Trout are beautiful fish that live in scenic locations and are fun to catch. If you’re getting started in trout fishing, we’ve got five tips for your—a quick-start guide that will put you on the fast track to catching trout in small water.
Tip 1: Find Stocked Trout
Take advantage of stocked trout fisheries. In states where trout can survive, fish and game departments place thousands of catchable fish in streams and rivers. Wild trout exist, but in many areas, angling for them involves more hiking than fishing. Initially, do yourself a favor and focus on stocked trout. Check out the website of your state’s wildlife management department—they all post stocking dates and locations.
Tip 2: Downsize Your Tackle
Trout fishing tip number two relates to the trout’s often nervous nature. In streams are spooky and their prey is small, so scaled-down lures work best. Unless you’re using a fly rod, the best lures for trout are:
To cast these little baits you’ll need light powered spinning gear spooled with monofilament or fluorocarbon in the 4- to 6-pound test range.
Natural baits like worms and minnows work, with salmon eggs and powerbait also accounting for many daily limits. Remember, when targeting trout, even bait fishing calls for lighter equipment, as landing a hooked trout requires finesse.
Tip 3: Read the Water to Locate Trout
Some trout populate shallow runs, holding near current breaks and darting out when prey comes within range. While you should fish those areas, don’t make shallow water your primary focus. More trout tend to congregate in the deepest parts of a stream. Fish bends where erosion has cut out a deep spot—in places like that, the current slows dramatically, and trout take up residence on the bottom. Fast, deep water is also good. Work near the banks and in the middle, making pinpoint casts to every large rock, each of which creates a trout-holding current break upstream and downstream.
Tip 4: See Fish, Catch Fish
Unless you’ve already familiar with the spot, delay your first cast until you’ve seen trout. Focus on stream locations that hold the most fish: deep water and moderately deep sections with significant current breaks.
Trout are notoriously skittish, so a stealth approach is appropriate, even around deeper runs. When looking for trout, stay out of the water and keep a low profile. In a foot of water, a motionless trout blends in, so often, it’s shadow is easier to spot than the fish itself. When trout are deeper, look for a rise or any movement that reveals their presence.
Tip 5: Wade to Get in Position
You can do well fishing for trout from the bank, but wading is a must if you want to maximize your catch. Your location relative to the trout is important because your presentation will be greatly impacted by the current. Often, it’s the flowing water that moves your lure or bait into the strike zone.
Wading allows you to stand in the right spot to present your lure or bait in current. Gearing up with waders, boots, and a wading staff will take your trout fishing to another level.
A World of Trout Fishing Awaits You
Many anglers who start trout fishing immediately fall in love with it. The sights and sounds of the stream combined with the thrill of stalking and catching trout, and after one trip, they’re hooked, locked into a blissful, trout-obsessed state that lasts a lifetime. We hope this post gets you started on that path.
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