A Fish Friday Surprise: a 17″ Brown Trout

My wife is out of town, and with kid duty this afternoon, I decided to fish for a little bit after lunch. I worked a local freestone. It’s not a big piece of water, and I view it as a large stream.

I was landing some chubs and browns and decided to work some new water. “Gee,” I wondered, “could there be a big trout at that spot?” I was looking at some shallow water at the head of the run.

The water was broken at the surface and the spot just looked fishy to me. It looked like a place where an alpha trout would hold in order to get first dibs on food going by.

I cast my nymph. I felt the line tighten slightly and set the hook.

Boom! We were off to the races.

Eventually, this 17″ holdover brown trout came to the net.

I took a few pictures of its head, as I hear that’s how you identify fish, via the locations of spots. So, I’m hoping to catch this fish again, now that I know where it lives.

I wedged the net among some rocks and let the fish just chill out. As I’ve written before, I keep fish in the water and don’t handle them much. I pretty much sat there in complete awe of nature’s beauty and how blessed I am to see such a lively and beautiful trout. I’m a very lucky guy.

Here are some more pictures. A happy Friday to all!

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11 thoughts on “A Fish Friday Surprise: a 17″ Brown Trout

  1. Well done on that beautiful brown trout. I have a small stream not far from my house and I checked out a prominent bridge pool last evening. No time to fish, but I wanted to see if anything was swimming around. There were several large browns cruising which made me wonder, did the state put them in that big or did the recent stocking bring these big ones out of their lair to hunt the stockies?

    1. That's a great question and I think it's tough to know. Here's why.

      Trout over 15" get most of their calories from feeding on other fish. Also, browns are more sensitive to sunlight. So, large browns tend to be nocturnal hunters.

      So, given that, I'm not sure as to what you saw. Perhaps newly-stocked fish, or big browns starting their evening hunt (they tend to start the prowl an hour before dusk)? An exception would be a rainy day. Baitfish can become confused in such conditions and big browns will come out then.

    2. Also, big browns will feed if there's a pronounced bug hatch. There were quite a few caddis and midges popping off today, and I'm suspecting that is why the brown I caught was open to a nymph. It was in pretty shallow water at the head of the run, which is a feeding lie and not a holding lie (e.g., slower water among underwater structure such as logs and tree branches).

    3. Indeed hard to say. They were mostly underneath the bridge or in the shadow of it. There are nice brush piles both up and downstream of the bridge. Whether they came out of there to hunt or were stocked by the state is an unknown. They were big to be sure – 18" I would say.

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