Brought over from Europe, Browns are a popular addition to Maine waters. One of the first introductions of brown trout in the United States was in Branch Lake, in Ellsworth, Maine, around 1885.They thrive in all types of waters, from small streams to the huge reservoirs. Browns are in more than 200 lakes and ponds, and over 50 streams, predominately in southern Maine. Not the acrobat that the Rainbow is, Browns are great fighters. Aggressive, wary, and a powerful swimmer, browns adapt to diffent types of waters better than brookies, and seem to do better under heavy fishing pressure. A 23+ lber was caught in southern Maine, which is encouraging for fisherman who can't travel upstate after the big Brookies. Browns will tolerate the warmer, murky water that brookies and rainbows won't live in, which makes them a great fish in southern Maine. Temps between 60 and 65 seem to be the best for browns, but they will stand 75 and even 80 for short periods of time.

Open WaterFishing

Browns are my favorite fish here in Maine. In my opinion,catchable with relative ease in either open water or on ice. Brown trout may feed on plankton, earthworms, crayfish, and both aquatic and land insects. When brown trout grow larger, around 12-13 inches in length, they may become a ferox trout, which is a trout that has turned cannibal. They will eat other fish up to half it's own length, salamanders, frogs, and mice. Trout will seek the cut banks, shelter of structure or docks, or the riffles as they move to get out of the sun. They often will sit just off the edge of a falls or fast water and take their food as it comes before them. The best place to fish is where the current brings the food to the trout. In the spring they will be in the fast water below falls or in the rapids, then they move into the deep quiet pools or the slow moving water just off the edges of feeder streams. Try an Acme thunderbolt (the 1/64th ounce one--E mail me and I will tell you the pattern that works!!) in the early high water, fished with a dying minnow retrieve and you will get the browns. I love this lure and so do the Browns. Why am I telling you? I want to help you catch fish, but I really hope you catch and release. When nothing else is working try a small Yo-zuri pin lure. They seem to take the Browns, and I always carry a couple (smelt pattern, silver and black minnow) with me. Gold and Silver Spoons (swedish pimple, kastmaster.... the 1/8 ounce or smaller ones, not the 1/4 ounce ones, although if you are fishing an area with very large fish you need to increase the size of the lure accordingly) will always put a Brown on your line. Fish them with a dying minnow motion, reeling and stopping to let it flutter down. Give the rod a sharp tug forward every now and then! Live bait, spinners and flies and streamers are also used on Browns. (ask me and I will tell you where to get the best streamers available for Maine fishing!) Fishing at dusk (many people say the older, bigger ones only feed at night.....and only take live bait.....never prove it by me) can also be effective on brown trout. Brown trout spawn in Maine from October through February, when they tend to be more defensive of their space, and more aggressive, hitting anything thrown in front of their face. Often mistaken for Landlocked Salmon because they tend to be silvery sided in clearer water. Many people think Salmon will only eat Smelts, so anything caught on a different bait must be a Brown. Not True! Salmon are often taken on worms and shiners, so check them carefully. The rules for each fish are different here in Maine. Get caught and say you couldn't will pay!

Ice Fishing

Smelts through the ice always gets the flags. I will tell you that this method keeps us chasing flags all day. I get the list, see where they have put the fish and go catch them. I know this may not get you a big trophy, but you will catch many nice Browns. Get out the depth maps and fish the deep pools. That is where they hang out. Put your bait down about 15 feet or so. Hook your minnow right in front of the dorsal fin, careful not to hook it in the spine. Below the backbone through the fleshy part.On some of my traps I like to put silver flashers on my line. You can get them at any store and I like to use the ones that are on the hook leader already. Eagle Claw makes a good one. I find that some days they help and others they don't. I have caught fish on those traps when noone else caught anything. Try them when nothing seems to be happening, especially on dark days. Be sure your shiner or smelt can handle the extra weight, and I only use them for Browns or Lakers.


When jigging use small silver or gold lures set with a single hook. I have just gotten some of the vertical jigs and will update the page after using them a while. Jig around rocks and over structures. Get a depth map and you can get an idea of the layout on the bottom. Fish around dropoff edges. The edges of a deep hole can be productive too. Jig the mouth of streams and brooks that run in and out of the lake or pond. Short, slow, jigging strokes with some longer pauses seems to be the accepted method of working a lure when ice fishing. Try letting the spoon hit bottom, and bounce it around down there,sometimes this will draw attention to the lure or your cut bait. This helps attract fish, even from a distance. Winter fish usually strike the lure when it is stopped or at rest and the bite is often extremely light, so be ready to set the hook. Remember jigging counts as a trap, if you jig with 5 traps and they catch you, it will cost you.

Typical length in Inches at various Ages


Typical Weight in Pounds at various Lengths

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