08/08/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (See Below)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies - Summer Stones
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Ants
6.    Inchworms
7.    Beetles
8.    Grasshoppers
9.    Hellgrammite
10.  Cranefly
11.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
12.  Cream Cahills

Spawning Brown Trout - Part 5

I am repeating the following part of this paragraph from yesterday's article. Redds
are made by the female in gravel and small pebbles located in shallow water about
a foot deep. You can spot the spawning brown trout in the tail-outs of pools and
shallow water riffles with slow to moderately moving water. The preferred areas will
have gravel that ranges from about the size of a peanut to a pecan. The redds look
much like the other similar nearby bottom areas but they will be cleaner and brighter.

These are the areas you want to avoid stepping in or dragging your feet through.
You can damage the redds whether eggs have been deposited or not. The problem
many anglers have is that if they spot the brown trout, male, female or both, they
have a difficult time ignoring them and leaving them alone to spawn. This is
especially true when the female is about twenty-five inches long. You will see
pictures of large brown trout caught from redds in the Smokies along with the
smiling face of the anglers that caught them.

I have never tried to catch a brown trout from a redd. I have seen plenty of them on
their redds and some very large ones in the streams of the Smokies. I cannot
provide any details of how they react to flies and how you go about trying to catch
them and furthermore, if I knew for certain, I wouldn't tell anyone. I wouldn't want to
contribute any information to anyone that would fish for them. I have caught plenty
of other species of fish when they were spawning. I have caught hundreds of very
large bass in Florida that were spawning but I haven't done so in over thirty years.
At the time, It was very popular and I was very proud of the large bass I caught. Now
I'm not. At the time, I considered it a sport I was far better at than most others. I
would often come back to a fish camp on the St. John's River in Florida with several
large bass when others and their guides wouldn't have any or maybe just a few. I
was often followed but when they spotted me out of the boat wading with the large
alligators always present, most of them were spooked away.

I feel like I probably know as much as anyone about that. I worked on the fine details
of that for a few years. First of all, it isn't all that easy to do. Catching them just prior
to the spawn is usually fairly easy but they are not usually easy to catch from the
beds as such. You will read and hear of guys catching large bass from their beds
using shinners. Those fish may have been about to spawn, but they most likely
were feeding heavily just prior to the spawn. A bass on its bed, male or female, want
eat anything as a general rule. They will attack it, kill it and move it (blow) off the
bed but not eat it. The male bass, which is normally small, will be the first one to do
so. He may be the only one there because he builds the bed. Often when she first
arrives, she is close by but not actually on the bed. In this case, you first have to
catch the little male. I have caught males less than 12 inches long off beds with
twelve pound female mates. Catching the males is usually more difficult than
catching the female because he is much quicker at crunching and blowing the bait
or lure out. In Florida, the main enemy is the bull head minnow. Most of them are
about two inches long. If you release the little male, nine out of ten times he will go
right back on the bed. Once he is caught, the female (if he has one yet) will usually
come on the bed within a few minutes. It may take several minutes depending on
how much you have disturbed the water.

I'll stop here because if anything this would only serve to encourage others to try to
catch spawning brown trout, although I am not sure they react the same way at all. I
would guess they probably do but again, I have never tried fishing for them on their
redds. I'm sure there are plenty of guys that have.

It's not illegal to catch spawning trout from the redds in Great Smoky Mountains
National Park - that is, if you can. You have to make that judgement for yourself. It's
very unsportsmanlike to do so in my opinion and I believe most angler's would
agree with me The areas in many streams (national-wide) where brown trout spawn
are off limits to anglers during the spawning season. Some streams are closed to
fishing during the prime brown trout spawning season. I don't think the managers of
those waters would do that if they didn't think fishing affected the spawn.

Now jumping on to the post-spawn brown trout spawning season, I'll make a couple
of points. First of all, this means anytime after the trout have spawned but generally
means the first few days or month. Technically, I guess it could mean up until the
time they are about to spawn the following year.  You will read and hear guys talk
about how the trout will feed heavily after the spawn. They contend the fish are tired
and hungry and that is a great time to catch them. This is not exactly right. In fact,
immediately after the spawn, for a least a day or two, the fish won't eat anything. It's
usually about a week before those trout begin to feed heavily.

PS: Regarding our local North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee tailwaters,
excluding the South Holston River, catching the spawning brown trout shouldn't hurt
anything if the fish are released unharmed because the eggs will not hatch anyway.
I don't see anything wrong with fishing for them when they are spawning.


Copyright 2010 James Marsh