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Ok... In my usual contrarian (otherwise known as a**hole-ish) fashion, I've gotta ask: why the reverence and all the general hoo-hah towards brown trout? Many other introduced (is it hyperbole to say invasive?) species are fairly roundly hated, but the love-fest with browns just seems to roll along without anyone blinking an eye. Why?

Is it because they get big and aggressively take large streamers? We've got a native species for that; it's called the bull trout/dolly varden.

Are they super fighters? I've never fished for or caught a brown, but I'll take a rainbow or steelhead, thank you very much.

Are they easy to catch? Super-gorgeous? Widely distributed? Varied life cycle? Cutthroat, cutthroat, cutthroat, cutthroat.

Are they hard to catch, a real challenge for the serious flyfisher? Why not introduce Atlantics?

Help me out here, I truly don't get it, but would like to hear the arguments... why are we not encouraging elimination of this species from our waters, instead of celebrating them?
 

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retiredfishak
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This is a fly forum and no one here eats any trout, maybe the browns tastes like shit, I don't know if and when I catch one I'll throw it on the barbie or smoker and let you know,LOL
 

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Long Lost Member
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I'm not going to argue about it. I have never caught a brown trout. I want to. That is it. I have caught rainbows, cutthroat, kokanee, steelhead (mostly gear), spiny rays and a few others. There are a few fish on my list of ones I'd like to check out on the end of my fly line. A brown is one of those. I'm not celebrating that fish, just hoping to successfully target them. My father in law travels to Argentina regularly to fish for LARGE browns. Maybe I have trip envy? I think their coloration is as cool as many other fish, different, but still nice looking. Hell, I want to catch a bunch of whitefish and carp on flies too...hey, wait, aren't some browns sea run brownies that get really big? Are you not a sea run fanatic? You've got some splainin to do.
 
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I don't have a love affair with brown trout, however I do with big aggressive fish. Browns certainly fall in that category. I don't care what kind of fish they are. If at the end of the fight my wrist is sore a little, I like that.

That being said, why are you so passionately flustered by this supposed "love" of browns that others have when you yourself admit you haven't caught one? I can tell you this, if you do get the chance to catch a big one, and do, you might have a better understanding.

I'm confused a bit by your post. You seem to honestly want to know what the big deal is, and then at the same time sound almost pissed. Why not just ask the question instead of coming across like your "above" doing so, or upset that others "love" to.

I don't know, maybe I read it wrong. If so, my bad.
 

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"Chasing Riseforms"
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I pretty much agree with you Sea Run. I can't say they have given me that much of a thrill, although a number have. They don't seem to give up easily, especially the big boys, although, on the other hand, I have caught many whimpy browns and told myself I wouldn't go back for more. I'll take a rainbow any day over a brown. Not sure why Fish and Wildlife started putting these in the lakes in Washington...... never made sense to me. Must have been some pressure from various fly clubs I suppose. They can be a challenge fly fishing for them, although sometimes not. Rainbows are not dummies and can be very picky. Give me rainbows!
 

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I don't have the fascination for brown trout like many do.Yeah, the big browns with the yellow bellies and no spots below the lateral line are cool looking but I don't plan my trips around trying to catch a trophy brown. I think people go gaga over them for a variety of reasons. They are considered to be the wariest, most difficult trout to catch, big browns are pretty rare around here, especially in streams, they are more active at dusk and night, they have a long history and tradition dating back to Europe, and people love to fish streamers in the fall during their spawning migration.

At least in Washington, brown trout have never made a big impact to the anadromous fish population because they are pretty rare in moving water accessible to the ocean. I have caught less than 50 browns with only a few breaking the 20 inch mark. With each brown landed, I do get a small sense of satisfaction. But I certainly don't go loco for them.

My buddy calls them "Kraut Trout", without much affection.
 
