Author Topic: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing  (Read 57414 times)

wshawkins

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Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« on: October 01, 2015, 06:42:45 AM »
Autumn Brown Trout Fishing


Fishing in streams and rivers for Brown’s is one of my favorite pastimes. The beautiful scenery, the flowing water and the rising fish, it’s hard to beat. Yes, it’s that time again when the brown trout come up from the deep and feed top-side and spawn.  Fall is prime time for targeting brown trout.  Brown trout spawn late in the fall, so during this time they become more mobile and the usually finicky mature males abandon some of their normal cautiousness.


I never bother the brown trout spawning grounds, and neither should you.  This is for our future brown trout fishing, so a successful spawn is important.  Any brown trout in the middle of the lake is fair game.  There fun to catch and I always release them to fight another battle (unless they bleed).


This year I’m aiming for the high elevation browns, above 10,000 feet.  Many people don’t realize that brown trout even live that high, but they do but are kind of rare.  They are smaller than most of the lower elevation browns, but still to can reach over 20” and more in some waters.  I’m aiming for mid-October, any later in the year and the lakes can freeze over.  I have a list of over a dozen + high elevation lakes that I know have the allusive brown trout with 8 days/7 nights to complete this challenge.  If I have any luck and get some decent pictures, I’ll post my adventure!  Wish me luck! 



Brown trout from last year’s fall trip

"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

saudust

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2015, 06:12:04 AM »
Perfect timing for this thread, wshawkins.  That brown certainly looks healthy!  Live to swim another day.  Nice!
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2015, 07:20:23 AM »
That brown was caught out of Rush Creek in the June Lake Loop.  Saudust, you should be heading that way soon I beleave!  Good luck on your trip.  Stopped by the Resort and jealously looked at your large Rainbow hanging on the wall.  Beautiful fish and nice of you to give the credit to your daughter (I'm sure you had a big hand in this) :D
« Last Edit: October 03, 2015, 07:28:14 AM by wshawkins »
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saudust

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2015, 08:59:06 AM »
More like both hands  :lol2:
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

fishdad

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2015, 03:45:20 PM »
Beautiful fish! I've seen pictures of a guy who fishes Rush creek every fall and has caught Browns in the 18-20 lb range for the past couple of years! I find that amazing.
Good luck on your trip!


wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2015, 07:20:46 AM »
I understand that the Wardens plus the fly fishing groups are keeping an closer eye on the spawning beds due to some fishermen trying to snag them, which is illegal. Saw it myself last fall and chased them out of Rush Creek.
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Obi96

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2015, 07:31:51 PM »
wshawkins, I hardly recognized you without your fingerless gloves on. (the huge brown should have been proof enough.)
Hiking by Rush creek in early August, I never would have believed it could hold such big beauties.
Good luck and be sure to charge your camera batteries.

wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2015, 07:14:32 AM »
wshawkins, I hardly recognized you without your fingerless gloves on. (the huge brown should have been proof enough.)
Hiking by Rush creek in early August, I never would have believed it could hold such big beauties.
Good luck and be sure to charge your camera batteries.



Just showing a friend an proper catch & release.  Bring in the big brown as quick as possible, use a rubber net to secure it, wet hands and take picture quickly.  Let the poor trout go, resuscitate trout if necessary.

Check out my fingers, that was some cold water!   They hurt now just looking at that photo. ;D
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wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2015, 07:33:42 AM »
Autumn Brown Trout Fishing


Just recently back from a week (8 days/7 nights) in the beautiful Eastern Sierra looking for the elusive Brown trout in the higher elevation lakes, rivers and streams.  Weather was near perfect, if not a little warm for this time in the season.  Did have some rain one day and it snowed once overnight (about 4” above 10,000 ft.), buts that’s typical weather for these parts. 

Add the fall colors and what a great time to visit the Eastern Sierra!  Fall colors were spectacular again this autumn and were in prime form during my short stay looking beautiful from Bishop all the way north to Conway Summit and everywhere in between.  I spend one whole day chasing the fall colors, including Rock Creek which looked especially great at Rock Creek Lake down to about East Fork Campground. 

I was a successful trip as I caught at least one Brown (sometimes more) on every water that I targeted.  This trip was similar from lasts years “October Caddis Hatch” (http://www.rockcreeklake.com/board/index.php?topic=893.0) except last year I kept mostly to drive-to lakes where this year’s trip was all about the high backcountry Browns.  Give a couple of days to download the photos and let’s see where I chose to fish and how well I really did!



Fall Colors




To continue……………………………………………………………
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 08:30:55 AM by wshawkins »
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P A C

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2015, 08:10:00 AM »
WSH - Encouragement to you and with Thanks in Advance for the time and effort it will take to post your pics and report! 

Eagerly waiting with anticipation for a vicarious Fall Trip to the ES!

