(photo courtesy of Trevor Johnson)
This past Monday was a long day in the spray booth and by the time the afternoon rolled around I had fishing on my mind. Spraying out the final lot of jigs for the day, I decided I would take an adventure below Hauser dam to hunt brown trout. Asking dad if he wanted to go, he said “I have some things to get done and it’s been a long day Trev.” Bummed my partner wasn’t up for the trip; I grabbed my rods and headed out. Not even changing from my painting clothes, I made a quick stop for a couple Gatorades and to the river I went.
After catching a few smaller trout, I couldn’t help but notice all the dead crayfish on the shore. As I’ve said in all the seminars I do, “ALWAYS, ALWAYS pay attention to the different forage in the area your fishing.” About the time I was digging into my pack to tie on the Supercraw Glass Minnow, movement caught my eye on the dam. Somebody was walking across the dam; somebody that looked a lot like dad…it is dad!! I was like a kid in the plastic worm section of a Bass Pro Shop…dad was coming to join me!! As we combined forces, the witching hour was now approaching fast and it was time to get down to business.
Studies have shown that summertime fluvial brown trout can travel up to ten miles nightly in search of prey once the sun sets for the day. It has also been researched that HUGE browns usually only eat every so often…so the more you’re out there…the better the chance. Being a dedicated night fisherman anyways, this trip was nothing new…minus the net full of bats that were crashing into my headlamp. Dad was like, “My gosh, these little buggers are everywhere,” and I replied, “Think big browns dad, big browns.”
After a few more casts, I saw a set of glowing eyes in my headlamp as my jig neared the shore. Stopping my jig right on the surface, a 20” walleye grabbed my jig and retreated to the deep water making a top water explosion right at my feet. Trying to come to grasps with what had just happened, the little devil got off my line! Before I could utter a dirty word, my dad yelped, “Got one Trev,” and we watched as an awesome 23” brown trout came to the shore. After a quick release and a slimy high five, our rods were again singing and the Glass Minnows flying.
Since we had been finding most of the browns higher in the water column we were using 1/8 and 1/4 ounce jigs and fishing pretty fast. It is really deep where we are fishing and full of current so it’s hard to get your jigs down. Dad said, “Hey Trev, why don’t you try a heavier jig and see if they are deeper tonight?” So I dug into my tackle bag and found a 3/8 ounce Supercraw Glass Minnow and added a 3” new penny Gulp minnow to bulk up the presentation. As I launched my jig into the darkness, I gave it a few seconds to sink before starting my cadence. On the second jig up of the cast…BOOOOM!!! And I mean BOOOOM!!
Getting bit by big brown trout is better than cold beer and pizza, better than a hot shower after a week at hunting camp, heck it’s darn near as good as it gets!! This brown hit my jig so hard it literally shook my whole body and about ripped my rod from my hands. As if that’s not exciting enough, the next four or five seconds is like having your jig hooked to the bumper of a sprint car blowing off the starting line!! This my friends, is why I spend countless hours out here doing what I do…because at this very instant, the hundreds of casts you took make it all worth it!! After a few more minutes of doing epic battle, we set eyes upon the beast…and a true beast it was!! As the behemoth neared the bank, dad scooped him into the net and the high fives were a flying!! Dad kept yelling, “What a freakin’ SLAB, did that thing swallow and NFL football?”
Before our very eyes was a rare fish, a perfect specimen having beautiful color, length, shape and FAT!! The brown was 28” long, and by the looks of him I wouldn’t want to be a small trout in his river We snapped a quick photo (lucky my dad was there to take it) and slipped him back into the water. But not before laying a big ol’ slopping smooch on him (we call it “The Kit’s Stamp”.) After disappearing into his swirling realm, dad looked at me and said, “You think he will tell any of his friends he was kissed by a human?” Laughing, I replied, “I BET NOT; that would be pretty embarrassing for a fish of that caliber.”
The neat thing about brown trout is that they are all so different…and all so breathtakingly beautiful!! There is no way to describe the feeling of looking out across a river and then being lucking enough to lift a brown trout from its waters. The best way to describe it would be like lifting a three dimensional oil painting directly from Mother Nature’s garden. It is truly one of the neatest things I’ve ever encountered in this life.
(written by Trevor Johnson – Kit’s Tackle – www.kitstackle.com)