Brown vs brookie patterns

I recently camped with the family near a wild stream.

I fished two files.

fly one.
all brown. brown stiff hackle and brown dubbing with a couple strands of ice dub. Everything brown with a red head.

fly two.
variant of grave digger with peacock collar and a stiff white hackle. purple body, white hackle, green head

Day one I fished fly one. A mix of brookies and browns. 50/50 8 fish landed.

Day two I fished fly two. All browns. 7 fish landed.

It could be coincidence. But I was reflecting on it a bit and how odd it was.

There was some overlap in the water I was fishing. I have experienced water where there was some division, perhaps environmental factors separate the two. But in this case I sensed it might have been the fly color. The other attrs were close to the same. Size…general material…etc.

any experienced fly flickers have thoughts?


This seems only to be a weird random chance occurrence. The brown vs. brookies appeared to have a pattern due to the fly you were fishing but in reality, I think this is just a fluke. However, you never know sometimes. Did you fish at different times, was the weather the same for both days, was the barometric pressure the same for both days, and was the lightning the same? There are so many variables to take into account that sometimes it is hard to wrap your head around what caused the difference. Example: I fished a CK Yellow Stonefly nymph one day on the Rapidan River and caught 30+ brook trout. The next day I caught 0 and both days were very similar in weather etc. As a good friend once told me, “God works in many mysterious ways, my friend.” My friend was my diving coach and then later he became a priest. I figured he must have the inside scoop. :wink:


My idea
One is the difference in personality due to fish species
Second is the difference in predation behavior by fish species
Third is the factor that only God knows

Brookies is very cowardly, they hide in rocks
Brown is a bold and aggressive compared to it
If there is movement of “kebari” brown actively chases it

I believe there is a favorite color by fish species

Brookies like dark colors and brown like light colors
It is a color that the fish can see when seeing the water surface from the fish’s place


Part of me sees both sides of what you and Mike note.

the times were somewhat mixed but some of the holes were the same. A few springs ago I went to this same brook and only caught brooktrout, but I think I used that same brown fly.

I think some of my experience is that I catch more browns on that gravedigger pattern in general. I go back in my memory banks and although I have caught brookies on that pattern they have all been stocked fish…and mostly recently stocked.

This brook was wild and all the trout were fingerling. Even the browns were darters. Like they were hiding like brookies. and when I caught them I thought for sure they were brooktrout until inspection. All these fisher were 3-6 inches. The brook only got 2 feet deep in the deepest of pools. Most of it was 1 foot and under. The riffles only inches deep I was able to hook a few trout out of. Such a joy. Fishing in puddles.


Great thinking Todoroki-san, I didn’t think about species color preference due to predation behavior. It is always great to hear from you, my friend.
Gressak, I would listen to Todoroki-san because his answer is more scientifically sound. My answer is just a wild guess.

1 Like

You do have the right mindset, just have fun fishing no matter what you catch. Keep catching fish.

I like catching all fish but prefer the colors of brook over browns. I will continue this evperiment.

It was fun nonetheless.


I love brook trout also (this is Virginia’s only native char and it happens to be our state fish) but golden trout and cutthroat trout are a real close second/third. We do have some brown and rainbows that are reproducing and have become wild. I wished the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries would stock some other species in certain locations just to see what would happen but funds are tight presently and experimental stocking is not high on anyone’s list.

1 Like

Difference of “kebari” by target fish


These Kebari are absolutely beautiful!!! You are an artist on the fly tying vise. Amazing my friend.

Thank you for your compliment :smile:

“Kebari” will be glad when used as a tool

It is the mission of “kebari” that was born as a tool


Brown trout often show a preference for white colored fly tying materials placed somewhere on a fly pattern. But not necessarily, for a whole white fly. As far as I know no one knows why this happens but quite a few angler/authors have written about it occurring.

Garry La Fontaine thought it might have something to do with the brown trout’s preferences for hiding in dark places, like undercut banks, under fallen trees and logjams, and under thick foliage, where the white material will reflect more light and be more visible to the fish than darker materials will reflect. White materials also have the unique ability to reflect what ever color of light that’s hitting it, please notice the color shifts snow fields go through during alpine glow at dawn and dusk. The white materials on fly patterns will do the same thing at any time of day, that’s why Blue and Green are such effective, long distance, fish catching colors, because white prey bellies turn blue and green in blue and green colored waters, at a distance and in indirect light.

Others have postulated that it has something to do with the counter shading that nearly all prey fish and aquatic insects develop as protective Coloration, whereby they are dark on their backs to blend in with the dark bottoms of lakes and streams when viewed from above, and light to white on their undersides to blend in with the sky when they are vied from below against the sky. White wings have been a popular and effective fish catching addition to many fly patterns, mostly because of the easy visibility they provide for we anglers. But also because of Reverse Counter Shading - dark on the bottom and white on top indicates a crippled or sick prey species individual that predators are naturally programmed to take advantage of.

All big trout eventually become fish feeders as their body weight needs are hard to meet on an insect based diet alone. But with brown trout, this change occurs at a much earlier age than it does for any of the other trout’s. Which I believe has a lot to do with why brown trout often show a preference for flies patterns with some white body parts, whether the fly is fished wet or dry…Karl.

1 Like

It was a great loss to the fishing community when Gary LaFontaine passed away. His daughter is an excellent fly fishing lady by the way. Good genes!!

Screenshot 2020-08-21 at 17.56.07
I use this fly 95% of the time. Brookies, Browns and Rainbows all jump on it. I usually use a size 18. In deeper holes I get most of them on the lift (very slow).

1 Like