man-eater brown trout

“Trashy novels always out sell the classics…tabloids out sell the Times”


brown trout on size 16 dry fly


In the past three or four years I’ve written 100 plus posts on this blog. One post, above all, received significantly more attention (hits) than any other. It simply blew all the others away…10X more attention. Was the quality of the writing that much better?…”No”. Were the photographs super special or intriguing?…”No”. Were the trout huge?…”No”. Was I giving away cash?…”No”. It was simply the title. It contained the words, “French Assassins”. The post had nothing to do with espionage, mystery or murder. I was simply quoting a phrase/term used by an author in a slow-paced, gentle fly fishing book called, Chalkstream Chronicle, by Neil Patterson. It’s a great book. One of my all time favorites.




rainbow on dry-fly, size 18 pmd

In one chapter Patterson describes how some French anglers in economically depressed war-time France, or just post war, survived by designing highly effective flies (killer patterns) for flat water creek fishing (difficult water) that allowed them to fool very discerning trout; I believe they were brown trout. If I remember the story correctly they either kept their families alive with the protein they caught from the streams or they sold the trout to restaurants in order to earn money when there was no employment opportunities in their ravaged homeland. Basically, they fished to survive and because of this they became very skilled and specialized at catching trout on their local water. Thus the term, “French Assassins”. The common feature of all of these flat water flies is that they were tied in a very sparse (airy/light) style.


Abby, trout spotting from bluff



brown trout

best abby


I wonder how today’s tabloid title, “Man-eater Brown trout” will fare? More hits? I’ll see…




rainbow, fly, size 18 pmd

Above and below are some brown and rainbow trout I caught and released over the last couple of weekends sight-fishing late July and early August. The angling was quite challenging. All trout were fooled on Pale Morning Duns (dry-fly/emerger patterns) size 18 and 16. I got lucky as some of the small fly hook-ups held. I also missed quite a few.



004 (3)


finger (2)

simple dangling patterns, size 18, black wing for grey glare



close in rainbow

8 thoughts on “man-eater brown trout

  1. Jim: Thanks for dropping in and comment. Checked out our blog: Jims Wanderings this morning. Great cutthroats in Yellowstone…color and size. Look forward to your autumn angling trip and photos.

  2. Hi Robert,

    I love the title. It’s a great play on words, and it definitely grabbed my attention. I suppose the title can be taken a couple of ways, depending on how you read it. Either the trout is big enough to eat a man, or it’s a blog post about a man eating a brown trout. This in itself, will create interest with a variety of demographics.

    I’m hoping to get down to that river to look for some of those browns one of these days. Hopefully, I’ll find one big enough to eat me, or at least bite me!

    Maybe Abby could be featured in a future blog titled, “Dog the Bounty Hunter?” I’m sure she would be a hit, just like the TV show!

    • Vic: Changed the title to “man-eater brown trout” LOL…will see the response.
      Yes, get down to that river; the browns do bite…still some hatches going on depending on weather…some pmds through the day, this past weekend…started late morning. And some afternoon caddis also ; amber/golden looking color, maybe size 16 or so. PMD’s very small.
      Dog the Bounty Hunter…hmmm…could be a future tabloid post…I’ll work on it.
      Thanks for dropping in.

  3. How about: French Assassins Giving Away Free Cash? (that’ll draw ’em in like flies) Seriously though, I’ll have to look for the Chalkstream book.

    Bob, as per usual, you’ve got some nice fish to show for your efforts.

    • Les: Chalkstream, in my mind, is a wonderful trout book. Londoner buys carriage house next to a chalkstream, renovates it, and takes you along on a full angling season, beginning to end. Some colorful village characters and anglers. A true story. Author even has pencil/ink sketches in book margins. I love books like that. Published by Lyons press.
      Thanks for stopping in. Liked your post on fishing the lake. Great pics.

  4. French Assasins…………..We share tastes in literature! I just finished reading his second book, written 10 years later; “A Flyfisher’s Chronicle”…..a great read, as whacky and offbeat as the first one, and with more of those evocative scribbly sketches too!

    • Andrew: Thanks for letting me know Patterson has written a second book: Chronicle…I’ll look it up and purchase it as have enjoyed Chalkstream so much…have re-read it a few times and still enjoy….will keep it forever. It is one of my top 5 trout books. Another one of my other favorites is Spring Creek by N Lyons…check it out if you haven’t come across it… also has “scribbly sketches”.

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