The Ultimate Trout Fishing Tips: From An Amateur to A Master

Are you planning for the very first trout fishing trip and searching for fishing guides? You’ve asked any angler you know, but none of them can give you the whole picture – the ultimate answer from the smallest things!

We know that feeling, and that is why this article is yours. You will get all the information you need, from the biology of the trout, their habit, to the step-by-step guideline for trout fishing in particular places.

Let’s get started!

Do you really know what trout fish is?

Trout is named for a number of freshwater species of the family Salmonidae (in two genres: Oncorhynchus and Salvelinus).

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout, via

Species from these genera are mainly different themselves by color, the shape of vomer bone (in the mouth’s roof) and the teeth.

brook trout

Brook Trout, via

There is a fun fact that, the Brook Trout – one of the most popular types for trout fishing – isn’t a trout, veritably! They are char fish – a trout-like (and non-salmonid) species from the genus Salvelinus. They have boat-shaped vomer, while trout have flat vomer with sparser teeth.

Despite these “little” differences by biology, the Brook Trout, remains their name on the top list for fishing. Today, trout is one of the most popular fish for fishing in the world, just behind the bass, panfish, and catfish.

Trout live in cool and clear freshwater, is native to the Northern Hemisphere and have been widely stocked to other areas.

Few types of trout migrate to the sea. However, in the spawning period, they all turn back to the place they were born, to give birth to the next generation!

Some popular types of trout fish for fishing

The Rainbow, Brook, and Brown Trout are three popular trout species for fishing. They all have similar characteristics and habits, bring up the size and toughness in the small bows.

Rainbow trout: This is the most popular trout’s species. They are naturally distributed in many rivers and streams and widely stocked in freshwater lakes and ponds.

Hence their name, they are variable from silver to pink and red color (of the stripe along the body).

Rainbow trout is a big species with maximum 30-inches in length. As other trouts, they live in clean and cold water (at 45-60 degrees Fahrenheit) and prefer minnows, insects and small aquatic life.

Brown Trout: Found in the US from 1883, this trout species has been reputed by its wily and elusive habits. They can be found on both cold water (as their preference) and warmer streams.

Size of brown trout varies from 11 to 30 inches in length, depending on whether they live in small or larger rivers.

Brook Trout: The species were first introduced and stocked since the 1900s. In fact, they are not trout in definition, but share the same history, ecology and habitat with brown and rainbow trout.

They are commonly found in the high mountain lakes and headwater areas. Therefore, the size of this species also varies on the size and height of the streams they live.

Brook trout living in small and high lakes seems to be smaller (5-7 inches on average) than the ones found in larger streams and river (25 inches on average).

Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout, via

Let’s follow the trout

As we know, trout fishes (prefer to) live in cold and clear water. They can be found naturally in the lake (also called – the lake trout) or being stocked in streams and ponds.

The more remote the lakes (or rivers) are, the higher the chance for you to find the natural trout swimming through the waters. Wildlife fishing may force anglers crossing a line into tracking and fishing, but it’s worth a try.

On the other hand, the greater lakes can bring up an abundant source of trout in massive size. However, only the ocean can offer you the monster-size trouts.

It is easy for finding out where trout are stocked. The best time to go fishing is about one or two weeks after stocking. If you go fishing in spring, try it in the daytime. If you are planning for a summer fishing, let starts from early morning, or waits for dawn, the time when water get coolest.

Trout fishing from scratch

Before experiencing the fishing treat, here is the list of things you need to prepare:

  • Bait: Minnows, worms, salmon eggs, corn, cheese
  • Lures: Spinners or small crankbaits
  • Line: around 2-8 lb.
  • Hook Size: from 6 to 14
  • Lure Size: from 1/32 to 1/8 oz.

Common Types of Lures

Lure must be the first thing to consider when fishing. There are few suggestions for you:

  • Critters: Trout lives naturally in lakes, rivers, and streams. There are a ton of critters (likes grasshoppers or beetles) falling into the water surface all the time and become a nice treat for trout. Hence, critter (live or imitators) is the first option of the lure.
  • Tubes: Tubes imitate zooplankton, and fish (including trout) love zooplankton. To be honest, they may not look like swimming creatures in the water, but it does get bit a lot!
  • Swimbaits and crankbaits: Big trout love bait fish. They are attracted and love to feast on smaller swimbaits or cranks. Big Trout is able to hit a crank of ⅓ or even ½ of their size. So, don’t forget a paddle tail swimbait and crankbaits in your tackle box!
  • Worm Imitators: This is the most simple trout catching lures. You can choose some soft plastic worms, especially the bright color ones. They can be detected easily in moving water and be a plus point for a river fishing.
  • Salmon Eggs: Trout are scavengers. Trout attack other fishes on their spawning and feed on the eggs. So, a few of salmon (or any fish) eggs on the hook seem to be a nice way to lure on trout!
  • Spoons and spinner: Old but gold, flashy spoons with feathers (or spinner with rooster tails) are effective lures for centuries. The flashiness annoys and attracts trout into a bit bite.
  • Powerbait: Any dough bail is power bait to a trout angler. Put a few on the hook and it won’t let you down!

