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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Dorsal view of a Skwala (Perlodidae) (Large Springfly) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
This Skwala nymph still has a couple months left to go before hatching, but it's still a good representative of its species, which was extremely abundant in my sample for a stonefly of this size. It's obvious why the Yakima is known for its Skwala hatch.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
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Spring Mills, PA

Posts: 97
IEatimago on Oct 27, 2007October 27th, 2007, 9:52 am EDT
i have a question about these two species,
do brown trout strike flies with more aggression than brook trout?
or keep the fly in their mouth longer?
for some reason i was having a really hard time setting the hook for some brookies, they would spit the fly almost as soon as they hit it, but the same fly when hit by a brown would give me no trouble and this happened several times?
or was it coincidence?

West's profile picture
Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Posts: 46
West on Oct 27, 2007October 27th, 2007, 3:24 pm EDT
I would say that brookies are definitely the spunkier of the two species, or so it seems to me. My friend AftonAngler describes them well when he calls them "little ninjas." I laughed when he said that, but it's true. They're like energetic little pike smolts when they're in the mood, albeit a little prettier.

Although I have had 7" brookies give me more trouble than browns twice their size, so their normally feisty attitude can't always be taken for granted when it comes to decieving them.

As far as the hookset goes, I've had days where I hook maybe 1/6 of the brook trout that strike my fly (or even less). I would suggest slowing up on the little ninjas, letting them get a good mouthful of your fly. I guess you'll just have to experiment!

Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Oct 27, 2007October 27th, 2007, 4:47 pm EDT
It probably depends on many variables. Sometimes smaller fish will spit a hook much faster than a bigger fish. Are the brookies smaller than the browns you are used to catching? Also, small fish may have trouble with big bushy flies. Even so, I prefer bigger flies with brookies, since on lightly pressured waters they may try hard to swallow a smaller fly and get it hooked in the gills.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Spring Mills, PA

Posts: 97
IEatimago on Oct 27, 2007October 27th, 2007, 5:01 pm EDT
yes the brooks would be bait for the browns i'm used to ,
i was using a #19 caddis this particular day that got me frustrated.

thanks for your input and advise.
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Dano on Oct 28, 2007October 28th, 2007, 1:20 am EDT

As Louis suggests their are many variables. However, I wouldn't characterise Browns being more "aggresive" on their takes than Brookies, I think "decisive" would be the better word.

Sounds to me what you were experiencing is what most would call "short striking"...Brookies and Rainbows generally make slashing type strikes. In other words, they start to turn away from the fly a split second before the take. And that's why the majority of your hooked Brookies and 'Bows will be at the corner of the jaw.

In effect, a short strike is a fish rejecting the offering at the last possible moment. I suspect that the wings of your caddis flies were (are) tied too long which caused the short strikes by the Brookies. Brookies are much easier to catch than Browns (they'll go after damn near anything) and that's why I make the above deduction. It could be that your timing was off that day as well. Concentration is key, when you see the flash of the sides, strike! This is not a "hard" strike just a simple raising of the rod tip. Because the fish is going "away" from the offering, it hooks itself. With practice, it become almost instinctive. FWIW.


Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.

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