns that spot.

If it's still spring in NV as it is here in AZ, then your fish should be in shallower water (5-15 ft. depth), near an inflow such as a creek mouth, or perhaps patrolling some nearby main lake structure.

If there is a creek mouth with some current, I'd pick that over nearly any other type of structure. I'd cast across the creek bed at all angles with large streamers that might imitate anything from baitfish to crawdads. My usual strategy is to start at the bottom and work my way up to the surface. Near the bottom I tend towards slower retrieves, gradually increasing speed as I get nearer the surface.

I will use a sink tip deeper than 7-8 ft., floating line above that. Retrieves should be short sharp strips (trying to induce a 'predatory response) with several seconds of pause between to maximize your fly's time in the 'zone.'

Another tactic is to indicator fish (assuming some wind) a large streamer or two in the same area. I like tying A #8 simi seal leech in front of a #4/6 woolley bugger. If the smaller fish keep hitting the leech, I'll sub another large bugger. This kind of fishing is slow, but it can be very effective.

Hopper/dropper fishing shadelines early in the day can sometimes net you a big shallow feeding fish. Don't be afraid to give this rig a couple twitches if nothing hits it after 15 seconds or so. Also, sometimes using a double dry or double wet is your ticket. Think of the first fly as an attractor (bigger/brighter than necessary), with a more 'realistic' offering about 2 ft. behind. One of my favorites is a #6 purple hopper up front with a #16 stim or bwo behind. Many times I'll watch a fish swirl on the hopper, turn, and attack the trailing fly instead.

Lastly, don't be afraid to 'buck the tide.' If you fish subsurface for an hour and you're not getting the results you expect, try the opposite tack, just to keep the fish honest. Throw a dry to the bank for giggles. Or vice versa, of course. I switch it up this way when I first hit the water, 20 minutes of terrestrials, and then 20 of streamers, just to see where the fish are.

Anyway, that's about all I know about that, without getting really technical/mystical.

Peace.
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:10 PM
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Default Re: where the big trout live

If specifically big fish is what you are after and you dont mind going a while without a bite then i suggest going as big as you can mentally handle

What i mean is that big fish eat most during low light conditions and key in on prey that is much larger than normal trout. In stillwaters especially, as long as there is no incredibly prevalent hatch like midges or huge numbers of damsels, then large trout eat mostly fish. Im sure anyone who has spent a lot of time on the water has seen a large trout eat a 8-10 inch trout or chub or have one sticking out of their throat. Naturally, throwing a streamer that is 4-6 inches would get you a bigger bite and a number of surprisingly small fish too. My advice would be to chuck a large streamer (large enough that you question whether anything could actually eat it) and put it on a heavy sink tip. And be patient and be ready.

For largemouth throw a lot of huge swimbaits that are around 10-12 inches. I get a lot of funny looks but they dont talk too much when you land a 10lbr.

Also, some of the best spots will be anywhere with the steepest drop offs, long points or anywhere that a large fish can ambush prey.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:02 AM
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Default Re: where the big trout live

Thanks guys, as I said, I usually just fish and don't specifically target "big" fish, though I do occasionally get lucky. I appreciate all the comments and suggestions. Gonna head up this weekend and do a little scouting, have not fished this lake yet this year but have put a bit of time on this lake in the last 3. I have a pretty good idea what spots are "fishy" and know the lake fairly well. might take the boat out one day just to scope structure in areas I don't already know the bottom.

Again, thanks for the info and advice.

Dave
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