Saturday, 8 January 2011

A Personal Best Brown Trout

This year the Environment agency have abolished the closed season for brown trout in fully enclosed stillwaters. This is a change I fully support for the following reasons:
  • Wild brown trout in stillwaters spawn in feeder streams and thus retaining the closed season in stillwaters that are not fully enclosed protects this valuable resource.
  • Most stillwaters nowadays are artificially stocked with triploid trout (this is achieved by heat treating the eggs). Triploid fish look, swim, jump, and taste like normal fish, except for one important difference; they never develop normal eggs or sperm and are unable to reproduce (i.e. they are sterile and never lose condition).
  • The closed season for rainbow trout on stillwaters was removed some years ago and retaining one for brown trout was inconsistent.
Tim Small owner of Lechlade Trout Fishery has stocked a number of large brown trout this winter.I arrived to find Lechlade thankfully free of ice. With visibility poor I had little chance of stalking a brown trout so I decided to fish deep with lures that might be seen to imitate fish fry. After a couple of hours I was still fishless despite rods bending all around me. A brief spell with a "blinged out" terry's tadpole saw me land a six pound rainbow.

Walking round the lake I noticed that one lucky angler had caught a brace of large browns from under a tree by the island. When the spot became vacant I dropped in and spent the whole afternoon in this area resting the water regularly. I had two fish in quick succession on a white nomad; a rainbow trout of about seven pounds and a new personal best brown trout of 8lb 11oz.

Next cast a double figure brown followed the fly in and I saw the white of it's mouth open as I 'hung' the fly prior to recasting. Unfortunately it changed it's mind and despite changing flies regularly I could only provoke follows. With half an hour to go until dusk I finally had a solid take, unfortunately it was just an average rainbow which completed my limit.

Will we see large numbers of specimen brown trout being stocked into our trout fisheries as a result of this legislation? I suspect not as rainbows grow fast and are much easier, quicker and therefore cheaper to produce. Tim Small is an exception, he breeds his own fish and is keen to provide the trout angler with the chance to catch big browns through the winter.

Postscript: I returned to Lechlade the following Sunday and the browns were noticeable by their absence. I hard to work hard on a difficult day for my limit of four stockie rainbows. On Lechlade even the stockies are around six pounds!