The ice is starting to form on the lakes above 7,000 feet on the Rim and in the White Mountains where only the most diehard anglers are still wetting a line. They are in pursuit of lunker size German brown trout that are trying to spawn in these high mountain lakes.
Under ideal situations, these fish would find a stream feeding the main body of water and swim into a spawning gravel bed.
Most of these lakes do not have those tributaries, so pairs of golden-bodied browns cruise the rocky shoreline looking for a likely area to spawn. This usually happens in the fall, but because of the milder weather conditions it is still occurring on some lakes. There is a chance to catch one of these 3-pound-plus fighters for those brave purists who can withstand the cold temperatures.
Local angler Josh Reid has been doing this for years and has developed a technique that has been effective in catching true trophy trout in the 5- to 10-pound range. He has fished almost every White Mountains and Rim impoundment that holds the brightly colored autumn German browns. It is surprising to note that some of these waters during the summer have hundreds of fishermen lining the shores to catch the hatchery trout that are stocked weekly but, with early winter conditions, he is often the only person on some of these lakes.
“I actually hunt the fish, so it is important to have little or no breeze, which allows me to look into the shallow water with a good pair of polarized glasses. The greater the distance I see them, the better chance I have in catching one of these lunkers,” Josh said.
Long casts and pinpoint accuracy are a necessity, which gives the angler an advantage, so quality equipment is a must.
It is hard to believe, but Josh uses a medium action six-and-a-half-foot bait casting rod with a Shimano Chronarch Mg bait casting reel, which is ideal for bass fishing on Roosevelt Lake.
He explained, “A rod with plenty of backbone and the action to make long casts is a must for fall trophy trout fishing.”
Once he hooks a big brown, a rod and reel combo of this type is needed to land these fighting machines.
In the fall Josh spends most of his fishing time on shallow rocky shorelines, which appear to be a favorite spawning area for German browns. On the local Rim lakes, this would be the rock dams and spillway areas, which have this kind of boulder structure.
Another target area for spawning browns would be underwater points that have gravel and rock bottoms.
The weather is frigid and the bites are few, but to catch that 5-pound trophy trout makes it all worthwhile.
This weekend, take a friend fishing and enjoy God’s creation.