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I pretty much agree with you Sea Run. I can't say they have given me that much of a thrill, although a number have. They don't seem to give up easily, especially the big boys, although, on the other hand, I have caught many whimpy browns and told myself I wouldn't go back for more. I'll take a rainbow any day over a brown. Not sure why Fish and Wildlife started putting these in the lakes in Washington...... never made sense to me. Must have been some pressure from various fly clubs I suppose. They can be a challenge fly fishing for them, although sometimes not. Rainbows are not dummies and can be very picky. Give me rainbows!
They introduce them almost always to cut down on "junk" fish. They are very aggressive and will take on fish half their size. Goldfish released by the public, believe it or not, have caused major problems in some lakes. Carp, tench, bluegill, sunfish and others can be hit hard if browns are introduced.

Usually browns are the last resort before killing off the lake.
 

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I consider brown trout to be the white man's fish, like some a-holes just had to bring "their" fish over from Europe. If brook trout were so inadequate at the time, why did some other a-holes bring brook trout across the Mississippi? Did someone actually think that cutthroats were inferior to the mighty brook trout?
Since browns are now 70% of the fish I catch, there's really nothing special about them. Wild brown trout do fight as hard as bows, just a little differently. And they can be pretty, and the color variation among different browns is amazing, some have mostly red spots, some very few spots, some have a red adipose, some fish are silvery. The whole hard to catch thing is a load of crap, they are the same as rainbows in that aspect.
 

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I'll chime in, though I'm out of WA now. My biggest fish to date here (SW MO) have all been browns. They are wary and get big fast. Rainbows, IMO, fight a little 'better,' maybe differently as noted, acrobatic. A big brown will run and jump, but then take you to cover. IMO they are toughter to catch. I hooked a 10" stocker'bow last Sunday, stripped it across stream and a 20" brown appeared out of nowhere to chase this 10" 'bow. I led the poor 'bow around trying to coax a strike from the brown, no go, but great fun. I don't love them, but they are always in the back of your mind as you hit a 'fishy' hole or run here.
 

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Just an Old Man
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Brown trout depending to where they live and feed taste sweeter than do a Rainbow. Maybe you ought to fish and live in Idaho where they have a bounty on Rainbows..

Why be down on a fish that can't say where it wants to live and breathe. Most people are transplants also. I lived and fished in Washington for over 60 years and have caught my share of fish. Now I live in Montana and I find the bigger browns are harder to fool than Washington Trout. But to each his own.
 

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Without question worth celebrating. Without question a superior fish over other species of trout, both genetically and historically...and that's not subjective, it's a simple biological fact. Well documented in other parts of the world but sadly we're lacking in quantity of good reading here in the states. Two books worth picking up: Brown Trout Fly Fishing, Francis, 1997; The Compleat Brown Trout, 1974, Heacox...these can at least explain the origins of the fish in Europe and elsewhere, along with its journey to America and how/why it was distributed here. To say the very least, it's a much more challenging fish to fool and as a fighter the brown is both stronger and wiser, thus the tendency to run deep and find cover. Of course rainbows and such are generally preferred...easier, more convenient to hook and they do what WE want them to do. The brown having its own agenda makes it a much more sporting fish...it's chess vs checkers...nothing wrong with either game, just some of us find chess more interesting. And if nothing else, the first time you take one north of 20 on a small dry pattern you'll never be the same.
 

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As to why brown trout were introduced to the US you have only to look at the history of the industrialization of this country in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Native brook trout, like most char, require cold, clean water and, with the increasing pollution and warming of streams on the east coast and the clearcutting of most of the upper midwest's forests, habitat for the brookie was becoming scarce. Browns (derived originally from German stocks but subsequently from most strains in Europe, Scotland and England) were considered to be able to survive in warmer and more highly polluted waters and so it began.

The rainbow has actually been introduced far more widely than the brown. Originally native only to the Pacific coast and a few of the larger rivers such as the Columbia, Fraser and Skeena which penetrate the coastal mountains they have been planted not only throughout the mountain west but across the country and Europe as well.
 

