Low water Browns
Mark Radz
Steelheader Contributor
  Iím a three season trout fisherman. Iíd fish all four, but here in New York most flowing waters are closed the last day of September. I just love my troutiní. Summer drawdown, Iím still out there at it, although it presents a different approach than normal, and is more of a challenge. Itís been increasingly difficult with a string of droughts weíve experienced here in the northeast the past several years. But the fish are still there and available with the right techniques. Fishing the right places with the proper presentation still produces and at times some large ones.
  We all know how a "brownie" loves and relates to structure. Where a brook or rainbow may feel comfortable with a foot or two of fast moving water over it, the brown doesnít. Under drawdown conditions, in pools with large rocks or logs present, the daytime hours find most browns underneath them. They are still catchable, but this becomes a night time proposition. But weíre going to be concentrating on daytime fishing here. So where to go?
  If you trout fish a lot, you no doubt know of some pools with little or no structure present, that still run deep despite rainfall. If not, scout some out early in the season. With four or five feet of water over them a brown seems to feel secure. What weíre saying here is that this deeper water can be considered "structure" for them.
  Of course the water is going to be running gin clear. Presentation is everything. First, a downstream, preferably out of the water approach, is imperative. A trouts eye is built to see in all directions, excepting directly behind them. By staying out of the water, we negate there ability to hear your approach, or quite possibly, sense your motion through their lateral line.
  Many trout fishermen go to gossamer thin line, and tiny hooks, with equally small offerings. I donít and seen to enjoy more success. Allow me to explain.
  Trout are forced under these conditions to eat many small meals. Gone is much of the minnow and crayfish population. No large terrestrials are washing into their lies. Hatches may be occurring but these can be sporadic and are often small rarely offering a mouth full. They may also occur at night. What Iíve found in this situation is that browns are suckers for a large offering. But, I canít emphasize this enough Ė the presentation has to be perfect.
  My choice of bait at this time of year is a larger nightcrawler. They seem to be attracted to the opportunity to have one large meal for the day rather than having a forage or wait for what nature happens to wash downstream. I have to use a relatively large hook for this sometimes up to number four. It doesnít seem to affect my success. I also stay within my standard 8lb test line. Maybe they see it maybe they donít but it too doesnít seem to bother them. Minnow fishermen should also think big Ė four or five inches long is not over kill. Fly fishermen snip off that number 22 imitation and tie on something substantial. At first , in all cases, going this large will go against your grain but you will soon be convinced otherwise.
  In many cases you will get only one drift per pool. Your offering will wash by them, they will either take it or if they donít it will settle to the bottom behind them. Youíre eventually forced to reel in and this usually spooks every trout in the pool. If this occurs it takes a long time for them to settle down.
  Cast your chosen lure well upstream of where you think they are holding. Itís preferable that they donít see it enter the water at all. And they wonít hear it either because the larger offering means you will need no additional weight in the way of split shot or lead putty.
  Let the current do the rest. Be sure to have enough slack to allow a completely natural drift. If your using live bait, and nothing strikes immediately allow it to rest on the bottom for a while. Sometimes they will move from their lie and pick it up. If your fortunate and current is sufficient and it drifts back past you; repeat the process. As previously mentioned, if youíre forced to reel it in within their sight it is of course a completely unnatural motion and the trout will be on to you. Trout can if you wish wait a considerable amount of time and eventually they will forget but Iím not that patient. I usually move on to another pool.
  I know that thinking big rather than small during drawdown goes against commonly held beliefs but it works. Along with this article you will see a photo I took of a beautiful hook jawed male brown caught in about three feet of water on a whole crawler in August.
Mark Raedz is an Outdoor Writer and Photographer from New York, USA.

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