Brown trout are probably my favorite of the main three native UP trout. Brookies are like the party fish and rainbow’s are great practice. I’m not sure what it is about brown trout, but to me they have a mystique of purity and excellence. When you land a 20+” brown trout you feel as if you have arrived in trout fishing. These guys can be very picky, and they can also be massively aggressive. They are known to chomp on a mouse fly at night, or swallow the delicate nymph during the day.
They tend to favor the warmer water over rainbow’s and certainly brookies. So not all rivers will have all three fish. Some of the big browns fatten up on inland lakes. There is also a great lakes strain similar to the great lakes rainbow. Both the inland and Great Lakes fish move into the rivers during certain feeding periods or to spawn in the fall.
I love fishing for these guys in the dark of the night during fly hatches. You can hear them slurp the water’s surface and might catch a ripple in the moonlight. Put your fly right over that same spot and your sure to get a big hit. This is when you’ll find the big guys come out from under the logs to play. But just because you have a hit doesn’t mean you’ll get to touch him. The first thing they do is try to head back to their safe log.
Most trout like to hide among the shadows of logs and grass. These fish are the masters of camouflage. I’ve put my fly over some gnarly tangles thinking nothing was in there to see a monster emerge.