Some thoughts on brown trout

Print Article

My favorite trout are brown trout.

Unfortunately, we have to travel out of the Flathead Valley to find some.

Brown trout were introduced into North America in l883 and first appeared in Montana in 1889 in the Madison River.

I’ve caught a bunch in the Bitterroot, Clark Fork, Madison, Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers and catching brownies on Rock Creek during the salmon fly hatch is an annual eagerly anticipated fishing trip.

Twice this September I got skunked on brown trout on Rock Creek. I’ve watched them spawn in extremely shallow upper Rock Creek tributaries in November. Both experiences make me wonder why brown trout spawn in the fall, rather than spring—like rainbows and cutthroat—when river flows are higher.

So I asked my friend Jim Vashro, retired FWP Region One fisheries manager.

“It’s interesting how species parcel out habitat”, said Vashro. “Good spawning sites are at a premium on most streams. In some streams browns spawn in the same spots as bull trout, but a month later. Fall flows are generally more stable than spring. Eggs don’t get stranded as long as there are groundwater flows. Fish really key in on groundwater. During winter good spawning sites are often ice free. With cold water, the eggs incubate a lot longer, probably not hatch until February or March maybe emerge in April.”

Casting streamers for brown trout can provide some of the most exciting fly fishing of the year, if you can find the fish.

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

Follow Rock Creek fish study online

February 13, 2019 at 8:13 am | Hungry Horse News About 10 years ago I got re-acquainted with Rock Creek, east of Missoula. I had fished Rock Creek many times in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but not until my daughter and son-in-law lived there did I fish the...

Comments

Read More

Whitefish Lake falls to near record low levels

January 30, 2019 at 8:14 am | Hungry Horse News Whitefish Lake is known to fluctuate throughout the year dropping in winter, but a recent measurement of the lake’s water level show it approaching the record all-time low level. The lake was 0.3 i...

Comments

Read More

Wilderness speaker series starts up in February

January 30, 2019 at 8:19 am | Hungry Horse News The annual Wilderness Speaker Series is at the Flathead Valley Community’s College’s Art and Technology Building, in room 139. Lectures are February through April, from 7 to 8:15 p.m. There is no cha...

Comments

Read More

Forest plan record of decision released

January 30, 2019 at 8:18 am | Hungry Horse News Like Glacier National Park, the Flathead National Forest is once again in business after the longest government shutdown in history. A key document that was delayed by the shutdown has been released...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2019 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X