I’m one of those trout snobs that prefers the pursuit of native fish. A card carrying member of the Native Fish Coalition. If not native, then wild. And if not wild, well…
Okay, let’s get it out of the way. I fished for stocked trout last weekend. Stocker rainbows at that. You know, the “entirely synthetic fish.” Fish that are uninspiring and identical; a stream full of clones. All about 12-16 inches long and adequately chunky, with the only thing keeping them out of the cooking grease being delayed harvest restrictions.
But I’ll tell you, what those fish lacked in adequately proportioned pectoral fins, they certainly made up for in quantity and eagerness to take a fly.
Now some people will say that stocked trout are dumb and easy to catch, and I’d never overestimate a hatchery fish’s IQ. But let’s be honest, as long as you’re at least somewhat stealthy in your approach, those native headwater gems aren’t blueline Einsteins either. Don’t kid yourself, a wild brookie would absolutely slam a spent Marlboro lashed to a size 10 dry fly hook.
I don’t know what your opinion of stocked trout is – good, bad, or likely mixed – but last weekend they were fine by this native trout snob… and dare I say actually somewhat preferred to the undersized, wild, stream-bred bycatch that would occasionally come to hand.
Author’s Note: Hopefully you realized my tongue was planted firmly in cheek while reading this article. Fishing should be FUN! Enjoy your time on the water responsibly fishing for whatever you find enjoyable. Except for carp, they’re gross.
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