Commonly found in freshwater habitats, trouts are fish species from the Salmonid family found in different continents and valued as game and food. Trouts are also known for their nutritional value and ability to adapt to different environments.
They are closely related to salmon, also in the Salmonid family, and are often raised in hatcheries and ponds before being transferred to habitable water bodies.
How to Catch Big Brown Trout
Types of Trouts
There are about eleven to fourteen different types of trouts.
- Rainbow trout: Known for its many colors, the rainbow trout can be found on the Pacific coast, North America, and Alaska.
- Tiger trout: They are created by a cross between a male brook trout and a female brown trout. They are hardly found in the wild, are sterile, and do not produce eggs. Against their golden-like colored body are black spots that earn them their name.
- Dolly Varden: This species can be found in North America, Japan, and Siberia. The most telling character of the Dolly Varden is that they do not weigh over ten pounds.
- Brook trout: Brook trout are the smallest of the Trout species with work-like markings at the back and head, with white edges found on their lower fins
- Bull trout: Bull trout are one of the rarest fish species in North America. They can be found in Alberta, Washington, British Columbia, and Oregon.
- Lake trout: This species can grow to be more than seventy (70) pounds and are found in deep waters. They are native to Canada, Alaska, and the Northeastern portion of the US.
- Golden trout: Found in high-altitude freshwater lakes and rivers, the golden trout is golden in color with reddish-orange stripes on the sides of their body.
- Apache trout: They have an olive-yellow body with a golden belly. They live in smaller streams and are one of the two native species in Arizona.
- Marble trout: The marble trout can only be found in a handful of drains and places like Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro.
- Cutthroat trout: The red-yellow coloring under the lower jaw of this species is what gives it its name. They are found in the western parts of the United States, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific coast.
- Brown trout: Although the color of brown trouts differs according to where they are found, one of their identifiable features is that they look like Atlantic salmon. The typical brown trout has red-orange spots around it with a silver ring.
How to identify a brown trout
Brown trouts vary in appearance, depending on where they are found, but most brown trouts have a golden-brown to olive-green coloring on top, creamy or golden-yellow coloring on the sides, and an off-white along with their tails.
They also have red-orange, black spots along their sides, dorsal fins, and sides. The spots have a pale, silvery ring around them.
Their tails have fewer or no spots as compared to other trout species. Brown trout that spend their lives in hatcheries will show signs of wear and tear on their gills, while those living in the wild will have fins in good conditions.
Brown trouts can grow up to twenty (20) pounds in size. However, the average length of most brown trouts is around twelve (12) to fifteen (15) inches.
Spawning begins from late October to November. The average female brown trout lays from 500 to 1,000 eggs, depending on its size. Using their tail, they make a nest at the bottom of the gravel for their eggs to stay.
The fertilized eggs remain in the gravel space until they are hatched and begin to feed. Brown trouts can live many years spawning, and they often do it near the same place. Brown trouts are also the most aggressive of all the trout species.
Where can I find brown trout?
Brown trout is considered a native species in Iceland, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. They can be found in cold-water mountain streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. They can also thrive in freshwater and saltwater bodies.
Adaptable trout have been introduced to several other parts of the world and in every continent except Antarctica, where they cannot survive and eventually go extinct.
Where can I find big brown trouts?
Rivers famous for the presence of large brown trouts include; the Yampa, Colorado, the Madison.
However, you will be competing with other anglers who are either fishing for sport or food purposes.
Instead, you can also find big brown trouts in your local stream. To find a large brown, here are some things you need to watch out for:
The structure: Walk around the river and look for things like; Cut bank, Rootball, Eddies, Fallen logs, deep pool behind large rocks.
When trouts get big, they eat other fish. As big fishes can claim their spots and build niches in a particular place, brown trouts would want to choose an area where there are enough fishes, so they don’t have to move around.
Cut banks allow them to move around in calm waters without being spotted by predators. Fallen logs and root balls give them enough cover to hide. In pools and eddies, they are more active, chasing prey, feeding on anything that comes across their path, and more in number.
How to catch big brown trouts
- Find a water body where big fishes have enough food supply: Examples are lakes and rivers that do not freeze in wintertime. Small lakes and rivers might produce big trouts, but it is better to take your chances where the water is deeper because where there is an abundance of food all-round the seasons, you are sure to find big brown trouts.
- Avoid areas where there are large trouts predators: Fishes such as walleye, muskets, and bass are predatory fishes that feed on trouts.
- Study the right time for fishing: It is advisable to fish early in the morning and late in the evening. When the sun comes out in the morning, they can see their prey clearly and begin their hunt for food. Late in the evening, they become aggressive and active, swimming around looking for their food source. During midday, when the sun is hot, they find shade and are less active.
- Find out what they eat: Trouts are attracted to live bait and lure that blend in with the color of their environment. Examples of bait for brown trouts are scrub worms, minnows, mud eyes, grasshoppers, nightcrawlers, and black cricket. Brightly colored lures are attractive to brown trouts. They are also attracted to spinners, minnow plugs, and jerk baits.
Use lures of black, blue, and violet when fishing at night or in deep waters.
Is fly fishing effective for brown trout?
Fly fishing is the use of an artificial fly or lightweight lure to catch a fish. The lures are made to look like small insects or prey that a fish would want to eat. It is typically done in moving water.
