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Page 313

Brown Trout

The brown trout (Salmo trutta) is actually a European immigrant, transplanted to the United States late in the last century. Its present range includes the Northeast and down through the Appalachians, the upper Midwest, and the mountainous regions of the West. The hardiest of all trout species, browns can withstand comparatively impure and warm water. In fact, brown trout have taken over many rivers and lakes in the U.S. that, because of pollution, tree cutting, and other human impacts, can no longer support native brook trout.

Brown trout can be difficult to catch and so can grow to spectacular sizes, especially in large waters such as some Great Lakes. Average size depends on the habitat: from ^ to 2 pounds in rivers, and double that in still waters. Larger specimens are very often taken in both water types.

For all the difficulty in getting them to hit your bait or lure, brown trout eat a wide variety of organisms: aquatic and terrestrial insects, crustaceans, small fish (even their own young), frogs, and mice. The challenge in catching brown trout is twofold: They are highly nocturnal creatures, and they can be very selective when a particular food source presents itself in abundance, such as mayflies or stoneflies during a hatch.

The best lure and bait choices for brown trout depend entirely on the habitat and the time of year. Generally, live bait, such as garden worms and small minnows, and artificials, such as spinners and small spoons, work well, especially early and late in the year in rivers and smaller lakes. Flyfishermen do well with nymphs and streamers in early spring and move to wet and dry flies when insect hatches occur. In large lakes and reservoirs, fishing live baitespecially the prominent forage type, such as smeltwill take browns, as will trolling crankbaits and spoons imitating the forage.

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