Fishermen want to catch fish, but sometimes what matters more is catching the right fish. There are some spots I know where ever casts will be attacked, but not by the target species.
Sometimes, to catch the right fish is the real challenge. I got reminded of it this weekend when I was landing chub after chub, and not a trout in sight.
So while waiting out an unexpected thunderstorm, I want to explain how I try to avoid chub while trout fishing.
What are Chubs?
Chubs are a small fish from the carp family, there are dozens of species but they all feed on similar food as trout. I have caught them on dries, nymphs and spinners. They can be aggressive little feeders.
Some chubs can be invasive, they might even compete with trout directly with food. In other fisheries chubs are native and basically live in balance with native trout.
Large trout are even known to predate on chubs at times. Some studies have found trout can eat as many as one chub a week. So a good source of extra protein.
During spawning both trout and chubs feast on each other’s eggs. Depending on the health of the fishery this could be perfectly in balance, but in the case of invasive chub this could threaten the sustainability of the trout fishery.
Should all Chubs be killed?
I have seen some fishermen who kill all chubs, sometimes they even throw them onto the shore to slowly suffocate. (I don’t care how invasive, give them a quick death)
Fishermen kill chubs for a number of reasons, maybe out of annoyance or they might believe they are helping the trout.
In principal I am against this practice, when native the chub has as much rights, maybe even more so than the trout. So leave them be, they play their part in the ecosystem and the trout know how to deal with them
The main exception is when a invasive population is booming. In these cases local regulations might have a kill order. Then give them a quick death and feed them to a Labrador or raccoon.
Best ways to avoid catching chub?
Trout and chub feed on the some insects. So they are always going to hit similar presentations.
Chub being more aggressive, and less way will likely hit first.
But, it is not entirely upto luck. While the two species share the some habitat, they do have a preference for different water temperatures.
Chub prefer warmer water, trout prefer cold water. If you are catching chub, it is likely that the water you are fishing is a bit on the warm side.
Change, spots to somewhere cooler and you will more likely find trout. Here are a few examples.
When water is warm, the trout are more likely holding deep. Target the bottom of deep pools, avoid the ripples and shallows. Sometimes this effect can be so sereve that trout will be found at the head of the pools, while the tail and shallows contain only chubs.
It can also be beneficial to look for areas of increased spring flow, or target the mouth of a cold side stream. The other day, the only trout I hooked was feeding at the mouth of such a stream. The rest of the river just had chubs.
Finally, it might even pay to leave the main river and head up a cold water tributary. Even large trout will head up a small forested mountain stream to avoid warm water.