2017 Fall Field Campaign – Brownzilla!!!

From the measurement and fishing guy…   What are the chances???

Yesterday we touched on record lows here in Rochester NY as the Fall Field Campaign continued.  The temperatures never got above freezing and the winds made the chill very biting (more so than the fish) but Jay Peck and I still managed to find an area to sight fish for some aggressive spawning trout. My fish of the day was a really colorful 15 pound male and Jay also netted a very plump hen in the 12 pound range.

Unlike fishing in Yellowstone National Park where the air temps can start out in the single digits, the water in the Madison River tends to be fairly warm compared to Little Sandy Creek in NY.  In the Park, the water is in the upper 40’s and low 50’s but here the water is in the mid to high 30’s.  This means that a fly fisherman spends a considerable amount of the day “chipping” the ice accumulation out of the guides along the fly rod. On the Madison River, a fisherman just needs to dip the rod in the water to remove the ice.  In NY, that only makes the condition worse.

More importantly, we stumbled upon Brownzilla (again) and managed to get some excellent close up portraits.  As we were concluding the day, we went to Jim Metcalf’s adult playground and just as we arrived his friend John was about to net a very large Hen.  Turns out, it was the same fish that Jay had visit his net 48 hours earlier a half mile downstream! 

So what are the odds that this epic outlier would be at Jim’s and caught just as Jay and I were arriving on the scene?  A million to one?  Two Million to one?  All I know is that the sun came out just in time for me to capture some terrific close up photos.  See attached.  Now it’s official that the largest Brown trout landed in this region happened in Jim’s back yard.  Very fitting.

What a privilege it was to see up close, touch and photograph this amazing animal. On the drive back to the shop, Jay and I were trying to estimate the fishes age and life’s journey in Lake Ontario.  It’s possible that there may be larger trout migrating out of the Lake to spawn but the chances of catching them on a fly is certainly remote.

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We are still hunting for the 20 pound male and we have a good chance of finding him over the weekend before the campaign sunsets.

Enjoy and more pictures of Brownzilla to follow.

T.O

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