P A C

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Obi96

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2015, 09:14:10 AM »
Looking forward to the Pictures !

wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2015, 06:56:35 AM »
8 days/7 nights  and almost 600 photos later……….  Yikes!  Need to trim that down.  Autumn Brown Trout Fishing coming soon......
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wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2015, 06:24:09 AM »
Autumn Brown Trout Fishing


To catch a wild German Brown Trout in the backcountry, you will most likely need to catch many Brooks and/or Rainbows first as Brown Trout are rarely the only species in the water your fishing.  That’s just a fact!  They can be hard little devils to catch sometimes.  Except for an occasional Brown Trout that I can sight fish; you will need to catch dozens of other fish species before that elusive Brown Trout bites your chosen bait.  But there are ways to cut the odds so to speak and I’ll share some pointers I learned over the years. 


So begins my journey searching for the elusive German Brown Trout.



German Brown Trout caught in the Tioga Pass Area
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2015, 07:15:54 AM »
Autumn Brown Trout Fishing


I started my German Brown Trout quest in Yosemite, for good reason as Yosemite has some of the best Brown Trout waters anywhere and I’ll cover 5 excellent spots in Yosemite I visited for this trip report.  All these waters are in or near the Tioga Pass area.




Day 1:  Tuolumne River, Yosemite


Tuolumne River



The Tuolumne River has its beginning in Tuolumne Meadow.  At an elevation of approximately 8600 ft., it is the largest sub-alpine meadow in the Sierra Nevada.  The Tuolumne River runs within the tall grasses of Tuolumne Meadows.  Rainbows, Brookies, and Brown trout all inhabit this section of the river.  The Brown trout that I was targeting ranges up to approximately 16“.  Dry Fly Fishing is the best technique and most fun method in this tall grass meadow section.  Readily catchable trout are yours as long as you don’t spook them, so stealth approach is mandatory.  In mid-October when I was there, the fish keyed on my pale morning dun and a small yellow salley.  Caddisflies also did very well in the evenings.  Tuolumne River offers world class fly fishing at its finest! 


This was the only time I saw any other fishermen during my whole week!  And most of the other fishermen appeared to have fishing guides with them, which I found a bit odd!  I was doing OK but did much better as I got some distance from them.  Tuolumne Meadows is a large area so no problem in getting some private fishing waters.  I found the Brown Trout section about a mile from the main road.


Tuolumne River



Tuolumne River




Tuolumne River Brown Trout






Next, I head over to the Dana Fork in Yosemite……………………………………..
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fishdad

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2015, 09:17:52 PM »
Absolutely beautiful fish and location! Thank you for sharing

wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2015, 06:53:10 AM »
Yes, certainly a beautiful fish!  The wild ones usually are.  Thanks!
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2015, 06:58:43 AM »
Autumn Brown Trout Fishing


Day 2:  Dana Fork, Yosemite


Dana Fork



Dana Fork waters originate from 13,100' Mount Dana.  The Dana Fork is very accessible as Highway 120 in Yosemite runs right alongside its entire course from its head waters at Tioga Pass to where it joins the Lyell Fork.  Rainbow, Brook and Brown Trout are present throughout the Dana Fork, with the Browns being the most numerous, reaching up to about 12” for me.  This is a great stretch of water to fish for Browns.  Start your quest at Dana Meadows and it shouldn’t be long before you’re into the Browns.  Hike away from people and remember to “stealth” fish this body of water.  If you spook them they won’t bite!


Dana Fork



Dana Fork Brown





Next, I head to Lyell Fork in Yosemite…………………………………………..
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2015, 07:01:49 AM »
Autumn Brown Trout Fishing

Day 2:  Lyell Fork, Yosemite

   
Lyell Fork




I was able to fish both Dana Fork and Lyell Fork in the same day as they are fairly close together.  The Lyell Fork originates near 13,115' Mount Lyell, and flows 10 miles downstream through Lyell Canyon where it meets the Dana Fork, at where it forms the Tuolumne River.  Road access here is at the lower end, but the river is accessible via the John Muir Trail which runs its entire length.  Although the trail is highly travelled, very few ever fish it.  The Lyell Fork has a healthy population of wild trout with the Brown's being more numerous (up to 14”) in the lower section.  I found the Brook Trout gather towards the head waters.  The Rainbows are scattered throughout so hard to pinpoint where they lie, but look in the fast sections of this fork.  The Lyell Fork offers fantastic dry fly action, and with a good presentation the Browns will rise to most any of your dry fly’s offerings.   Again, stealth fishing is the key to success here.



Lyell Fork at the JMT Crossing




Lyell Fork Brown








Next, I hike up to Spillway lake in Yosemite……………………………………………….


"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

P A C

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2015, 10:18:03 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to post this WSH.  Greatly enjoying it.

I am surprised and pleased to see the relatively decent water levels in the pics - I have experienced far lower in past Octobers and the size of the fish are reflective of a healthy fishery despite the drought, receeding glaciers at the headwaters, etc.

