ED GILBERT: Fishing for ‘dumb’ trout

By Ed Gilbert • Last Updated 10:00 am on Monday, January 27, 2014

I know it’s ice fishing time, and it’s also time to do some winter stream fishing for trout or salmon. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting to the age where sitting on frozen water or wading a freezing stream just isn’t as appealing as it used to be.

I’d much rather do some trout fishing in the spring, for rainbow, brown or brook trout.

Now, most fishers will say that trout are smart, and I can agree when it comes to rainbow or brown trout. However, the brookies seem to be about the dumbest fish in the river.

Allow an explanation. It all goes back to the time when my father raised all three of those species of trout for the old Conservation Department.

Well now, a river did run through the middle of his 18 trout ponds, and its waters were shunted off in various locations in order to feed those ponds, which contained hundreds of thousands of fish.

Back in those days the legal length for a trout was seven inches, and one could keep 25 in a single day. My buddies and I would often limit out and thus keep an ample supply of fish in our mom’s freezers.

And then, one summer, we discovered a new angle for our angling. About every two weeks during the summer months a Conservation hatchery truck would show up, and dad and several of his employees would net thousands of fish from several ponds and pour them into tanks on that truck. Then the truck would take off for parts unknown to distribute or “plant” those fish in various streams around the area.

Well, us kids found that we could secretly follow that truck in my mom’s old World War II Jeep and see where those fish were put into the streams. Then we’d wait a few minutes to let the truck move on and we’d move in for the kill!.

And then it was that we discovered brook trout were the dumbest fish in the stream. The browns and rainbows that were released would quickly disperse, while the brook trout would simply remain in the area in which they were released. We could have stood right there and caught every one of them if we wanted to. Those fish would hit at anything we threw in the water!

Now, just in case anyone would like to follow a hatchery truck this coming summer, and load up their larder, I’d better mention that hatchery raised trout take a while to taste good following their release, due to their diet as fingerlings and while growing to legal size.

Yes. it could be fun fishing, although a tad sneaky. But good luck eating them!

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