Some fishermen engage in fly fishing as a form of challenging sport to see how well they perform in terms of difficulty and how many fishes they can reel in.
The artificial fish used can be made from animal pieces, spoons, soft plastics, jigs, spinnerbaits, plugs, etc. Fly fishing is ideal for trout because they mostly eat bugs.
How to fly fish for brown trouts
- Find the depths at which the fish are holding. This depends and varies on the light level, temperature, and insect hatcheries. After casting your flies, wait for about ten to twenty seconds to allow your fly to sink into the depths. Pull the line at intervals to see if you have any takes.
- Try to cover the whole area of water around you, not limiting your casting to the shallow part in front of you. Change your fly if you feel a different one can attract the trouts. Fanning out will help you cover as much distance as possible to increase your chances of getting any fish.
- Since trout do not have eyelids that can blink or pupils that can constrict, they tend to go deep underwater where the light is less glaring and stay there till late in the evening at sunset. If you are fishing during midday, it is advisable to fish deeper, or the trout might miss your fly.
- Use more than one fly when fishing. You might never know which fly might work to get fishes, so it’s better to get as many as possible; of different forms and colors. Most often, brown trouts go for flies with drab colors that blend with their natural environment.
- If you are using several flies on the same leader, you must leave plenty of room within them. A gap of about five feet between each fly is advisable.
- Big trouts tend to remain in the same place if there is enough food to eat. You stand a better chance of catching a fish if you move around every ten to fifteen minutes.
- Using a sinking line to fish deeper will make sure that your fly gets to the right depth, and it also changes the angle at which the fly will come back to the surface. The angle attracts the trout into following the fly at the end of your line.
- Apply stealth when fishing. Although most people do not consider this, trouts that reside in still water are often spooked by loud noises. You have to be careful not to make any loud noises without thinking of how it might affect the trout.
Are brown trouts good for eating?
Trouts are known to have nutrients in abundance. Small brown trout are best for eating, while larger Brown trout have an overpowering flavor which, while unsuitable for some, others seem to enjoy.
They are rich in meat, oil, Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, niacin, and vitamin B-12. Fishermen and seafood connoisseurs often recommend soaking brown trout fillets in milk overnight to pull some of the oil and excessive fish taste from the meat.
Traditionally, brown trouts have been cooked on a grill, flayed, or lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and natural spices. The abundance of flavor in the brown trout means it does not require much seasoning like other fish species.
Grilled brown trout recipes consist of concoctions that include butter, lemon juice, and herbs. They can also be wrapped in foil and cooked with potatoes and onions.
However, there are no exact methods of cooking Brown Trouts, so you can cook it in whatever way you want to suit your palette.
Release or keep brown trouts?
Catch and release improve the population of native fish species like the brown trout by allowing them to remain in the ecosystem, mate, reproduce and multiply.
If you are fishing for rearing, then you have to make sure you have a large pond with cold, clear, and oxygenated water so that they can grow and survive. However, if you are practicing the catch and release method, here are a few things you should take note of;
● The best way to release a fish is without touching it. Grab the fly with a clamp and twist it out. It is important to be cautious when doing this and avoid using regular pliers not to harm delicate small brown trouts.
● If you have to use your hands, make sure that they are not dry, so you do not rub off the protective slime covering the trout. Do not place it on its back or the ground either. Use a net with a soft rubber mesh bag.
● Do not stick your fingers into the gills, as fishes have delicate gills. Also, avoid squeezing the fish between your fingers, as this can cause injury to it. Instead, cradle the trout in both hands and allow the weight to be evenly distributed. Hold the fish in the water as much as possible when doing this, so the water helps to support the weight of the fish.
● When you revive trout, do it in a place where the water is cool and well oxygenated. When the trout regains its strength, do not just release it into fast water; instead, allow it to slip behind a rock or along a bank where the water current is shallow.
Facts about brown trouts
● A typical female brown trout produces from 500 to 1,000 eggs.
● Brown trout can reach the age of twenty (20) years.
● Brown trout eggs need a constant supply of cold, clean, and well-oxygenated water to survive.
● In some lakes, wave action can provide brown trouts with a spawning habitat.
● Brown trouts move from one lake or stream to another to spawn and in search of food.
● Salmon and trouts interbreed and produce hybrids.
● The fertility of female trouts increases in size but diminishes as they get older.
● The mortality rate of brown trout in their first year is around ninety (90) percent, falling to around forty (40) to sixty (60) percent in the subsequent years.
● They have teeth on the roof of their mouth, which is a distinguishable feature from salmon.
● Trouts are often selective about their mates. This is to give their offspring the traits and ability to adapt and resist diseases.
● Because of their adaptive behavior and qualities, Brown trouts have been divided into many other subspecies.
● Large trouts are natural predators and can eat large prey.
● Brown trouts have between thirty-eight (38) and forty-two (42) pairs of chromosomes.
Being one of the most common trout species, black trout are easy to fish, bait for game, and rear for personal or commercial purposes.
With all this information about brown trouts, it would be easy for you to go out there, to your local streams, lakes, or ponds, and fish to your heart’s content, knowing you have what it takes to catch a big brown trout.
You can also practice the catch and release method using the above guidelines to reduce the mortality rate present in these methods of trout fishing. Have the best time on your fishing trip!