Looking forward to the report on your trip to Spillway Lake! :clap: :fishing4:

saudust

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2015, 06:48:23 AM »
The waterways do look surprisingly at good levels.  I spoke with Andrew at SLR during the past month and it was the thunderstorms that raised Silver Lake almost one foot overnight.  Maybe they've contributed to these levels, too.

This is a wonderful divergence.
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2015, 09:18:20 AM »
Yeah, the decent water levels were mostly due to some recent heavy thundershowers that also dropped some snow on the higher elevations, which I ran into heading to Spillway Lake.  There was a heat wave going on that week so the snow didn’t last long, which made for a muddy hike out as it melted.

For those who have not been to Yosemite for the past few years, the entrance fee per vehicle has gone up to $30 now, but it’s still good for one week.
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wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2015, 06:44:17 AM »
Autumn Brown Trout Fishing


Day 3:  Spillway Lake, Yosemite


Spillway Lake and the Kuna Crest




Spillway Lake is a pretty, if not spectacular, high-country lake, at elevation 10,480 feet with 12,000+ foot mountains rising from its south and west banks.  It’s been a few years since I last visited this lake, so I’m excited to finally revisit this part of Yosemite.  It’s an 8 mile hike (round trip) to Spillway Lake with about an 800 feet elevation gain.


To get there, you start at the Mono Pass Trailhead in Yosemite.  The Mono Pass trailhead is at the far eastern end of Yosemite, just a mile west of Tioga Pass Yosemite entrance station.  If you're approaching from the east, you should pass the trailhead within a few minutes of entering the park on your left.   


Start of Trail to Spillway Lake




The Mono Pass Trailhead gives you several choices for destinations.  One is to take it to Mono Pass for views of Mono Lake and the Sardine lakes down below.  You could take it all the way down to Little Walker Lake Trailhead if desired.  Another destination is the Parker Pass trail that takes you Alger Lakes and beyond.  The third choice is Spillway Lake, where I’m heading. 


The trail follows a pair of creek drainages, first Parker Pass Creek, and then the Spillway Lake outlet that ascends gradually throughout, alternating between woods and meadows along the way.  The rich greenery is a dramatic contrast to the stark, dry rocks of the eastern Sierra slope a few miles away, which you'd get to see if you took the Mono Pass fork instead. 


Creek Crossings







Day 3:  Spillway Lake, Yosemite continues………………………………………
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2015, 06:47:49 AM »
Your route to Spillway Lake follows the Mono Pass trail for the first 2.3 miles.  It then veers right at the signed Spillway Lake fork.  You'll reach the lake in another 1.7 miles.


Fork to Spillway Lake




Snow on Trail




I was surprised by the amount of snow on the trail.  It snowed a few days before this hike.  Thought it would have melted by now, but it was frozen in the morning and slushy and melting fast on the way back to the trailhead.  The trail follows Parker Pass Creek right up to Spillway Lake.  I spotted several fish darting around in the ponds in Parker Pass Creek.


Parker Pass Creek




As you come out of the forest, you climb a gentle hill into a large meadow, which runs next to Parker Pass Creek as you view Spillway Lake for the first time.


Spillway Lake







Day 3:  Spillway Lake, Yosemite continues………………………………………

"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2015, 06:51:54 AM »
And, if you love the sounds of fish jumping, this is the lake for you.  Spillway Lake is actually a great fishing location, and one of the species in this lake is the Brown trout!  And, because not a ton of people make it out here, you may end up having the lake all to yourself!


Brown Trout



Brown Trout



Brookie




Over the years fishing at Spillway Lake, I’ve averaged equal amounts of Browns to Brookies.  Browns were up to 14” but averaging about 12”.  I seen Brookies up to 16” but averaging 10-12” or so.  No stunted trout here, all were full bodied and wild! 


Brown Trout




Brown Trout


Fishing was non-stop from morning when I first got there, to the afternoon as I was getting ready to leave, it never stopped.  Best fishing I ever had for Browns and first time I ever caught double figures for Browns in a day of fishing overall.  Best fishing I ever had at Spillway Lake, hands down.  But as I was leaving Spillway Lake I fished near the outlet and caught my last fish, a Rainbow!  This was another first as I never have seen a Rainbow trout in this lake, and a full bodied 12” at that!


Rainbow Trout




Anytime Tioga Road is open is a great time to visit Spillway Lake.  But, I suggest coming mid-to late summer or later in fall as I did, as to avoid the early snows and the marshy like atmosphere that attracts the many mosquitos in the early season.  It’s a trade-off, as spring to early summer is amazingly beautiful with all the greenery and flowers blooming, but you will pay with your blood (with lots & lots of mosquitos!). 


Parker Pass Creek









Next, I head to Upper McCabe Lake in Yosemite………………………………………………….


"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

Sierraslam

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Re: Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2015, 05:28:14 PM »
Always wanted to get to McCabe via 20 Lakes Basin. Can't wait for your post!