Commonly referred to as Browns!
The brown trout was first introduced into Australia in 1864 via fertilised eggs received from Tasmania and were latter introduced into W.A. in 1931. They were originally discovered in Europe and western Asia where they are known to reach lengths of over one meter and weigh as much as 16kg! Big browns are the Mecca of fresh water fishing throughout southern Australia and have eluded even the best anglers over the years gaining them a reputation of being the most highly regarded southern, fresh water species available today.
Brown trout can be located throughout W.A. from the majestic south west north to Harvey dam in most of our beloved fresh water rivers, streams and man made catchments. They are also found in S.A., VIC and N.S.W. with Tasmania proving to be the ultimate Brown trout locality in the country!
Brown trout can grow to over one meter in length and reach staggering weights of up to 16kg although most browns encountered here in mainland Australia averaging around 500grams to 1kg with anything over 2kg considered to be large! Male brown trout grow much faster than females as do fish living in lakes as opposed to streams. Spawning for browns throughout Australia can be quite difficult depending on water levels etc but generally occurs between the months of May and August. Brown trout have an amazing and uncanny knack of making their way back to the exact stream location they were originally hatched. These spawning locations generally have a gravel bottom with plenty of oxygenated water passing over it. On arrival the female will dig a nest or redd with her tail and deposit between 4000 and 12,000 eggs. The male brown then fertilizes the eggs with his milt before the female moves further up stream to dig another. The action of the second redd being dug out sends loose gravel and debris down stream covering the initial breeding site and protecting it during the following cold, winter months. The eggs eventually hatch in spring and both the male and female browns may use the same breeding site for more than three years.
Brown trout prefer fresh water locations such as rivers, streams and man made water catchments. They congregate under and around heavy structures such as logs and gravel banks with larger rocks and boulders present.
Brown trout can be easily recognised by their long, narrow bodies that are olive green to golden, brown in colouration across the back and silver to yellow leading down the sides to a yellowish white belly. Red and brown spotted markings are also present on the head, body and gill cover and the front dorsal fin has a slightly reddish tinge. Younger specimens have a forked tail which fills out to form a square, flat tail in older fish.
Although large, wild, brown trout should be released for breeding smaller, brood stock specimens released by hatcheries are reasonable eating especially when smoked or baked.
Big, browns have plenty of power especially when they are headed into heavy cover or hooked on ultra light fly outfits.
Ultra light and light graphite spin rods 6’6” – 7’ in length that will cope with gel spun and braided lines rated from 1 – 4kg are ideally suited to targeting brown trout and when coupled with quality spin reels in the 1000 – 2500 class make excellent outfits for throwing both baits and lures. Larger outfits spooled with heavier 10 – 12lb nylon line can also be used when targeting larger fish around heavy cover with baits but will struggle to cast small hard bodied and soft plastic lures. Fluoro carbon leaders with breaking strains of 2 – 10lb should also be joined to mainlines via an improved albrite knot and not only prevent the fish from seeing your brightly coloured main line but also help from being chaffed of on rough structures. Light fly outfits rated between #4 – #6 weight are also ideal for targeting browns and have proven to be not only incredibly challenging and rewarding to master but also extremely effective on larger, elusive specimens.
Fresh or live earth worms and night crawlers, mud eyes as well as grass hoppers and other large insects are an ideal bait option for chasing big browns and should be fished on a pattern and size of hook that’s suit’s the bait. Bait holder styled hooks are ideal for most situations. Hard bodied, soft plastic, sub surface, metal spoons and bladed lures from 50mm – 100mm in length will also temp big browns into striking with this exciting new style of fishing really taking off amongst all anglers from beginners to the pro’s over the last few years. Many fresh water clubs are now being formed to encourage fresh water fishing throughout W.A.
Try rubbing a couple of drops of aniseed oil on your hands before commencing fishing for trout, this will encourage shy fish to actively feed and is considered to be illegal in some countries due to its efficiency for attracting fish. Always fish as light as possible for trout this includes sinkers, lines and leaders. Quality lures and fresh baits will always catch you better quality fish and casting lures is much more fun and often more productive than fishing with bait. Always take note of the surroundings and try to be as quiet as possible!
Brown trout will happily feed during most times of day depending on location.