Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Brown Trout

Fishing for Brown trout during the spring can be unpredictable. Spring Browns are Brown trout that ran the previous fall, and wintered over. The quality of the spring fishing depends heavily on how good that falls run was. Winter river conditions, water flows and ice also plays a big role. We will often not know for sure what the fishing will be like until late winter or early spring.
We all know how low the rivers were last fall, at first I did not expect much for this spring. However late in the fall we got the rains we needed and we enjoyed some good fishing. Fortunately both the water flows and water temperatures held up long enough so enough Brown trout could disperse throughout the river. Despite all of this I was not sure if the Browns would spawn and leave, or if there will be enough water flow for the Browns to migrate far enough up river and be able to spend the winter.
During a normal year Brown trout will slowly work their way up river. This can take a typical Brown trout as long as two weeks to go just seven to 10 river miles. Once the Browns finish spawning, they will immediately go back to the feeding. For Brown trout this means simply to drop back into the pools and start feeding on stray eggs. As the spawning activity dies down the Brown trout diet will shift to minnows. What is happening now at this time is cooling water temperatures are sending minnows such as Creek chubs into there winter habitat. Ironically for both the Brown trout and the Creek chubs this is also the same pools. As a result many of the Browns that ran last fall will find plenty of food in the river and they end up staying for the winter. Like I have said foods good, comfortable commendations, why leave?
Next question is: how long do these Brown trout stay in the river? During a normal spring we will start back at fishing for the Browns once the ice clears out, and continue until late March. Normally by then water temperatures are starting to warm up and the minnows that the Browns were feeding on are starting to spread out. The warmer water temperatures also accelerate the Browns metabolism. I believe it is these two factors that will finally send the Browns back out to the Lake.
This spring is obviously not a normal spring. Spring weather is running at least two weeks behind normal, so much for global warming. Normally by now all of our ponds, lakes and reservoirs are ice free. By the way the weather is looking it is going to be at least one more week possibly two be for any of this ice melts. For comparisons normally by now water temperatures would be in the upper 30s for the Oak Orchard River, for Sandy Creek water temperatures would be in the lower to mid 40s. Right now both rivers are running at 31 to 32 degrees and the rivers still have snow melt runoff.

I have days still open in the first two weeks of April. This is prime time for Oak Orchard and Sandy Creek, if you are interested give me or the shop call at 585-352-4775

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