Michigan-Sportsman.com banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,009 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I was able to fish for Trout the other day.

I'm not in Michigan right now though. I am working on a job on the Daniel Boone National Forest and have been camping some about a mile north of the Tennessee line.

Behind my campsite, at least on the nights it hasn't hit the single digits at least, are some intriguing deep pools. So I threw a spinner in there some a couple times lately. I'm not used to fishing while having to continually knock ice out of the line guides on the rod.

The season is open there right now actually, though catch-and-release only this time of year. There are stocked Brown and Rainbows; intriguingly, no size limit on the Rainbows for some reason, during the regular season. There seem to be Brook Trout around, possibly, though I believe they are strictly catch and release only in Kentucky year-round.

But I really have no idea what Trout are doing right now. I'm thinking they might be in those deep pools. Can't see any in the shallow runs anywhere, though there is just enough turbidity to make them probably difficult to see.

The two times I got a line wet were both late afternoons on bright, sunny, high-pressure days I wouldn't expect a lot of fish activity, even without temps in the low 30s.

So what do Trout do this time of year?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,316 Posts
Where you are at right now could depend on how to answer the question. Is it on one the big rivers with a hydro dam up stream? If so, these fish aren't as badly affected by the cold weather but they will still slow down this time of year. A slow presentation would work best, just like michigan wax worms and the like work well there. Rig a float and let it run through the holes and they should bite. Not much information there, but hopefully that will help some. Oh one more thing, I've noticed when fishing in that area, if is indeed on a river with a big hydro dam upstream fish right after they start generating, especailly with a spinner.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,009 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Nothing but springs above this fishing hole. Beautiful Trout country, almost exactly like where I grew up in the mountains of West Virginia, though about 1000 feet lower.

Bait is banned here during the Catch and Release season, 10-1 to 3-31.

I'll try a few more holes, and a few different spinners (Mepps 00 and Mepps 1 only so far, none of the Panther Martins), maybe a few F5 Rapala, this weekend. Rain moving in Monday, things could get good.

And me without my hip boots, dangit. Usually I bring them south with me and then worry about dragging them around too much and needlessly weakening the cheap Chinese rubber that is due to fail soon. So left them at home this year. Doh.

I figured the fish would be a little slower, though I have a hard time imagining a Trout being slow. The Rapala has always felt like a little slower presentation than a spinner, I'll definitely try those.



I almost hit up a Type 3 stream in the UP in November, but had enough working in the snow to want to get in the water, and days so short right then.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Try tossing some small tube jigs in natural colours. This is probably the slowest presentation you can get without using bait. Small twister tails might work also. Hope you nail a few!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,462 Posts
I actually would target those bright, sunny days. The water will be it's warmest mid day, and the fish at their peak of activity as well. They simply are not sun shy...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,009 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Try tossing some small tube jigs in natural colours. This is probably the slowest presentation you can get without using bait. Small twister tails might work also. Hope you nail a few!
my friends in West Virginia call the little tube jigs "trout magnets". I need to better dial in how to fish those.

I actually would target those bright, sunny days. The water will be it's warmest mid day, and the fish at their peak of activity as well. They simply are not sun shy...
actually I want to start a thread on trout and air pressure sometime soon. mid-day and sunshine though, I will be working most days. the rest of my crew had to return to homes in Indiana to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, so today is an indoor tax/paperwork day. boo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,462 Posts
my friends in West Virginia call the little tube jigs "trout magnets". I need to better dial in how to fish those.



actually I want to start a thread on trout and air pressure sometime soon. mid-day and sunshine though, I will be working most days. the rest of my crew had to return to homes in Indiana to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, so today is an indoor tax/paperwork day. boo.
Anytime I see a "spike" on the way... I try to target it.... Fish small tubes under bobbers, or just fish em. They are indeed gread bait... Particularly "White Illusion"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,407 Posts
I catch them all winter long sometimes in -15 degrees so I would call your weather a heat wave. Most of the time I am standing on a block of ice 10 or more inches thick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
I catch them all winter long sometimes in -15 degrees so I would call your weather a heat wave. Most of the time I am standing on a block of ice 10 or more inches thick
Do you use tube jigs as well? I'm curious because I went out the other day tossing small panther martin spinners like I always do for browns (usually I catch around 10-20) and couldn't get any to hit, which I believe is due to the cold weather.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,304 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,009 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Well I was able to get a line wet on the creek in Kentucky finally yesterday.

It turns out that this particular creek was a Class 4 creek in Kentucky, on a scale of 1 to 4 in quality. It is purely a put-and-take fishery as it gets just a bit too warm to really grow a permanent trout population for the most part.

I fished just a Panther Martin, and had absolutely zero activity with it. I didn't bother switching out lures, instead I just enjoyed checking out the spinner's sink rate and action in the water.

I didn't try anything else because there just weren't any fish. I could see 95% of the channel area and never could see a fish. Couldn't even spook one by deliberately walking up on pools from upstream either.

Eventually I met two other fishermen. They had been on the creek for two days, and had caught only one trout - a nice 13" Rainbow - a lot farther up than where I met them. They were both highly experienced Trout fishermen who had been to this stream many times.

The conclusion we reached was that the stream hadn't been stocked recently as per normal years, something was delayed; perhaps a new schedule had been developed as a decline seems to be setting in on it. When the fish are in this creek, he reported that you can catch and release them all day long, or limit out in about an hour if you want to keep them once the season starts, though there is a lot of poaching, and predators (Otters), and competitors (Smallmouth), and the fishing is only good for a few weeks. And he would still see pods of Trout all the time, but wasn't this weekend. The trout they caught was probably a survivor from the previous summer to be that size.

