The brown trout is right up there with the musky on my list of most respected fish in freshwater, especially the type of freshwater that I fish here in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. Catching an average size brown trout in the size range of 8 to 16 inches is great, but catching a much more mature, apex brown trout is a whole different ball game. I’m talking about the rogues of the river. True river monsters that feed on the average size trout most trout anglers enjoy catching on the weekends. The fish I speak of has been in the river for a very long time and is very familiar with its environment, food sources, and predatory threats, making your chance of an encounter very slim. This fish offers a challenge fit for only the most head strong anglers who are willing to put the time in and fish in some very inclement and undesirable conditions.
You must be very careful when stalking these elusive monsters, as brown trout, especially the true monsters have some of the best above water vision, even at night. This is how they elude so many anglers and grow to be so large. Their wariness helps ensure their longevity in water where other trout would often be fished out. The larger they get the more inclined they are to hide through the day and only come out to at night to feed under the protection of darkness. The largest brown trout in any body of water will often feed only at night . They eat whatever is in the immediate area, and in contrast to younger brown trout, the true monster browns do not sit and wait for food. They actively hunt for it.
Once you hook into one of these awesome fish you will experience one of the most stubborn fights found in freshwater. Be prepared to be hooked for life and also lose a little excitement for average size trout fishing no matter how technical. There was a brown trout caught on our very own Nantahala river in 1998 that weighed 24 lbs and 10 ounces. Now there is some speculation regarding the circumstances of how this fish was caught, but regardless it is still proof that these monster brown trout can exist and elude anglers for many years. So get suited up in your favorite MK gear and get started on the journey to catching a true apex brown trout!