Quest for a Brown

Greg Armstrong

In all the years I've fished in this state, I've never caught a brown here. I've never targeted them though, and usually fish where they don't exist.
But I've been on a sort of lazy quest for one just for fun lately, so I decided to try a nearby lake that is reported to hold some of them.
So I spent 3 hours late this afternoon in the 'toon trying all kinds of things. There was no surface activity at all today, even though it was dead calm, and a rise would have been easy to see. It was one of those cold, leaden looking days on the water where you begin to wonder if there's any life at all left over from summer and early fall when it was so obvious that there was. It just looked dead.
I tried different depths, retrieves, and flies with only one soft take (or was it just a sunken leaf bumping the fly).
It was getting cold and darkness was settling in, so I decided to begin the 3/4 mile row back to the launch, trolling as a last ditch effort - just because. I had a full sink line and a big woolly bugger dragging pretty fast behind me when it happened. Big bounce to the rod and I was into an obviously heavy fish. Seemed to be a really nice one, and it pulled line off the reel for three or four nice runs - but it never jumped or thrashed on the surface as a rainbow is apt to do so I figured it HAD to be my brown. It seemed to be hooked well and was finally beginning to tire and as I drew it near near to the starboard side in that leaden water that I couldn't quite see down into, it gave a series of big head shakes - and slipped the hook and was gone. I was never quite able to see it.
The quest continues...

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
Late evening, hard pulling runs with no jump; probably a brown but might not be. When is the next attempt scheduled?


Active Member
Browns, I never really targeted them until the last two or three years. This summer I fished East lake and caught a bunch with indicators and dries but I have found this isn't the norm.

Speed trolling really works for these chasing addicts! I was at a creek inlet and wasn't catching anything with a normal retrieve and had to rip a bunch of line back to lift and cast, when I ripped it fast about 5 browns came chasing the bugger at full speed! Lifted a school of them. so next cast hit the water and I stripped as fast as I could -SLAM, fish on!

Reports from Wickiup this fall were that the guide I know said they had to strip big steamers "AS FAST AS THEY COULD" to get any kind of take from 18 to 27 inch browns. To speed troll I use my #55 thrust electric and switch between run 3 and 4 which is pretty darn fast. My friend and I are going to a Washington lake that has browns and that will be our first technique for the day - "SPEED TROLLING" just outside a wide flat. even when casting sinking lines I have found they like a real fast strip. Good luck next time out!!!
WFF trip Crane prairie 033.jpg


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
Not sure where in Pugetropolis you are located, but Spanaway lake now has a nice population of browns.
You can also rent a boat there that let's you really explore the lake.

Greg Armstrong

It sounds like if I want a Washington Brown I'll need to strip faster, row harder, do it just before dark, and do it now!
Although I'm not in a rush to accomplish this goal, it sounds as if now is the right time to do it. With work, weather and other fisheries I like to occupy my time with this time of year (that are slowly winding down now) - I will just have to get after a brown again when I can.

Tim - it was the WB lake you mentioned that I was at. I'll PM you and inquire about the above mentioned book as well.

Thanks to everyone here who provided all the great tips and encouragement - as well as your generosity. A great group we have here!

I've caught browns in Ca and Nevada (east slope of the Sierras - a fantastic trout mecca BTW) as well as in Montana and Wyoming, but a Brown from my home state would be special!

Thanks all. When I get one, I'll post a pic.'!
They're not too common, even on the eastside, but they're around if you know where and when too look. They're more of a novelty than anything, and the brown run I chase the most, fish and game is doing it's damned best to shock out and eradicate. In the name of native redbands. I see what side their bread is buttered on, but they ask where exactly I find mine. I tell them the Columbia(I'm not lying).

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