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Both brook trout and brown trout are both members of the Salmonidae, the salmon family. As such, they are not only wide-spread and fun to fish but also beloved in the kitchen.
When a brook trout and a brown trout mate, it results in the beautifully patterned but sterile tiger trout.
The brook trout is associated with many names. You might know it as a speckled trout, brook charr, squaretail, or mud trout. Brook trouts are of a dark green to brown color, have a marbled pattern along the sides and back, and are covered by red dots surrounded by blue-ish halos. Their bellies are of a soft red.
The brook trout is the state fish of nine U.S. states and the Canadian province Nova Scotia. It is called an indicator fish: since they need very high-quality water, the number of brook trouts in a stream indicates a healthy environment; when the number of brook trouts in a location goes down rapidly, it respectively shows that a body of water has turned unhealthy.
The brown trout is also known as lake trout. It is a European species that was only introduced into the U.S. in 1884 with a release of 4900 trouts into Michigan's Baldwin River. Brown trouts are olive-green to brown on top, yellow on the sides, and off-white along their belly. They are covered with black to reddish spots.
Brown Trout are nocturnal and can be challenging to catch. However, they are a challenge that makes hours of fun during night fishing.
Sizes Of Brook Trout & Brown Trout
As the smaller of these two species, brook trout have a maximum recorded length of 34'' and a maximum weight of 15lb. On average, you will find them to be 6-13 inches and weighing about 9lbs as an adult.
Brown trout can grow to be about 45lbs and 39'' long, especially in the lakes. In smaller rivers, though, a mature weight of 2.2lbs is not uncommon.
Brook Trout Vs. Brown Trout - Their Habitats And Feeding Patterns..
You can find brook trout in rivers, streams, creeks, and spring ponds, as longs as there is cold and clear water. They need lots of oxygen and water of 53 degrees or colder and do not like warm summer water and low water flow. They tend to linger around logs and boulders to be protected from both strong currents and predators. In a large river, brook trout will often stay at the base of rapids and waterfalls, where the water is bubbly and thus rich in oxygen. So-called "salters" spend about three months in spring at sea, where they feed on crustaceans, fish, and marine worms. They turn silver during their time in the ocean, but when they return to their freshwater habitats, it will only take a few weeks for them to become brown again.
A good time of the year to fish for brook trout is, for example, shortly before the mayfly hatch because the brook trout are aggressive and hungry during this time. The term "Duffer's Fortnight" refers to the period where fly fishing with dry flies is really easy since the trout are rising to feed on mayfly and are less wary and less spooked. Even a clumsy beginner angler will get lucky during this time, so this would be the perfect opportunity to take some friends with you whom you want to convert to the fisherman life!
In the summer, the best time of the day to go trout fishing is very early in the morning, between the first light and 10:30 am. Brook trout are more likely to bite in calm water and under a clear sky with high pressure.
There are two versions of the brown trout, a freshwater species (Salmo trutta fario) and a saltwater species (salmo trutta trutta), the latter one being also known as sea trout. You will find the freshwater trout in coldwater mountain streams, large rivers, lakes, and ponds. The Great Lakes are famously rich in brown trout. Brown trout will grow especially well in base-rich (calcium-rich) rivers, like for example limestone-based rivers, whereas in acidic rivers they will grow more slowly or migrate to become sea trout.
You will find brown trout where the food is, and since they count small mammals like mice to their diet, as well as baby birds that have fallen out of nests, their food is often near the shore. This is what makes them so perfect for fishing from the bank of lakes and rivers.
Generally, it would help if you fished for brown trout later in the day than for brook trout. In heavily fished waters, brown trout even tend to turn nocturnal and become very wary of any food item that has a nylon string attached.
What Bait To Use When Fishing For Trout?
Use small spinners or artificial flies for fly fishing.
If you want to go for live bait, brook trout like worms and small insects like mayflies or grasshoppers.
A popular choice is dough bait, like, for example, Berkley Trout Bait - smelly doe that you can mold like silly putty. Simply form a small ball the size of a salmon egg and stick it to your hook. There are different color options for dough bait which you can use to mimic what the trout is likely to be eating at this time of the year or at the specific location you are fishing.
The variety of their eating habits makes brown trout susceptible to a wide range of live, dead, and artificial bait.
The movement of light spinning tackle, like spoons, or plugs, as well as jerkbait, will lead to aggression in this very territorial trout and will motivate it to bite.
They love to eat sea larva (nymph), which makes them a popular target for fly fishing.
You can also go for dead small fish, which will attract the trout by their smell and the light reflecting from their scales.
For live bait, worms and maggots are most commonly used.
Fishing Techniques For Brook Trout Vs. Brown Trout..
It is important to keep in mind that you should not handle brook trout with dry hands when you plan to release them again. Wet your hands before touching them, otherwise, you risk destroying the protective layer of slime that coats them and they are at a higher risk of dying of infection.
A Trout Float Rig is ideal for slow-moving pools or deep rapids. Estimate or measure the depth of the water and put a trout float on the line. The distance between this float and the hook should be about as long as the water is deep, minus a few inches. The goal is to have the hook go almost down to the ground. Put a very small sinker about every 3-6 inches or so leading from the float to the hook. This will ensure that your bait is going to be almost straight down from your float as it moves downstream. Since the key to this rig is the natural current you should keep your line out of the water as much as you can. Therefore it makes sense to use a high visibility main line for attaching the float so you can keep an eye on it. The leader should rather be of a low visibility material, especially in highly fished locations where the trout are aware of the dangers posed by delicious snacks dangling on a string. Now only let the float be moved by the drift, actively move it as rarely as possible.
Fly Fishing is really effective when going for brown trout because there are so many flies that you can always choose those that imitate the seasonal insects or crustaceans the trout are feeding on at this time of year. A tried and true setup is to use up to three flies with different materials, looks, and textures - if the trout is not interested in one of them, it might well go for the next one. Use a bushy fly at the top to create a disturbance of the water surface. The middle dropper, the fly in between, should be an imitative fly and the point fly, the lowest on the line, should be flashy - colorful and exciting. Streamers that represent small fish or maggots also work well as point flies.
Brown trout are aggressive and territorial, so you can use dry flies as wet flies and pull them; move them around and the trout will likely go for them.
As you can see, while you will find both these species of trout in similar habitats, their behavior makes them sufficiently different to offer you two distinct fishing experiences and thus you have your choice of fishing early in the morning and late at night.
Both brown and brook trout do not only provide you with an ingredient for a healthy and delicious meal, but they also win many anglers over by virtue of their beautiful patterns and you will soon find yourself spending a lot of time admiring and studying the subtle variations in their coloring and spots.
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