Published On: Fri, Mar 25th, 2016

Sea-Run Brown Trout Video – migrate to sea but spawn in rivers

Sea-Run Brown Trout Fishing in Canterbury

Video: Sea-Run Trout Fishing in Canterbury New Zealand

Description: Sea-Run Trout Fishing in Canterbury New Zealand. Video showing sea-run brown trout being landed in the Rakaia River and Waimakariri River. Sea-run trout enter the rivers in the spring chasing whitebait and smelt. They are targeted by anglers fishing flies mostly with spin tackle and a small lead.

Sea-run brown trout are the same species of fish as the brown trout found in rivers. Some, though not all, spend part of their lives at sea taking advantage of the rich food supply available there. They return to the rivers in late spring and summer in pursuit of whitebait and smelt. These sea-run brown trout are bright silver in colour, slightly darker on their upper backs and have numerous indistinct black spots on their flanks. Some of these sea-run brown trout are large fish that can look a lot like quinnat salmon. Brown trout, unlike rainbows, do not generally have spots on their tails.

A fat well conditioned sea-run brown trout taken from the Rakaia River gut in December 2012.

A well conditioned sea-run brown trout taken from the Rakaia River gut in December 2012.

Once returning sea-run brown trout have been in the river for a time their colouration returns to that of the spotted and darker coloured resident river-dwelling fish. Anglers will sometimes find that sea-run brown trout caught in the surf close to a river mouth, or in the lower river in summer, will be packed so full of smelt (silveries) that captured fish will disgorge a dozen of more when picked up.

The SH1 bridge over the Waimakariri River. This is a popular spot for sea-run brown trout fishing from October to December.

The SH1 bridge over the Waimakariri River. This is a popular spot for sea-run brown trout fishing from October to December.

Sea-Run Trout Fishing Lures

Sea-run brown trout will sit close to the bottom in fast water near the river mouth as they pursue silveries. The best way to catch sea-run brown trout is with feathered lures that closely resemble smelt or whitebait. Good patterns to use when fishing for sea-run brown trout are: Hopes Silvery, Parsons Glory,Barred Rock, Ice Rabbit, Yellow Rabbit and Grey Ghost (when the water is clear). Sea-run trout lures are most effective in fast water when fished in pairs close to the bottom.

Horse of a sea-run brown trout caught and released by Allan Burgess, at the mouth of the Rakaia River.

Horse of a sea-run brown trout caught and released by Allan Burgess, at the mouth of the Rakaia River.

If spin fishing for sea-run brown trout you can fish two hook “lure rod rigs” or, if you prefer, silver or yellow Tasmanian Devils, Tillins Cobras, or silver and black Tobies. In New Zealand the Toby is also marketed as a Turbo. Despite the name it is the same lure. If I were spin fishing for sea-run brown trout in New Zealand and had to choose just one lure I would make it a 16g black Toby with gold stripes, and silver prism tape on the back.

This silver sea-run brown trout is typical of the fish caught in the lower east coast Canterbury rivers between October and Christmas.

This silver sea-run brown trout is typical of the fish caught in the lower east coast Canterbury rivers between October and Christmas.

A sure sign that sea-run trout will be present at a river mouth is the presence of turns and gulls noisily hovering close to the surface and “dipping” their bills into the water to catch smelt. Sea-run brown trout will almost certainly be just below the surface chasing the smelt.

Seagulls working smelt (silveries) in the spring and early summer is a good sign that sea-run brown trout could be present.

Seagulls working smelt (silveries) over river braids in the spring and early summer is a good sign that sea-run brown trout could be present.

 

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About the Author

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Fishingmag.co.nz website editor.

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  1. John Barnes says:

    Great info on sea-run trout.

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