Friday, January 13, 2023

Stop Asking "Where", and Start Asking "How", to Turn Your Trout Fishing Trips Into Adventures

Jeremy Troutman working some small brookie water.

"Where did you catch that fish?" "Nice fish! Where were you fishing?" "Where at?"

Stop asking these questions. Yes, that is an order. I understand the curious nature of fisherman, but these questions are keeping you from a world of adventure with your trout fishing. If you are on a social media platform and see someone post a nice fish, instead of asking "Where" start asking "How". Most people who are consistently catching large or beautiful wild trout put a ton of time in to find these fish. When you ask them "Where" it is honestly like asking for a couple hundred dollars as a gift. Sounds crazy, but all the time and gas money spent finding these spots adds up fast. So, if you ask someone for the location they caught that fish, why would you think they would just give that to you? Would you expect a total stranger to just hand you the sixty dollars in gas that they just spent to catch that fish or expect them to hand sixty dollars to all the people who may read that reply on that social media platform?

Dusty Rhoads with one of his mega brown trout. See Dusty in action on his YouTube
"Chasing the Wild with Dusty Rhodes" 

Too many people today want an easy path to success. They want it, and they want it now. They do not want to struggle or put the time in to achieve their goals, they just want them. People see some individuals catching nice trout on a regular basis and they want that too. They don't realize that the person who posted that fish has dedicated a large part of their life to be able to consistently catch fish like that. What's worse is these people get offended when the angler will not reveal the location.

When I get these types of questions, I send the link to my "Blue Line Like a Beast Article". I spent so much time filling that article with tons of information on most of the steps that I use when chasing wild trout. That article can help build an angler a solid foundation to start finding and fishing for wild trout, if only they would take the time to read it. I am not being a jerk by not giving out the locations that I am fishing, I am just making you work for it like I did. I want you to experience the satisfaction of doing research, developing a plan, and making it happen. Doing things like that are ways to get the most out of your fishing trips. When you start asking the "How" questions you will be surprised how much the individuals are willing to share. I can promise you that you won't be getting their stream locations, but you will start gaining knowledge. This knowledge will be far more valuable to you than catching that twenty-inch brown that the poster shared a photo of.

Stegosaurus Brown Trout I caught

Never before has there been so many tools at your fingertips to turn your fishing trips into adventures. I want to persuade you to get out of your comfort zone and put in some effort. I want you to take some risks and venture into the unknown.  Sometimes the stream is a flop but other times you find a Mecca of fish.  There is nothing more satisfying than doing the research on a stream and having an excellent fishing trip. In my home state of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has a wide variety of tools like fishing reports and interactive maps, to stocking schedules that tell you the exact gps coordinates to the stocking locations of streams.

This wild tiger should get an award for the most requested "Where were you fishing" questions of all of the fish I have caught in my life.
Instead of asking people where they caught their fish, I urge you to put in the time and effort into researching your state's program that governs the sport of fishing and dive into all the resources that are available to you. Learn about the different classifications of trout streams, stocking programs, special regulation waters, case studies on streams, etc. Use the search function on the pages and type in a stream that you may be looking to fish or a specific species that you are trying to target. When you start to put in the effort and truly learn the resources available, you will be amazed at what results you can get.

PA Fish Commission Website
I was old school and started my adventures by looking at topographic maps and seeking out blue lines that looked to be obtainable and within my reach. In today’s fishing world you can use your states resources and all sorts of apps that label streams with Class A designations, stocked trout water, and even streams with natural trout reproduction. Once you find a potential stream to fish put your time in on Google and learn as much as you can about that stream. These advances save so much time compared to old school blue lining and stream finding.   USE THIS!

Example of a topo map I would use while targeting brookies

One of my favorite responses or posts is "I live too far away from any wild trout waters, can someone take me out?" With all the advances listed above, there is no reason that one cannot put in the time, to locate an area with multiple wild trout streams and develop a game plan. When I am doing research on new streams, I always try to pick an area with multiple stream options. You can look at google maps and see exactly how long it will take you to get to a place. You can even go to the street view and look for places to park and get an idea of what the canopy of the stream will be like.  For example, Let's say the closest wild trout area is two hours away from you.  This means that you will have to get up at four to be at the stream at six. Looking at a map you may see that you will have to walk roughly a mile, so add that time into the time it takes you to be on the water. I try to plan as best I can to be on the stream and able to fish at daylight. Depending on how far the walk in is going to be, I will often start walking to the stream a half hour before sunrise. With my busy schedule most of my trips are only two to three hours so I need to be spot on with my time calculations.  To catch extraordinary fish, you have to do extraordinary research. In my opinion these types of questions are more of a "I don't want to put the time in to do my own research so please take me to your spot" statements than questions.

Absolutely stunning native brook trout I caught on an adventure
When you start figuring out how to find your own streams, and plan adventures around that, you will wonder why you haven't been fishing like that your whole life. The excitement of the unknown, and the thrill of landing fish on unfamiliar waters is second to none. It is so rewarding to put in the time and research to catch trout. Most of all it is a way to expand your fishing time. If the weather is bad or streams are blown out, you can always start planning your next adventure and putting your time in researching. If you are reading this blog post, you have everything you need to start researching and finding streams. The next time you find yourself typing “Where” please take a minute and ask the “How” questions and see where it takes you.

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