With the large variety of species of trout located in western Canada, we get asked why do you guys target bull trout majority of the time in the summer? It’s an easy question for my brother and me to answer, first and foremost is the location of the rivers they live in, the swirling clear blue pools sometimes accustomed by waterfalls surrounded by the Rockies beat any river in our books. Next would be size and aggression, they are usually the biggest trout to target in our river systems, and honestly who doesn’t love targeting big fish? You combine their size with their aggression makes for an epic smash of your fly and fight which sometimes ends a couple of pools downstream. So since we target them the majority of the summer we thought we could maybe help you with a few tips if you plan on hitting the river and targeting the big mountain torpedo.
Gear is important for targeting bull trout since they are a big fish, you will want to use a 6-7wt rod with 0-1x leader and 2x tippet, we recommend not cheaping out on lines, and to go with a quality brand such as Scientific Anglers because nothing is worse than spending money on gas and hiking the river all day, and frank the tank decides to smash your fly and you break off. To me personally, there is not a worse feeling. Also, don’t forget a nice big net preferably with a rubber mesh to help protect the fish.
This is a super important one, don’t stick to one way of fishing all day. Most people get the idea that bull trout only smash big streamers, although this is the case on many days, many days it is not. Some of the biggest bulls that we have caught have been nymphing stones and leech patterns. Sometimes my fingers hurt from switching up all day back and forth but it ends up being worth it. So bring a variety of flies and methods and be versatile well fishing for bull trout.
Google maps is a good way to locate nice fishing spots, flick it onto satellite mode and start scrolling down your favorite rivers and drop pin places you would like to go. We usually try to find spots far away from roads and trails that are not as easy to access. Less accessible places usually mean few people will venture out that way, which means less pressure on fish, and the bite is usually on. So just take a drive to grab some pops and go for a long hike.
Bull trout typically like cold deep water, so in order to present your fly correctly, it’s essential to bring pinch weights with you to add to your line while streamer fishing and also nymphing. Get deep and give your line time to sink.
Nothing beats linking up with friends and exploring new places and fishing for bull trout, especially when all your hard work pays off. It’s also always good to remember where bull trout are located is usually where bears cougars and other deadly animals also reside, so don’t forget to look over your shoulder once in a while and to bring bear spray along with you and the lads. Tight lines and cheers!