The first time you lay eyes on the pure painted perfection that is an Algoma Country eastern brook trout, there is a good chance you’ll be moved. One of the most aggressive fish in any watershed, brook trout are fantastic adversaries on the fly and readily eat most offerings. From swinging big articulated streamers to dead drifting size 20 blue-winged olives or skating gargantuan mice patterns over the surface, if a brook trout has an opportunity to eat, it will!
The growing season of brookies in Algoma is short with trout accessible to anglers as soon as the ice is out right through to early September. That’s 5 short months for anglers to target fish fattening up on high protein meals. It’s believed this short feeding window could be a significant factor in how aggressive these fish are. They simply need to pack it on while they can and are eating machines!
So anyway, back to the pure painted perfection part. In parts of Algoma Country, you’re able to see brook trout “coloured up” all year long. These fish generally are residents in rivers but some travel from big water such as Lake Superior into the tributaries in the fall to spawn. Fire red flanks, mottled back with haloed spots in red and blue, not to be undone by the leading white edges on their fins separate brook trout from all others. They truly are beautiful fish.
The beauty of the brook trout is very much juxtaposed by their attitude. They are bad, they are mean and they are extremely violent! Known to smash flies of any size, these fish attack with pure evil gusto. We’ve released healthy brook trout who have spit up 8-inch walleye from their stomachs. No-fly is too big for large brookies, and in Algoma, they can reach enormous sizes. For many brook trout anglers, a 10- or 12-inch fish is a good one, however, we’ve caught and released fish in the 24-inch class pushing 8 pounds. There are double-digit fish here, we’ve seen them.
So, what kind of equipment are you to bring when targeting brook trout in Algoma? Good question! We generally load up with 6 and 7 weight fly rods for two reasons.
1) the fish get quite large and in river systems, you’re often fighting both fish and current and
2) back to fly size, you’d need a larger rod to present large flies to these fish. A 7-weight switch rod is a great option for those who want longer presentations or choose to do close-quarter battle while nymphing and the 6 are amazing for dry flies and terrestrials. Leader material can be aggressive as many of these fish are not leader shy. Start with a 3 X trout taper and adjust based on fly size and style. Ie: cut it down to 0 X for big terrestrials or streamers.
With respect to flies, there is a myriad of patterns that are proven brook trout candy. It’s best to contact a local fly shop or guide to inquire about fly patterns that are working. But you should have a few staples in your box including woolly buggers, Clouser minnows, double bunnies and a variety of terrestrials.
Algoma Country is home to some fantastic opportunities for fly anglers to catch, specimens reserved for bucket lists – especially brook trout! Big fish – pushing double digits live here, they are hungry and accessible. Whether you decide to do a drive-to adventure or a full fly-in lodge experience, many outfitters are ready to show you how, where, when and what to do to knock a big brookie off your bucket list. There really isn’t anything like the feeling of watching a trophy squaretail swim away to be caught another day!
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