Blight OR Blessing?

Discussion in 'Fly Tying, Trout Fishing' started by spinner, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. spinner

    spinner Staff Member


    I am a warm water angler and cold water angler. My favorite cold water fish to chase is a brown trout. It is a combination of size and savvy that attracts me to a big brown trout. The top end or hottest temperature for a brown trout is 70 or 72 degrees. The bigger brown trout can tolerate a little warmer temperatures. Brown Trout need cold water to exist.


    In 2011 a young neighborhood kid showed me the 2 massive smallies he caught on the Pine River right in town. I dismissed his catches as flukes. Generally, smallmouth bass prefer streams with maximum summer water temperatures that exceed 72.5 degrees. A couple days later the he and his brothers came across the street to show me their latest smallmouth they had caught.


    I have fished for smallies before. I caught them occasionally when I was northern pike fishing in Gays Mills on the Kickapoo River. This is a warm water fishery and I don't really like the taste of smallies so I don't target them. The amount of smallies being caught in my best BIG BROWN trout water was troubling to me. Was my favorite waterway warming up drastically and were my trout going to be pushed out by smallies? The evidence was mounding up and it was too much to ignore.

    Two weeks later the brothers showed me a couple more fatties they had caught on the Pine River. I was really puzzled and worried about this spike in the smallmouth population in my favorite cold water stream. Warmer water means less trout in my book and I was genuinely concern.

    Smallmouth bass fight like their tails are on fire. They are pound for pound the best fighting fish out there but I do not target them because I do NOT fish for sport alone and smallies taste like mud when prepared.

    Smallmouth bass brings out the tournament Bass Master folks and the $125,000 bass boats with Babe Wikelman and other well known smallie experts. This alarmed me at first. I then thought about the Pine River as being a small waterway and the lack of access to big boats..... and I then calmed down.

    2011 season closed and I forgot about the smallie invasion.

    2012 found me in late May on my favorite big trout stream and I landed an 18 and 19 inch smallie.



    I caught a few more smallies on the pine in 2012. I noticed my numbers of brown trout were down dramatically from years past. My water temperatures had gone up 6 degrees also.

    I read about the Wolf River up north warming up so much in the summer that the browns move out and it is a good smallie destination. I would not trade any of my big brown trout for a nasty tasting smallmouth bass.

    2013 came and I caught a few browns from the pine river in richland county. The numbers of browns were seriously down again and water temperatures showed that same thread of a 6 degree increase.

    I have been fishing the pine a lot in the last three weeks. My brown trout number and smallie numbers are about even.

    I fished the pine two days ago and actually pulled my panther martin away from three decent smallies and had a hook up at shore with a 20 inch range smallie but lost it.

    Today my friend Brian Waldner caught 2 sweet smallies on the pine. The one below made the drag scream and Brian had to tighten it to land the red eyed demon.



    In the 20 years I have fished the Pine River, I have only caught one smallie and that was about 10 years ago. I assumed the pine would get colder because of all of the habitat improvement on tributaries of the pine. My guess is these have zero temperature effect on my once "Big" BROWN Trout water.

    I am seriously alarmed by the smallmouth numbers in the Pine River. The Pine River was the reported recently in a kiss and tell book as the best place in Wisconsin to catch a big brown trout. I am seriously questioning that statement these days and worrying about my stream warming up enough to support a thriving population of smallmouth bass!!!