Second to bass, trout is the most ardently sought-after sport fish in North America, and fished for in various ways. There is conventional baitfishing with worms and insects, and the more famous flyfishing using dry flies or wet flies: streamers, scuds, nymphs and the new craze: tube flies. Trout are also caught using tiny spoons, spinners and crankbaits, although very few practice this more difficult pursuit.
The several species of trout caught in flyfishing include the brown, rainbow, brook, cutthroat, Dolly Varden, lake, steelhead and the golden trout. Each has its own fighting characteristics when hooked, and can prove to be very challenging as well as enjoyable with light tackle and difficult settings. Light tackle here means flyfishing sets in the ratings of numbers three to five, with fly rod lengths of from eight feet to 10. Some people prefer longer rods, so it is a matter of preference. You can always cast better with shorter rods in crowded conditions, though.
The brown trout is the most widely available trout in the United States and thus probably the most fished. It is especially appropriate for the beginner flyfisherman because the brown trout is a voracious eater: topwater, bottom and between.
This species is a nocturnal feeder, so the fishing times begin from near dusk, through the evening and to the early morning. Browns are also caught during the day during major or minor solunar periods. If solunar periods fall close to sunset or sunrise perhaps the best action can be found.
Lighter colored flies and streamers like yellow and white, as well as reds, pale gray and tans, appear to be the brown’s favorite colors, but you can try darker colors, too. Not all brown trout have the same temperament. Fly patterns that prove effective on other trout work as well with browns, but dry flies are of course more appropriate during daylight hours, before dark and early mornings. Use subsurface flies ---scuds, nymphs, caddis, but mostly streamers --- after sundown.
Begin with the Royal Coachmans, Light Cahills, light-color Wooly Worms and Ginger Quills for dry flies; Silver Doctor, Parmachene Belle, Professor, and Yellow Sally for wets; Breadcrust Nymphs, Hellgrammites, Dark Hendricksons for nymphs and Mickey Finns, the Dace varieties, Black Ghost and several others for streamers. If they are not available, substitute with similar patterns.
When fishing for browns with dry flies, cast far, across and upstream, maybe as far as near the other stream or river bank. Let the fly float naturally, around rocks or tree stumps, giving a little twitch once in a while to simulate an insect struggling to live. Mend line as needed. Repeat the process two or three times before trying other points up- or downstream. Places where the fast water meet slack water are the best, before dark, as browns like many other fishes prefer to ambush their prey. However, they move out to forage when dark settles in, looking for insect pupae, worms, drowned adults and others that make up their principal diet.
Browns are caught anytime of the year, but fishing is better during the warmer months, except in spring when the water is high, clouded and roily. Fall seems to be the best fishing time, especially the Indian summer days when browns move to spawn by mid-September. Then they go for any fly: dry, wet or streamer. It seems you can’t get it away from them if you try.