Dan Peschler (left) holding a 17-pound male brown and Jay Reed holding his little sister. Photo by Glen Peschler.
Brown trout are more structure-oriented and warm water-tolerant than other salmonids. This keeps them in areas where the thermocline either hugs bottom or hovers a short distance above it.
“We get browns every year in July, 75 to 100 feet deep,” said Captain Jay Reed as we motored out of the Salmon River late last week. “This year they’re only 45 to 60 feet deep.”
He wasn't complaining. In times of $4-something gas, the shallower you troll, the cheaper the trip.
Reed attributes their behavior to this year’s unusual meteorological events. “Normally, we get winds out of the west. Currently we’re getting a lot out of the southeast, which pushes the warm water out and the cold, bottom layer in. The bait likes temperatures in the low 60s and this year that’s much shallower than normal,” claims Capt. Reed.
That morning he and his first mate took several clients out and they nailed their limits, including a 17-pounder any mother would be proud to see on her kid’s wall. Another went 14 pounds, and the rest averaged eight.
I wanted to see for myself. The good captain accepted my challenge. A little while later, we’re trolling less than two miles off shore, between the Salmon River and Selkirk Shores state park.
We fished a Michigan Stinger and Evil Eye off downriggers set 45 to 55 feet deep (the first mate kept adjusting their depth); and Michigan Stingers off a Dipsy Diver and on lead core let out 12 colors.
In less than two hours we boated a couple browns averaging six pounds; during the brightest time of day no less (they bite best around dawn and dusk).
Capt. Reed expects the browns to remain shallow for as long as we continue getting a lot of rain and winds coming out of the southeast.