Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Catch Big Brown Trout with Big Streamers

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Catch Big Brown Trout with Big Streamers

Article excerpt

Most of a trout's caloric intake comes one bite at a time from tiny bottom-dwelling nymphs, which take less energy to catch than fleeing minnows.

But that maxim comes with a caveat, said self-proclaimed "fish whisperer" and trout fishing guide Tommy Lynch of Michigan.

"At a certain point, brown trout get to a size where they can't eat enough bugs to sustain their weight. They need larger prey," he said.

In recent years, fly anglers have rediscovered the streamer, a classic category of wet fly designed to suggest nutrient-rich minnows. On March 3, Mr. Lynch will talk about catching big browns using big streamers at Cabin Fever, a fly fishing expo benefiting Penn's Woods West Trout Unlimited at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh - Cranberry in Marshall.

The fish whisperer title started as a joke made by a horse-loving girlfriend, but it stuck when he used the pseudonym on steelhead fishing reports in college. These days, Mr. Lynch guides trout and steelhead trips mostly on his home waters in Central Michigan.

When he says "big" streamers, he means 6- to 12-inch articulated flies on heavy-wire wide-gap hooks in sizes 2/0 to 5/0 tied to 14- to 15-foot leaders and thrown with 8- or 9-weight rods. With two in-line hooks under feathers or fur, articulated flies appear to swim in the current. Tippet size is determined by conditions, but remember that a 30-inch brown with 18 inches of girth will weigh upward of 12 pounds.

"A brown trout is a nocturnal fish. It's a [different kind of predator] than a rainbow trout," he said. "Something hits the water at night, a big brown trout's job is to go investigate it and possibly kill it."

The size of the fly is part of a strategy. The fish is forced to decide in an instant whether to wait or gamble on filling its dietary requirements with one lunge and a single gulp. …

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