The weather is cool, and fall is in the air. By now most of us float fishermen have had our fill of Chinook salmon in the creeks and rivers. A lot of the salmon have been in since early September and don’t have near the fighting spirit they did as freshies. We want something new and exciting, something that possesses the true spirit of fall river fishing. The answer to our longing is the brown trout.
Migratory browns enter Ontario streams on their spawning run usually around mid September with runs peaking in the months of October and November. They are praised by most anglers and thought of as an added bonus fish to their day of fishing. To me, their beauty exceeds that of chinook salmon tenfold. Chrome fresh spotted browns are truly great, but once the golden spawning colours come on they are quite the sight to see. Males often have kypes that can sometimes be extreme, every brown is unique and an awesome fish.
To find browns in the rivers you must be able to read holding water and know where to look. I have found that browns usually sit at tailouts of pools when mixed in with the chinooks. Drift behind where you know there is a group of salmon holding and you could be pleasantly surprised. Browns also like to hide behind boulders and large rocks to take shelter from strong currents. The most productive areas for stream fall browns for me have been shaded undercut banks with structure such as logs or overhanging branches mixed in. After the sun comes out and is shining strong river browns usually like to hide in these shaded areas.
Baits to target browns with are usually your regular productive steelhead baits. Some options are roe bags, dew worms, and various flies/plastics. In the rivers and creeks my favourite baits include skein scrape bags and wooly buggers drifted under sensitive floats. From the pier trusty tactics include bouncing large flashy streamers and upsized roe bags from bottom, don’t be afraid to throw hardware such as spoons and body baits either, sometimes they can be very productive.
It is evident why the brown trout is such a sought after species once fall arrives here in Ontario. They can sometimes be caught one after the other and at other times drive the angler mad by being so picky; turning their nose up at any bait they see. They are an amazing game fish and should be treated with the respect they deserve. Remember to practice catch and release to ensure a brown trout fishery for our future generations.