An Appalachian trout stream is a beautiful place and I enjoyed my couple hours there after working a little shorter day on Saturday. But it also made me that much more thankful to fish streams at home with plentiful natural reproduction.

I might get to try again in KY in a month or so, a bit further east, we'll see.

And I will definitely be more motivated to try the year-round streams at home when I eventually am in Michigan in the winter some year. This thread was pretty helpful about that, thanks everyone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,455 Posts
In a lot of trout streams, and especially outside MI, the fish will hold under undercut banks, rather than things that have fallen into the river, like trees. Instead of running that spinner along logs (I'd still do that, too) all the time, try running along the bank when you can see there is an undercut. Or if you just can't tell. ;)

Small jigs, under a small float, might be the ticket. Very versatile.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,407 Posts
They do get planted on a regular basis but they get lots of pressure right after the planting. I would guess 10 percent die shortly after being planted and 60 percent are caught. There is the other 30 percent of which 20 percent are eaten by wildlife pretty fast. Right now you are fishing for the remaining 10 percent which by now is more than likely 2 percent so good luck.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,009 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
In a lot of trout streams, and especially outside MI, the fish will hold under undercut banks, rather than things that have fallen into the river, like trees. Instead of running that spinner along logs (I'd still do that, too) all the time, try running along the bank when you can see there is an undercut. Or if you just can't tell. ;)

Small jigs, under a small float, might be the ticket. Very versatile.

there usually aren't any undercut banks on rock streams like the one I was fishing. the scour line sits 2' above the average water level, so there isn't even much woody debris in these flash-flood prone systems. just lots of rocks, everywhere. I prefer these to constantly trying to get a presentation in front of that inaccessible structure where the trout live.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,009 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
So I wanted to add a post-script to this thread. A few days after leaving Kentucky I found myself driving up into the Mt. Rogers Recreation Area in SW Virginia. While driving up a paved road I saw a fisherman lift up a brilliant 12" chrome trout out of a stream, around the last day in January. That made me get a lot more interested in winter time trout fishing...

...but it wasn't until I returned to the southern edge of Kentucky in late March that I had any chance to try it again.

By that time, the creek in question had been stocked. In fact the US Forest Service representative checking on the contract I was working on was glad we had that job right then, as he could double-dip and fish on his way home from inspecting our work. He went to a favorite hole with a can of corn and got 6 Trout in an hour ... (more on that shortly) ... stocked Trout are about as smart as Goldfish in a tank, it turns out.

So finally after completing a difficult contract and with tons of the usual labor crew absenteeism, I found myself with just an hour of free time to fish this stream. And one very good employee in my company. I went to the sweetest looking hole I had seen in January and threw in my favorite trusty Panther Martin - #2 bronze blade, yellow body, found in a tree on Bear Creek. On the second cast I got a great hit but only got to see the flash of the side of the fish. On the next cast I returned that Panther Martin to a twig over-hanging the creek for someone with waders to pick up for free.

And since I had a good guy with me, I decided to take him up to some big holes that were much easier to fish and let him get a line wet for our remaining 45 minutes as well.

And then I saw one of the crazier things I have ever seen trout fishing. As we drove up-stream towards a campground I had stayed at in January, we began to realize that the fishing activity on this creek was going full blast. One hole had two people fishing it ... and three people in waders 100 yards upstream, all wading parallel with each other downstream. Seemingly "driving" the Trout, like Deer!

I still can't quite believe I saw that.


We made it to the campground, where three guys were fishing the easy big hole simultaneously, at around noon. We gave up and headed off towards our next job...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,009 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
in late April I found myself on another USFS project, at 4,000 feet in West Virginia. The place was loaded with Trout, and Trout fishermen. Again the mania had just started after a recent stocking effort.

But again an epidemic of absenteeism (young Americans don't want to actually work in the outdoors, they just like the idea of it) kept me from having any time to fish. Less than 30 minutes of wet line in the middle of a native Brook Trout heaven, and at a bad spot - easy for the vehicle and some work-exhausted fishermen, but not enough careful study of the topo map = a too wide shallow stretch with zero cover for the Trout. So still no Trout for 2015 for me.


But I learned a neat thing about West Virginia Trout regs - there is no season. Open all year. "Because where there are Trout it is generally hard to get in there in the winter, so as soon as you feel like getting to the water, you can fish Trout all you want." So it looks like some day I might be able to combine my love of Cross-Country Skiing with a little Trout fishing, that will be fun.... had just never thought of that idea before. I'm always in the south-eastern states in the winter, and though I know Michigan has some catch-and-release Trout waters open in winter months, I've never been into the idea of pure C&R, though I release a lot of Trout when I can fish.


I also learned something else - West Virginia has completely banned Corn as bait for fishing. It seems fish can't digest it and it can cause mortality. I expect the problem isn't so much a kernel of corn coming off a fish-hook so much as someone dumping all the left-over corn in the water when they go home. I used to use corn when I was a kid (yes, for Trout, there in WV, but more for Catfish at my Grandfather's ponds in MO.)

Anyhow I have never heard of this problem with Corn in the water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
332 Posts
Very interesting reads. I am always curious about how other states (east of Mississippi) manage trout and how the crowds are, etc. I work outdoors about 40% of the time and love it; maybe 2 sick days a year.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top