I recently had a suggestion topic asking me “When do I think is the best month to chase down spawning brown trout“. The question was submitted by clicking on the Suggestions box located on the right side of the blog page. I very much welcome my blog followers to submit questions and topics they would like me to post on the blog.
As for the question that was submitted, I think November is the best month to target spawning browns. December is a good time as well, but if I had to pick one month it would be November. Keep in mind that this time frame can differ quite a bit depending on where your home waters are located, and what the average temperatures are for that time of year. Above average temperatures this time of year can push the spawn until later in the season.
Spawning Brown Trout
Photo By: Louis Cahill
The first place I start looking for spawning browns are the upper sections or head waters of larger rivers. I’m not talking about the tributaries but the upper sections of the rivers where they become much smaller. Most anglers would classify these areas as trout stream not river. An easy way to look at it is to pick the largest section of the lower river, and cut it in half. When you start seeing the river half the size your on the right track for beginning your search for spawning browns early in the season.
The further we get into the spawning season (Towards the end of November and into December the farther upstream you need to be fishing). Concentrate on stretches of stream with good spawning gravel. Fish will stage up in pools and in tails of riffles. I’ve been amazed over the years on how shallow I’ve found fish spawning. I’m talking about 3-6 inches of water. In many cases you’ll see the fins and tails of the trout coming out of the water. Look for water trickling over shoals and running along the bank that have good gravel. Undercut banks that follow these areas are even better. Spawning trout can also be found in the buckets of shallow riffles.
The Toccoa River tailwater is a little harder to target spawning browns, but I’ve had good success over the years. The key is looking for good spawning habitat on the tailwater. The best habitat are stretches of river with good spawning gravel (Marble size gravel with the occasional boulder). I also like to look for a little deeper water as well. With generation and higher flows I think the spawning brown trout look for good gravel with deeper water so the eggs don’t get flushed away and where the river has a more consistent flow. Look for Boulders or crevices with gravel as well. Keep your eyes pealed for flashes. Fighting males, females making reds, and courtship often give off flashes during these events. I first look for likely spawning water and then keep my eyes open for flashes. Also keep in mind that many trout on the tailwater run up the feeder streams to spawn.
Later in the season I start targeting the tributaries. This is a great time to hike into one of your favorite wild trout headwaters and hook into a big brown trout. You won’t find the numbers of spawners as you’ll find in the upper sections of the larger watersheds, but its still great water to look for big brown trout.
When I’m fishing during the spawning season I target the big browns with flashy streamers and lightly weighted nymphs. Many times a streamer will agitate the fish into a take. However, some times the only way you’ll get the fish to eat is to present them with a nymph.
ITS VERY IMPORTANT, that if you are going to fish during the spawning season that you respect the spawning fish in the process. Don’t harass spawners and make sure you quickly release the trout unharmed so they can get back to their reproduction process. Also, it is very important to make sure when your wading that you don’t walk on reds. Keep your eye out for them and walk around them so you don’t destroy the reds.
Keep it Reel,
Capt. Kent Klewein
Reel Job Fishing, LLC