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NBrevitz  
#1 Posted : Thursday, May 19, 2016 8:32:37 PM(UTC)
NBrevitz
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I'm not normally someone who enjoys fishing for hatchery fish. They're frankly too easy to catch, they tend to draw crowds, and they'll swallow even the largest of baits, meaning you'd better bring a creel even if you're chucking #9s all day. Not to mention that they quit fighting pretty damn quick on ultralight gear. My friend does not share the same opinion, and after I failed to put him on some Rainbows on the MN Opener in favor of 15" Browns, he was more than a little upset. "I want my damn stockers, Brevis". Soon after, I told him that a heavily fished body of water had just been stocked, and off we went. In between the never ending wall of silver bullets, I managed to hook and lose a very large fish. This dude was no brooder, it cleared the water by a good 2-3 feet and peeled drag with an authority reserved for Steelhead... He shook the hook and headed past my feet in the general direction of Wausau...

I decided at that point to explore further from the bridges in future trips. Tuesday was the second of those trips. I walked alone into undesignated water, dead set on finding a leviathan. The wall of stockers interrupted me at the start, but I was unfazed. I encountered a long stretch of dead water, but having reviewed the stretch on google maps, I knew better prospects were ahead. About 400 yards later, I broke free into better water.

I came to a long deep bend along a limestone bluff about 20 feet high. A nice holdover Brown of about 15" was there to greet my arrival, and put up an excellent fight before I turned him loose.
UserPostedImage

Another holdover of the same length soon followed, along with some very migratory stockers, and I was beginning to wonder how long I could keep this up. Wasn't this water supposed to be dead? The next 150 yards produced another couple holdovers around 15", including a Rainbow that managed to jump onto the bank, jump back into the water, then jump over my net. Nothing like a fresh planter. This fish fought just as hard as a wild Rainbow.
UserPostedImage

Just before I had planned to turn around, I came to a deep bend with timber cover. What a spot to finally hook into a beastly Brown. About 3 casts in, I thought I had hung up onto a log, until said log began to move downstream. My rod began to creak, and I uttered more than a few expletives as line peeled off my reel. About 5 minutes and several close calls later, I got the fish in close and netted the biggest inland Rainbow of my life.
UserPostedImage

She measured in at 19" and probably at or around 5 lbs, with no signs of the hatchery. I thought of smoking her, but after the battle she had just waged, I had too much respect for the old girl. I slipped her back into the stream and watched her slowly push back to her hide. I think I'll target holdovers more often this summer.

Edited by user Thursday, May 19, 2016 8:34:17 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
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Guillermo  
#2 Posted : Thursday, May 19, 2016 10:48:17 PM(UTC)
Guillermo
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I always find it amazing how much more color a holdover fish has even after only one year in the stream, as opposed to a freshly stocked one. Nice pics.
big_river_bum  
#3 Posted : Friday, May 20, 2016 6:56:39 AM(UTC)
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I like the spots on that browns head. don't usually see them go so far down on the top of the head
AutobotTrainer  
#4 Posted : Friday, May 20, 2016 7:21:00 AM(UTC)
AutobotTrainer
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Location: Ely, IA

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NBrevitz wrote:
I'm not normally someone who enjoys fishing for hatchery fish.


At this first sentence I knew this was going to be one hell of a write up! Great pics and story Brevitz.

No thing created by man is infallible.
trapper  
#5 Posted : Friday, May 20, 2016 3:14:55 PM(UTC)
trapper
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Great report.

See you soon@ Troutstock 2016
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West Branch  
#6 Posted : Friday, May 20, 2016 6:50:34 PM(UTC)
West Branch
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Joined: 9/23/2012(UTC)
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Location: West Branch, IA

The difference between a freshly stocked trout and one that's been in the stream for a year--or five years-- is like night and day. The evidence is everywhere, but there is always one thing that convinces the doubters. Walk up to the race in any trout hatchery and the rainbows will actually swim towards you looking for a handout of trout chow. Dump those same rainbows in a stream and they're still looking for a free lunch. This is not normal trout behavior.

Fishery biologists in Iowa finally figured out that some of us actually look for trout that are a challenge to catch. Stocking of adult browns was halted in 2007. Any brown trout you catch in Iowa is either stream born or stocked as a fingerling. The French Creek strain of brown trout is well adapted to Iowa streams and is thriving in the better waters.

On a recent outing I caught about 40 fish, of which only six appeared to be recently stocked. The rest were gorgeous wild browns and lovely holdover rainbows of various sizes from 4" to 16". The stockers were all about 11" and looked really beat up.

As my buddy would say about your holdover rainbows, "I caught a big holdover rainbow at that last pool. His hair was perfect."

s.t.fanatic  
#7 Posted : Saturday, May 21, 2016 5:32:49 AM(UTC)
s.t.fanatic
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This is one of the reasons I only fish Minnesota.
NBrevitz  
#8 Posted : Saturday, May 21, 2016 9:22:29 AM(UTC)
NBrevitz
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Thanks guys. And as several of you stated, the difference in freshly stocked vs holdover is night and day. Color scheme, fins, vitality, quality of meat... Just about anything you can think of.
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
NBrevitz  
#9 Posted : Saturday, May 21, 2016 9:25:56 AM(UTC)
NBrevitz
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 3/16/2013(UTC)
Posts: 1,366
Man
Location: Lake Elmo, Mn

Thanks: 49 times
Was thanked: 35 time(s) in 30 post(s)
s.t.fanatic wrote:
This is one of the reasons I only fish Minnesota.

Lots of killer Brookie creeks right across the river...
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
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