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How To Catch More Trout

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By John Schips

Trout are hard-fighting fun fish to catch, and if you plan on keeping your catch, they can be delicious, too. These fish are sought-after by anglers all around the world; however, like any other species of fish, trout have their own unique habits that can make them difficult to catch – they’re often quite picky about what bait they go after, and can be flighty and nervous in the water.

So to catch trout, you need to have the right equipment, have some basic knowledge about the species and its preferences/locations in the water, and some techniques and skills to help you when you finally hook one.

Therefore, please consider our basic tips, advice, and tricks that can help you reel in more trout! Please keep in mind that there are many different species of trout, each with their own subtle differences in habit, so the following suggestions do incorporate some level of versatility.

Pick The Right Gear

Fly fishing is arguably the most popular method of catching trout, but realistically, they can be caught on any rod, reel, and bait setup. For those who are unfamiliar with casting for trout from anything but a fly rod, or for those who don’t own a fly rod and want to try catching some trout anyway, here are a couple suggestions.

Rod

If you’re using a spinning rod, a 7-foot medium to fast action rod is a good choice for versatility. If you’re using a fly rod, an 8.5 to 9-foot rod could be a good choice depending on where you’re fishing. If you are an a small stream and don’t have much room to cast, you may benefit form a smaller rod, which can be extra nice in these settings, as shorter fast-action rods can also help the energetic trout.. If you don’t have a shorter rod, don’t worry – you can still catch trout in these settings with a longer rod.

Flies

Depending on the exact species of trout, different flies can have different effects. For example, dry flies are great for brown trout, whereas both dry and wet flies often hold the same potential for success when casting for lake trout. Check out this overview of trout species for more information

Lures

• Spoons and spinners are great for trout – the rattling and flashing action that they provide mimics small baitfish, and can attract trout from hiding places in the water.

• Jigging on the bottom of the water can also attract trout – the dust kicked up by your lure is attractive to them, especially during murkier water conditions that obscure your jig. Stick a mealworm or a scent-imbued rubber grub to your jig, let it sink, and go to town.
• Standard hard baits like crankbaits and swimbaits can have some success, but generally attract other gamefish – if you’re looking mainly for trout, they shouldn’t be your first choice.
• If you’re planning on just using live bait, you can’t go wrong with a simple worm. Nightcrawlers and large red worms are great – rig your line up to suspend it about 2-3 feet in depth in the water column, and watch the bites come in.

Lines

Trout can range vastly in size, so the strength of your line will depend on where you’re fishing and what you’re fishing for. In addition, they have great eyesight – most trout can see color better than humans. Because of this, if you’re casting with a spinning rod or baitcaster, many anglers prefer using monofilament line to help disguise their bait. If you’re one who prefers to play it conservatively and use heavier line than necessary, this will be a good trait to have when casting into murky water, as the murkiness can assist in hiding your line, allowing you to use a slightly heavier line if you prefer.

Another reason that using monofilament will help you avoid spooking the fish is because it has a very good refraction index in the water, and will appear nearly invisible to the trout (i.e. it won’t bend the light and become noticeable). The main downside here is that, when compared to braid or fly line, you will lose some energy on the hookset, so you need to be quick!

Hooks

If you’re using a lure, the hooks should be relatively small. #10-#14 are plenty sizeable for most trout. The hooks should not be easily visible when baited – trout seem to respond poorly to exposed hooks.

Know When To Fish For Trout

Knowing when to fish for trout is important – though they can be found in lakes and streams all year round, there are seasonal variations in their distribution.

Lakes

Early spring is the absolute best time to fish for trout. Trout are more active when the water is cooler, and during chilly early spring weather they tend to feed closer to the middle of lakes, and for longer periods of time.

During the summer, the distribution of trout will generally be lower in the water column, and they will be active during the morning, remaining rather dormant during the hot afternoon.

Rivers

The best time to find trout in rivers is whenever the river temperature is 50-60 degrees – the preferred temperature for river trout. In more northerly areas, this could be all throughout the summer. However, in places that get warmer during the summer, the spring is the best time to fish for river trout.

 

Basic Techniques For Fishing Trout

Finally, there are some basic techniques you should understand before attempting to fish for trout that will help ensure your success.

Lakes

• Fish deeply during warmer seasons – most trout will remain low in the water, preferring the cooler temperatures near the bottom of the lake.
• If you catch one trout, chances are that you’re in a good spot for trout fishing – they tend to stick together in groups, despite not being a naturally schooling fish.
• Use a fish finder, if you have one – these can help you locate high concentrations of trout, and increase your efficiency when fishing large lakes.
• If all else fails, try jigging. Jigging on the bottom of a lake is an exceptional way to catch trout during difficult conditions, and can result in quite a few fish.

Rivers

• Flies are ideal. For detailed info on how and why flies come in different designs and styles, check out this guide explaining the different types of flies.
• If not using a fly, use a lightweight lure in fast-flowing rivers – you don’t want your cast to flow downstream too quickly.
• Cast upstream to let your bait rest on the surface of the water and flow with the current naturally – this will give it a much more natural appearance to trout.
• Trout are easily spooked, especially in smaller rivers. If you lose a fish or scare it away in a certain location, move for about 20 minutes – this will allow the fish in that area to return to normalcy.
• Find riffles, runs, and pools – riffles are shallow areas with fast-moving water, often with gravel or rubble covering the bottom. Trout tend to feed in these areas during the morning. Runs are deeper areas with fast-moving water, and are usually similar to riffles, and can hold trout any time during the day. Pools are deeper areas with slow-moving water, and are often filled with resting trout during midday.
• Fish naturally. Since trout are easily spooked, overdoing your fishing setup with a ton of gear and complicated rigging methods will just make it obvious that your bait isn’t natural, and will scare away fish.

Conclusion

Trout fishing isn’t easy, and is highly dependent on conditions like time of year, where you’re fishing, and what species is around, but regardless, it can certainly be rewarding, and it’s always fun! Out tips above are fairly general, but should provide you with a good starting point that you can use to increase your chances of catching more trout, no matter the season, fishing location, or weather conditions.

The Author

John Schips has a website www.flannelfisherman.com, offering a variety of information about fishing.


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