After the last of the ice has thawed and before the beginning of major inset activity, a narrow window of opportunity exists for the fly angler to tempt huge brown trout with large streamers. Here in our part of the country, the Midwest, this is normally during late May and early June.
As water temperatures begin increasing, so does the activity of the fish. When they emerge from their winter lethargy of low metabolism, they’re hungry and ready to eat. Smaller baitfish swimming near the river bank and shallows resume active feeding as well. They too are foraging, looking for anything and everything that might offer nourishment. The occasional subsurface eruption is a tell-tale signal that one has just met a swift, piscivorous end.
One thing you can almost always count on during this time of year is a fast moving weather front. Thunderstorms can come on quickly and wreak havoc if you’re not prepared. For this reason, I take advantage of the internet and the Weather Channel to help me choose fishing days least likely to be affected by weather. Despite all the forecasting in the world, sometimes I can still find myself in a precarious situation.
One day is seared into my memory and not likely to dissipate any time soon. I was out with friend and fellow streamer freak Brad Turner during springtime a number of years back. We weren’t on the water for half an hour before a fast moving weather front came in. A number of lightning bolts touching ground too close for our comfort drove us under cover. With our graphite rods judiciously placed against a tree yards away, we were set to wait it out. Rolling thunder turned into a loud CRACK that sounded like big-game rifle being fired right next to us. Having been caught in more than a few storms over the last 30 years, I’ve seen them come and go, but it’s impossible to be ready for that blinding streak of silver from above. This the big bang theory one nearly required a change of britches ! It did pass, but not before giving us an incredible light show and display of the power that mother nature has hidden in those clouds above.
Big Trout Condos
Big trout like to live where they feel safe. They also like to eat feed not too far from familiar surroundings.
Brush piles, downed trees, uprooted stumps, logjams, old docks, manmade stream improvements and deeply undercut, heavily rooted banks all qualify as home-sweet-home to an old, hook-jawed brown trout.
Occupying some of the heaviest cover the river has to offer, he doesn’t make himself easy to get at. When in search of food, he will venture from the comfort of structure to spots in the river where a feeding channel is close, but never more than a tail-kick away from the lumber and his safely zone. His home habitat is as familiar to him as your favorite living room recliner is to you. He knows exactly where he is and how to quickly get back to safety should the need arise.