The Brown Trout-Video

by Fly Fisherman

The Brown Trout


(Salmo fario)

ORIGINAL HABITAT AND PRESENT RANGE.—Since being introduced into the United States from Europe in 1884 this fish has found its way into the waters of every state except Florida, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas. It has been reported in the waters of some of these states, but according to conservation officials no authentic reports have been received. It is also found in many parts of Canada.


FAMILY.-It belongs to the salmon family of fish, and there are two species of brown trout: the German brown trout and the Loch Leven. It is very difficult to tell one fish from the other because of their similarity.

GENERAL LINES, COLOR, ETC.—The general lines of the brown trout are very similar to that of the brook trout except that it may have a more slender body. It has larger scales. The color, of course, is different and is inclined to a dark brown on the upper portion of the body merging into a lighter shade toward the lower body. The overmarkings are larger red spots than on the brook trout, and a series of black spots with pale yellowish borders are intermingled with the red spots. Both the red and black spots appear on the dorsal fin. The fins are of the same type as the other trout.

SizE.—The brown trout has a natural tendency to grow larger than brook trout. If in waters where there is sufficient food and range it may attain a weight of twelve pounds or more, although the average size is about ten inches in length. .

USUAL WATERS INHABITED.-It prefers larger waters than the brook trout—waters where there are plenty of rocks, submerged logs, treetops, and overhanging banks. It may lie in the deep pools or in the swift water during the summer months but when feeding is usually in the faster water. It will live in much warmer water than the brook trout and has replaced the brook trout in many of the lowland streams.

Habits.—When this fish attains a size from fifteen to eighteen inches he becomes more suspicious and usually seeks cover during the day. If the water is a little colored these bigger fish will emerge from their hiding, taking their places in the fast water to await the food that may float along. If the water remains low and clear these big fellows pick some sheltered spot where they can survey the entire pool.
The destructive tendencies of this fish have nearly exterminated the brook trout from many of our fine mountain and meadow streams. These big fellows will devour a good-sized brook trout as readily as they will swallow a small fly. For this reason alone many fishermen have cursed its introduction into American waters. Yet on the other hand many fishermen prefer it to the brook trout because of its durability and ability to withstand the warmer waters where it seems to thrive very well.

FOOD AND FEEDING HABITS.—While it feeds either day or night it is very largely a night feeder. The feeding habits and type of food consumed are almost identical to those of the other trout.

SPAWNING.—The spawning habits are also very similar to the brook trout as to time of year, number of eggs, place of spawning, etc.

ARTIFICIAL PROPAGATION.—The artificial propagation iS carried on in the same manner as the other trout. However, brown trout are not usually stocked in waters where brook trout predominate, at least not by the conservation authorities.

FISHING AND LURES.—The brown trout is a very wise and crafty fish. When the water is extremely clear it takes a very careful fisherman to catch this fellow. It will rise to either the wet or dry fly and when feeding on the surface is very selective as to the type of flies it feeds upon. Many a fly fisherman has sat on the stream bank in disgust because he cannot raise the brown trout to any type of fly he has regardless of the intensive feeding of the fish. Many large brown trout are taken on the streamer flies or the fly-andspinner combination. This is particularly true when the stream is rising or flowing heavily. Even the lowly angleworm—the "garden hackle" as it is termed by the fly fisherman—is an excellent bait when the stream is rising, especially if the stream happens to be dirty because of rain.

SPORTING VALUE.—Although this fish is one of the most temperamental of all trout it furnishes excellent sport for all trout fishermen. Many fishermen prefer it because of its temperamental qualities because they like to outwit the big brown trout if possible. It is a relentless fighter when hooked and may rush upstream or downstream without warning. If there happens to be any submerged treetops in the pool where the fish is hooked the chances are very good that the big trout will make quick headway to cover if possible.

LOCAL NAMES.—Local names often applied are German trout, Loch Leven, VonBehr trout, and brownie.

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