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Without question worth celebrating. Without question a superior fish over other species of trout, both genetically and historically...and that's not subjective, it's a simple biological fact. Well documented in other parts of the world but sadly we're lacking in quantity of good reading here in the states. Two books worth picking up: Brown Trout Fly Fishing, Francis, 1997; The Compleat Brown Trout, 1974, Heacox...these can at least explain the origins of the fish in Europe and elsewhere, along with its journey to America and how/why it was distributed here. To say the very least, it's a much more challenging fish to fool and as a fighter the brown is both stronger and wiser, thus the tendency to run deep and find cover. Of course rainbows and such are generally preferred...easier, more convenient to hook and they do what WE want them to do. The brown having its own agenda makes it a much more sporting fish...it's chess vs checkers...nothing wrong with either game, just some of us find chess more interesting. And if nothing else, the first time you take one north of 20 on a small dry pattern you'll never be the same.
Precisely!!
 

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Without question worth celebrating. Without question a superior fish over other species of trout, both genetically and historically...and that's not subjective, it's a simple biological fact. Well documented in other parts of the world but sadly we're lacking in quantity of good reading here in the states. Two books worth picking up: Brown Trout Fly Fishing, Francis, 1997; The Compleat Brown Trout, 1974, Heacox...these can at least explain the origins of the fish in Europe and elsewhere, along with its journey to America and how/why it was distributed here. To say the very least, it's a much more challenging fish to fool and as a fighter the brown is both stronger and wiser, thus the tendency to run deep and find cover. Of course rainbows and such are generally preferred...easier, more convenient to hook and they do what WE want them to do. The brown having its own agenda makes it a much more sporting fish...it's chess vs checkers...nothing wrong with either game, just some of find chess more interesting. And if nothing else, the first time you take one north of 20 on a small dry pattern you'll never be the same.
14 or 15 years ago, when my love affair for fly fishing was in it's infancy I got my first guided trip, on the Big Hole River, in August. I had a young (20 maybe) guide from Melrose in his Avon raft. The trico's were doing their thing, spinning down to lay their eggs, and we were fishing a #14 Royal Trude with a #22 trico spinner dropper. I hooked (for me at the time) a humongous fish and the fight was on. He ran around rocks, under the boat and every which way. The guide was new at his craft and was SO excited. The big brown, with the little #22 hook in his jaw showed himself several times and the young guide said 5 lbs easy. As those things go, he finally broke my 6x tippet, but I was shaking for a good 10 minutes after that. That is what I think of when I think of brown trout. Since then I've caught lots of them (and bows and cuttys as well) including some true monsters in New Zealand, but that is a fish I will remember forever! Rick
 

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...why did some other a-holes bring brook trout across the Mississippi? Did someone actually think that cutthroats were inferior to the mighty brook trout?
Well, yes, actually.

Brook trout were widely introduced in western Washington waters in the early 1900s for a very simple reason - brook trout are able to successfully reproduce in a much broader range of conditions than either cutthroat or rainbows. The prevailing attitude at the time was that brook trout could be planted just once and would establish a self-sustaining fishery thereafter, requiring no further action - or cost - on the part of fishery managers. Besides being widely planted by the US Forest Service, King County built and maintained a brook trout egg harvesting facility at the inlet of Hancock Lake before WW 1. Eggs taken there were also planted widely across Washington lakes.

The sad fact is that their very reproductive success has caused brook trout to become their own worst enemy. Since they can out-reproduce native species, they also out-consume them, quickly over-populating waters and decimating the biomass. It's not uncommon to find lakes literally filled with stunted brookies with large heads and skinny bodies that may be as old as 7 or 8 years. One of the great challenges for today's freshwater fishery managers is to find a way to successfully eliminate stunted brookies from waters where they've been entrenched for decades.

I know otherwise conscientious catch and release flyfishers who routinely toss caught brook trout up on the bank to die rather than release them to continue their cycle of over-reproduction and over-population.

K
 
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