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Dog Days Trout

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The weeds are up to your armpits.  You have to step down the weeds just to cast.  Your casting window is severely lessened due to foliage and nearly casting while standing on your head.  You finally get a hook up and you set it. This is a big one.  Your heart is racing and then it happens. That little space in the weeds you stomped down just became smaller.  Your spinning reel sucks a weed into the bale and that trout you were battling seized the opportunity to escape due to the slack in your line and it is gone.

You stand there afterward and try to assess what  you did wrong.  Maybe you could have stepped down a bigger area?  You dismiss this right away because the weeds being stepped down would alert that huge trout.  Your only option to increase your windows and chance of landing that big trout is to get in the water.

The next hole you get to you try your theory out.  Big trout live in outdoor fortresses.  Your getting in the water idea was good in theory but hard to actually achieve and get a good casting opening and battle area.  This is not considering the wading in log jams and treacherous  steps in stream.  The water in these big trout hideouts vary in depth from two to eight feet in one step.  A wading bet is a must for these folks that are Kamikaze Anglers and go into stream where the feeble dare not go.

This combat fishing is not for everyone.  It is like doing aerobics while fishing.  Don't make a plan of hitting lots of water if you are up to the top of your waders and mining log jams for big trout.  I guess unless you want to catch tiny trout and are not skilled enough to Kamikaze Fish.  You could always go to the Trout Theme Parks and fish a well manicured stream with ten inchers being the target.

There are a few other tricks to try in these days.  Looking back at my log books I found the last large trout I caught and kept in 1998.  My keeps have dramatically decreased in the last fifteen years but this fish was a true science experiment.

It was August 9th ,1998 and the skies had opened and dropped some serious rain on the southwest corner of Wisconsin.  I had not had much success with spinners right after rain but this was four days after a major rain event.  The streams were stained and high and they were coming down fast.  I remembered my dad fishing right after major rain events with worms, from upstream with a fly rod. .  I have opted to not fish with worms due to the mortality with worms.

So this was four or five days after a gully washer.  Those large trout my dad caught after lots of rain on worms have always been in the back of my mind from decades ago.  I decided the water was clear enough to fish. The water was not really clear and the trout were less spooky and you could get closer to them.   I put on a silver panther martin in a size 9 and cast up in a feed through and slowed down my retrieved to get a little deeper and to give the trout a little longer look at my lure.  It worked like a charm. A big black weighted wooly bugger under an indicator would work good too.  The dark color would be easily seen by the mad feasting beast.

The fish immediately headed towards cover.  I never fish with a flimsy rod and muscled the trout to the surface.  It was an odd colored female.  It had hardly any spots on it and was shaped like a football.  It fought like a much bigger fish because of its girth.  I finally netted it.

Back then I typically let all big fish go but this one was an oddity.  It was just so fat.  It nearly looked like it was going to burst.  The final straw that made me keep this round female was when I went to unhook her.  There were three or four crawlers literally hanging out of her mouth.  This fish was obviously not hungry but hit my spinner anyway.  I needed to do a little research.

I went home immediately with my science experiment.  I cleaned her and was in awe of what I found.  Counting the crawlers hanging out of her mouth and in her stomach there were over one hundred crawlers.  She also had four crab pincers and two small minnows in her stomach.  This mad scientist was flabbergasted.  Why did this trout with a distended stomach and three different food sources in her stomach hit my spinner?

I have no specialized training in trout but I do have common sense and life experience.  Eating is a task of survival.  Trout have a brain the size of a pea.  They eat instinctively to survive.  This trout had the feedbag on for three or four days and was in a nonstop feeding frenzy, even though its stomach was about to burst.  After years of fishing a few days after a big rain I have seen this type of feeding frenzy in trout.  The rhyme or reason for the binge eating is a mystery to me.

My tips for the summer angler are put on those waders, make sure your wading belt is on, and go right into the thickest trout environment in the area with a stiff fishing rod right after a major rain event and hang on!


The crab claws will not pass and will be regurgitated.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • I don't have near the birds featherslayer has. My groups were one gobbler with three or four  hens. There was zero gobbling on the roost both mornings. When they hit the ground there was a lot of gobbling and strutting for a couple of hours. The one I shot this morning answered my calls a  couple of times but was out of sight the whole while. He stopped gobbling for a hour and a half when suddenly there was a gobble and close. I called a little bit and he popped out of the trees about eighty yards away and stood there in full strut and just checked things out. Did some soft calling and here he came in full strut and went right to my jake decoy and gave him a beat down. That was all it wrote for him. Classic case of him losing his hens and coming to check out that hen he had answered after flydown. This is a little area I'm hunting and I had let a jake go last year and I'm hoping this was him. Good luck to the rest of our teammates.
    • On my first sit right now. 40 birds in the field, at least 5 shooters, 2 of those are very nice. Think they have to come by me to roost. Fingers crossed.
    • Good job buddy. Glad to see you wiped that skunk off the new bow.
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    • I would always use tree tubes for any hardwoods. If it's small enough to need a tube for protection from deer, rabbits, other... than use the tube. If your putting in the time and money to plant them, you might as well protect them.    Lots of them are on the market. I have only used one type of tube myself. Tubex- combitudes (spelling?). If you are worried about deer you should get the 5 foot tubes. Since that is about the upper limit of their browsing heights. I've used the fiberglass green stakes from L & M instead of buying the stakes from tree tubes suppliers. The only problems i have had so far is a curious bear, who wanted to chew a few tubes.    The other thing you should think about talking to your local DNR forester. They can help you to make sure you are planting trees that are correct for your soils. And may be able to help financially to purchase tubes.    Hope this helps, 
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    • good luck Zach!