If you’re looking for a supremely photogenic, fat, healthy brown trout, now’s the time to go get it. They’re staging for the spawn. Starting to move. Big Daddy is thinking about leaving the cover of that deep, stumpy pool he’s been hunkered down in all summer.
So how do you get him?
1) Fish a streamer first. Usually, I like to try dry flies, then maybe drop a nymph if that isn’t working, and then pound streamers along the bank if I feel like spending the energy. Not now. Now we lead with the streamer. Bug color depends on water color, but you can never go wrong with rusty brown (crayfish). Not too giant. Size 8 is usually perfect.
2) Fish sink tips. To work that streamer effectively, you need to get it down in the water column. But now is not the time for splashy, noisy gobs of weight (split shot) plinking in on every cast. Use the weighted line, and you’ll be much quieter. Cast less frequently as well.
3) Stay out of the river. At least as much as possible. You want to be working from upstream-down, and the only way to do that without literally stirring up the water and making noise/vibrations in the river, is to stay out of the water.
4) Avoid bright sun. Meaning, fish early and late, and if you are fishing in the middle of the day, don’t have the sun behind you where it will create long shadows on the water. Especially not moving (casting) shadows. In water that’s typically low and clear this time of year, the fish are particularly shadow shy.
5) Wear yellow lenses. I like yellow lenses when fishing early and late anyway, but the yellow also helps to pick out the orange-rust-dark profile of the brown trout, even the red dots sometimes. When I’m on a brown trout mission, I’m always wearing yellow shades. If you can see the fish before you cast, you can make a smarter plan, and your odds go up exponentially.