January 20, 2017
I learned another way to help determine gender of a mature brown trout.
Curved out male
Curved inward female
Thank you Gink and Gasoline!!
Curved out male
Thank you Gink and Gasoline!!
I know both have German strain heritage because of their markings.
Most male browns I catch that hit the magical 20 inch threshold have a subtle kype year round and it becomes more profound in fall and winter.
The old fall back indicator of the distance between the eye and the upper jaw is usually the final determiner for me.
I am going with my first impression here. Left is male and right is female.
January 19, 2017
The first male was almost to net and went nuts at shore. I was fishing alone and the slippery icy edge make me a little tentative. Guess him at 23 inches.
Landed 18 browns. Had may pecks as I call them. Just bumping it and failing to commit.
Landed my first over 20 incher of the year.
I was casting in tight cover about 20 minutes later and hooked up on an absolute horse. It stormed downstream at me. The tree limbs above my head didn't allow me to get upward pressure for a deeper hook penetration. I saw the giant female blast past me going down stream and shortly there after she was off. She dwarfed the male from above. This beast was a wily one and she won today. A rematch is in order.
The majority of browns I caught today were under 12 inches.
January 18, 2017
January 17, 2017
January 16, 2017
January 15, 2017
It turned right at shore. It was so big I thought it was a pike at first.
I took Bob Skoronski "Green Bay Packer Legend" after it and Bob got an up close and personal look at it. He was astounded. Bob was using worms and soaked them for a good long while. He retrieved the worm and the trout was attracted by the worm wiggling on the hook on the retrieve and bum rushed it and literally came three quarters the way out of the water at shore. I could have caught it with worms. Where was the challenge? My 7 year old daughter could have caught this beast on worms.
A couple friends of mine went after it with me. I remember that they weren't quite stealthy enough and it blew out of the area as they walked up. The motorboat wake went upstream like its tail was on fire.
I went back after it maybe a dozen times. About half of those times it tormented me. My buddy John Armstrong had already moved away or I would have turned him loose on the beast.
I asked John if there was anyone from his guiding days at Madison Outfitters that was talented enough with a fly rod to trick it. He told me Jim Herald fit the bill. Jim was only 20 years old but he was a talented angler.
I called Jim and set up the adventure. It was obvious that Jim was skeptical at first. The beast lived in a high traffic area right in a small dorf in Richland County.
Jim approached the run from the crouch position. He even casted from his knees to lower his profile and avoid spooking the weary beast.
Twenty minutes later and three changes of flies Jim was ready to leave. I talked him into one more change of fly. Jim changed leaders too. He thought maybe the line was spooking the fish. He put a brand new leader on. He put on a size eight coneheaded bronze colored bugger. It was sparsely tied.
The second cast in there and Jim's reel was almost on fire. The beast hit and was leaving to parts unknown upstream. I remember watching Jim palm the reel as the giant brown peeled off line upstream. He didn't need to worry about getting the extra slack out of the line. It was gone within 2 seconds.
Jim finally slowed it down and got it on the reel. He was still in the crouch and quickly stood up. He turned it and got it coming back towards us. Jim got nervous and screamed for me to get in the water with the net and ready for a netting. I quietly told Jim I was already standing to his left with the net out.
It battled for an extended time. It did not seem to tire. It ran by us up and downstream a couple times. Jim finally instructed me to go ahead and net the dang thing.
I protested at first because I didn't think it was tired enough to net properly. Jim prodded me to net it. I walked out in the stream and told Jim to run it by me and I would give it a try. It came flying at me and I stretched my arm out with the LDH Net extended and netted the raging beast. It was thrashing and attempting to escape still.
Jim lifted it again and photos of the biggest small stream Wisconsin brown he will ever catch in his entire life were taken.
Jim held it by its tail and revived it. A millisecond after the above photo was taken the beast blasted out of Jim's grasp and headed for its watery home.
Jim's 4 weight rod got quite a work out that day. I looked at the leader package he switched to. He had stepped down from a 2x leader to 5x. The stretch the beast lived in was free of trees and underwater hazards. I suspect this is how he handled it on 5X.
I never had it follow again.
The beast was never seen again.