At A Glance: Trout
Trout are some of the most finicky, distrusting, and easily spooked fish around. However, the adrenaline rush when you’ve got one hooked can be a very rewarding experience. These freshwater fish can be found in rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes with cooler water where the oxygen content is richer. Common types of trout you are likely to encounter include Brook, Brown, and Rainbow. Brook trout are generally smaller than the other species and thrive in smaller streams. Brown trout can be found in deeper pools and must be stalked with patience. Rainbow trout are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest and their population is often maintained nationwide by state wildlife agencies by stocking rivers and streams annually. Steelhead are an anadromous form of the coastal rainbow trout, meaning they return to freshwater to spawn after living in the ocean for a few years.
Since trout tend to reside in rivers and streams, you’ll likely encounter wet conditions making waders and wading boots must-have items. Chest or hip waders are a great idea if you expect to traverse through water and mud. If waders seem like overkill, there are many excellent wading boots in our store to keep your dry and prevent falls. A lot of trout anglers use a fishing vest because it is basically a wearable tackle box where you can keep all of your equipment within reach. Polarized sunglasses are another must-have item for trout fishing. The polarized lenses eliminate glare from the water so you can see the fish downstream.
The most popular way to fish for trout is to use spinning gear but some experienced anglers enjoy using fly fishing techniques as well. Your spinning rod should be between five and seven feet in length with a lighter power and fast action. Some of the best trout rods are made by G.Loomis. The optimal spinning reel will have a capacity of at least 100 yards with a smooth drag and infinite auto reverse. Line will ideally be monofilament with a 2 - 8 lb. test strength and low diameter. For more information on fly fishing techniques, check out our fly fishing store!
Trout are so fastidious, sometimes choosing the right bait is a task all on its own. A best practice to keep in mind is that the more natural your presentation, the more likely a trout will strike it. For smaller brown trout, live bait such as nightcrawlers, aquatic insects, salmon roe, or minnows are excellent choices. If you’re targeting larger trout, you’ll probably want to use an artificial minnow, spoon, or spinner. One of our favorites is the Rapala Ultra Light Minnow. When fishing a stocked area, you must use PowerBait. Stocked trout live in a hatchery and are fed brown pellets; they will likely eat anything that resembles or smells like the pellets. Sometimes adding a little extra scent will go a long way.
Because trout favor cool, clear water, productive fishing areas and times can vary. Keep in mind the ideal water temperature for trout is around 50 degrees. Trout tend to be more active and feeding in the early morning and at dusk. You will also have luck in deeper pools or lakes with an oxygen-rich environment. Trout are a dietary staple of many wildlife animals and are often found hiding around vegetation, logs, stumps, behind rocks, and near undercut banks.
Once you’ve found a pool or run you’d like to fish, tread quietly so you don’t spook the fish in your area. Cast upstream, allowing your bait to drift naturally back toward you. Watch your float and be patient; fish carefully with casting accuracy and move on once you’ve disturbed the pool. A good strategy is to use bait working your way upstream and then cast spinners or spoons to the same pools on the way back down stream.
The best way to learn effective techniques is to get out on the water and try anything and everything! Part of the fun of trout fishing is testing new lures and baits and mastering your casts. FishUSA has everything you’ll need to catch elusive trout. Leading brands with first-rate products for trout fishing include: G. Loomis, Shimano, Rapala, Berkley, and Simms.