3 Tips For Targeting Fall Browns

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Jackson Engels With a Nice Hen Photo by Louis Cahill

Jackson Engels With a Nice Hen Photo by Louis Cahill

Autumn is a great time to target big brown trout.

This time of year brown trout are in pre-spawn mode and are moving from their year-round holding water to the spawning grounds upstream. This offers anglers the chance to tie into a nice mature fish that might be too reclusive to be caught the rest of the year. I had the chance to do just that while showing a buddy from Wyoming some of my favorite water in North Carolina. Here are 3 tips that helped make it a successful day.

Target Resting Water

The fish you are looking for are on the move upstream. Fish prefer to do their traveling at night, in the safety of darkness. That means that they are resting during the day. You will frequently find them in runs below water falls or long stretches of fast water. They will rest there during the day and take on the challenging water when they are fresh. Focus your efforts on the resting water. It worked well for us.

Use Your Eyes

Fish in pre-spawn mode will often hold where you least expect them. While fishing with my buddy Jackson the other day I stopped to take a leak on the bank and when I turned around there was a male brown about 24 inches at my feet. He was right on the bank in water barely deep enough to cover his back. This behavior is surprisingly common in pre-spawn fish. It pays to move slowly and study the water thoroughly before stepping into the river. And no, I did not catch that fish. That’s what I get for drinking too much coffee.

They Come In Pairs

This is the time when brown trout are finding their mates. The males, in there fall colors, are looking for that special female and when they find her they will follow her around like a puppy. That means if you find one fish, there is another near by. This worked in my favor. I caught a nice female in a good run and suggested we eat lunch and rest the pool. After a sandwich and a beer, I waded back into the run and caught the male. That’s fishing smarter, not harder.

Every angler wants to catch a big brown trout. It takes work and a lot of time on the water but fishing smart in the fall raises you odds immensely. It’s fun and challenging fishing. If you’re serious about it, check out my article on fishing to Browns on the Move. You’ll find a lot more information on how to target these great fish.

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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4 thoughts on “3 Tips For Targeting Fall Browns

  1. Excellent tips, your tip about fishing with your eyes is so true. On a float down the Au Sable with my son we pulled off to the bank to tie up. When we were ready to get moving again I looked into the undercut bank and beautiful hog was just chilling out there. It couldn’t have been more than 8 inches of water. We were in a bad position to make a good presentation but keeping your eyes open and being aware is a good general rule. Thanks!

  2. Fall is my favorite time of year for a lot of reasons, and brown trout is one of them. Ditto on keeping your eyes open. I once stumbled upon one huge brown in water so skinny its dorsal fin and tail were out of the water, which is how I spotted it. It’s tough to get them to eat a lot of times though. They’re on a mission. Great tips Louis!

  3. Good post. I also liked Dan Flynn’s photo of a redd.

    Hatchery trout are sometimes confused on when to spawn. We get rainbows as well as browns spawning in the fall and at other odd times. So as far as I am concerned “let them be” always applies in our rivers and streams here in N. Georgia.

  4. Pingback: Catch Trophy Brown Trout By Stacking The Odds In Your Favor | Fly Fishing | Gink and Gasoline | How to Fly Fish | Trout Fishing | Fly Tying | Fly Fishing Blog

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