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How to Catch Giant Brown Trout During King Salmon Spawn in the Great Lakes

King salmon in the Great Lakes region are about to flood the tribs to spawn, which means the brown trout will be feasting on the salmon eggs. Most anglers target the kings, giving you a good shot at big browns lurking behind the salmon.

The Flies
Your egg patterns should be sizes 12 to 16, and natural colors such as peach and cream work best. Nymphs are deadly now, too. When a female king clears away gravel for the eggs, her tail kicks up a lot of the bugs in the gravel. Keep Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails, and other natural-color patterns in your box.

The Rig
In these clear, shallow streams, light tippet—5X or 6X—is essential. Small indicators will keep from spooking browns, which become increasingly skittish and finicky as fall approaches. A simple two-fly rig with a 12- to 18-inch dropper and little to no split shot should do the trick. Switch between two eggs, an egg and nymph, or two nymphs until you find the combo that works best.

The Trick
The browns should be right on the lip of or within the grooves on gravel beds. And they won’t shy away from the kings. Some will move right behind a female and start sucking down eggs as they’re released. In water this clear and shallow, the trout are easy to see—and spook. Keep a low profile and cast tightly behind the kings so your flies tumble along the gravel with the eggs. And keep moving: If the trout aren’t biting, go upstream until you find some that are.

 

From the August 2012 issue of Field & Stream magazine.

Photography by Barry & Cathy Beck

Comments (2)

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

As long as anglers aren't wading through Salmon Redds, and snagging salmon as they often do.

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from Mark Orlicky wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Different tactic. Everyone should remember that one of the two world record brown trout (they're tied) was caught in the Mannistee River in Michigan. Tom Healy was fishing a Rapala Shad Rap, thinking he was going to catch a nice King Salmon. Instead, he got a 41 pound Brown that was following the Kings up the river.
Just get out there and fish!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

As long as anglers aren't wading through Salmon Redds, and snagging salmon as they often do.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark Orlicky wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Different tactic. Everyone should remember that one of the two world record brown trout (they're tied) was caught in the Mannistee River in Michigan. Tom Healy was fishing a Rapala Shad Rap, thinking he was going to catch a nice King Salmon. Instead, he got a 41 pound Brown that was following the Kings up the river.
Just get out there and fish!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment