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Fly Fishing in the Southeastern US
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 Post subject: Re: A Swan Song
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 5:38 pm 
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Brown Trout

Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:12 pm
Posts: 1748
I would have a hard time not crapping my pants if I caught a 12" brookie nowadays. :D I used to catch 'em 12 or bigger 30 years ago, but they don't get that big down here in NC anymore, unless you get incredibly lucky.


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 Post subject: Big brookies
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 6:02 pm 
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Brook Trout
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:08 pm
Posts: 224
Location: Richmond, VA
Phil, a 12" brookie is pretty rare up here too, but I know a few spots where they grow big. Marty saw this fish come out and take a swipe at a 6" brookie that he was playing and swears it was 12". It was in the same hole as the last brookie pictured above and he's pretty sure it's even bigger. I think the fish pictured was an honest 10" fish.

Here's a shot of fish that came from not too far away in 2008:

Image

And another big fish from a choice spot:

Image

The second one looks to be on his way out with that big head and skinny body. Neither of these are my fish by the way but I know exactly where they came from. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: A Swan Song
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 6:09 pm 
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Brown Trout

Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:12 pm
Posts: 1748
<salivating over those brookies>

Good Lord.


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 Post subject: Re: A Swan Song
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 6:48 pm 
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Brown Trout
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:10 pm
Posts: 940
Location: Hartsville, SC
Two different biologists have told me that brookies top out at about 10 inches and they are very rare.


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 Post subject: Re: A Swan Song
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 7:04 pm 
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Brown Trout

Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:12 pm
Posts: 1748
5xTippett wrote:
Two different biologists have told me that brookies top out at about 10 inches and they are very rare.


Correct, Ben -- as far as NC goes -- these days, a 7-8" wild brookie is a prize and 5-6 inchers are great in native streams (as far as I'm concerned). A 9" brookie is now a trophy. I haven't caught one over 10 inches in years. The little brookies are pretty much what I fish for up here in the mountains (and I bust my ass to catch 'em).
The stocked big brooks on Helton's and otherwise don't really count, imo.

I'm fishing wild waters unless I'm gonna go fish at the SoHo with the big rod gun -- my 5 weight rod for monsters. Henheheh. :D


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 Post subject: Re: A Swan Song
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 7:22 pm 
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Brook Trout
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:08 pm
Posts: 224
Location: Richmond, VA
I would agree with the rare part but respectfully disagree with the topping out at 10" part. I'll have to ask him to be sure but I think that skinny fish was actually measured with a tape at 12 or 13".

I think a number of things can lead to a rare fish growing that big. Maybe he has messed up reproductive organs and can't spawn so he doesn't waste that energy every year. Maybe he lives in an especially productive, deep, well oxygenated plunge pool that's always in the shade. Then there's the whole northern strain vs. southern strain thing that I don't really know anything about.

I'm no biologist and I'll admit to never actually measuring any that I've caught. So, my eyes could be deceiving me - something that affects most anglers - but I'm sure I've caught a handful over the years that were bigger than 10".


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 Post subject: Re: A Swan Song
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 9:44 pm 
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Brown Trout
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:10 pm
Posts: 940
Location: Hartsville, SC
Dan Rankin the S.C. biologist told me he hardly ever shocks a 10 inch brook out of S.C. waters. Scott Smith, the Va. biologist over the Smith and a bunch of brook trout streams North and West of the Smith, told me if I caught a brook trout 10 inches long in one of his streams to immediately take it out, because it the odds are small that it would make it to spawn. In the mean time it would be eating food the 6, 7 & 8 inch boys would be needing to fatten up for the spawn. I always do what the biologist tells me to do in his streams. However, in Scott's case I would have to be extremely bored (or nuts) to pass by those Smith browns to go fish one of his brook trout streams. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: A Swan Song
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 7:13 am 
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Brown Trout

Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:12 pm
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From the pics I've seen from you Va. guys over the years, the brookies up there get much bigger than here in NC.


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 Post subject: Re: A Swan Song
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 10:32 am 
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Brown Trout

Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:32 am
Posts: 758
Here's a buddies 10-11"er from Jackson county.

Image


My personal best is around 14", but that was nearly 15 yrs ago. More recently, about 8-9". That fish was big enough for me to go back and catch it after I have missed it previously. Those SNP fish are brutes. :D I bet there are some big ones out there somewhere in NC. But some of the droughts did some damage to the small headwater streams a few years ago. Not sure if they have had time to recover.


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 Post subject: Re: A Swan Song
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 11:13 am 
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Brown Trout
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:10 pm
Posts: 940
Location: Hartsville, SC
I didn't say there weren't any out there. I said they were rare. There life expectancy is about 3 years. You can't get but so big in 3 years in a small stream. Dan Rankin told me he has found eggs in year old fish. Another biologist told Flyman the same thing. That lets them recover from droughts better than rainbows or browns. Here is a really radical thought. Find out the name of the biologist who is in charge of the streams you fish and give him a call. He can probably help you and you can probably help him, too.


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