Matching tackles

We did have a list of necessary things and pieces of equipment to go fishing. Try to make it simple, with a matching rod, reel and a few of lures, bails, and bobbers.

For a normal trout fishing, the needed equipment is one lightweight spin casting (or spinning rod), with reel and monofilament fishing line.

Other tackles include: (1) a handful of spinner, (2) bail hooks, (3) couple of bobbers (red or white color) and (4) a jar of “power bait” or “power eggs”.

In case that you want to try fly-fishing, there are some specialized types of equipment for you to prepared. Here is the list:

  • Graphite fly rod: 5-weight, 9 feet long
  • Matching fly reel
  • Fly line: 5-weight
  • Tapered monofilament leaders: 4x 7.5 feet long
  • Tippet: spools of 4x and 5x
  • Assorted streamside tools
  • Flies (of course)

Learn more about fishing techniques

trout fishing tips

For lakes and ponds

There are many trout fishing techniques, but here are the easiest and effective way to catch lake trouts:

how to catch trout“Bait under a bobber” technique: Put a piece of the lure (worms, insects or power baits) on a hook, attack with a small lead weight above (to sink the bait) and add a bobber above the hook.

Cast it out on a spot and wait for the bobber moving. This is a classic fishing technique, especially when you know there are fish cruising nearer the water surface.

“Bait off the bottom” technique: Trout prefer deeper streams and if you want to catch them, you need to down the bait deep into the water. Fishing this way won’t require a bobber, but a lead weight attached above the hook.

When you cash out, the lead weight will sink down while the bait keeps floating up above the bottom of the lake.

“Retrieving” technique, with spinners, spoons or flies: Minnows, leeches, and other insects are all trout favorite foods.

You can lure the trout by using their diet-imitative spinner or spoon and cast it over the trout-habitat-look-like water. Sink the spinner and wait for few minutes before reeling.

Try couples of time to find the best amount of time (to sink the spinner) and speed (to reel in it) for the trout fishing!

For rivers and streams

Rivers and streams are moving waters and they do affect the moving of the lure. For fishing in this type of water, you should bear in mind the following tips:

  • Casting out spinner (or spoon), instead of retrieving: casting out upriver first, and then reel it in slackline later.
  • Casting out spinner down to the river: holding fishing lines off the water and wait for naturally drifting. Once spinner swings straight down the river, it’s time for retrieving moderately.
  • Using an artificial bait along with bobbers: Bobbers can help you to keep track of the drifting baits.
NOTE 1: Fishing in slow and deepen streams is similar to fishing in small pond or lake. You can use the same techniques for both.
NOTE 2: You should combine more fishing techniques for the best results.
NOTE 3: Before fishing, be sure to check on the local fishing regulations, for daily limits and bait restrictions. Some specific lakes and rivers have their own fishing guidelines and rules that anglers have to follow.

Ten Tips For More Trout

  1. Use light line: The proper weight of line is from 2 to 4-pound test class. The lighter line is, the quicker anglers spool up.
  2. Pay attention to the size of the reel and rod: The size of the reel and the length of the rod can affect your fishing. Think about getting a matching tackle (for all equipment), rather than buy them individually.
  3. Use scented baits (if allowed): Trout can sense of smell, but scented baits are banned in some rivers. If the regulations allow, you should use some scents as part of your fishing lures.
  4. Be flashy: Trout also have a good sense of eyesight. They react to bright and flashy colors. Flash out your lures and trout will come for you!
  5. Keep moving: There is hard to fish in only one place. The fish move and so are you. Pay attention to the water surface and let the fish tell you where are they going. Be patient and keep moving slowly throughout the water. Fishing with a boat or a kayak is also a good idea!
  6. Find the highway: Trout prefer edges and current. A mountain stream or remote lakes are good places for fishing. Alpine trout lakes have abundant sources of trout and the big ones can be found only in inches deep water.
  7. Approach a low-profile stream: Trout have evolved through a profusion of predators waiting for them above the water. Hence, they can sense the danger, and if they see you, the game is over. So, the lower profile stream or lake edge you cast out, the higher the chance for you to fish more, especially for a big trout.
  8. Fish early and late: The best time for trout fishing is when the sunrise or down – the feeding times of trout. The low light moves the trout out and bring them closer to the surface.

It is also the right time for you to cast out, anglers!

trout fishing

The last thing to remember before fishing…

There are billions of trout stocked in lakes, ponds, and reservoirs in the U.S each year. They are stocked for fishing games and for anglers to catch and take home.

However, trout from rivers and streams aren’t reproduced in the same way. They are wild fish and procreate naturally. It means that these trouts can’t be restocked when we fish them out!

Some anglers decide to release the trout back to the river after fishing, give them a chance to reproduce (or be caught later). In some rivers, catch-then-release is a must when fishing.

We also provide you with some tips for catching fish safely (and keep them alive healthy after fishing)

  • Use barbless hooks.
  • Land the fish quickly.
  • Handle the fish with wet hands and try to keep them on the water.
  • Set your camera ready to take a photo (and take it quickly) when lifting the fish out of the water.
  • Remove the hook with hemostats and if the hook embeds deeply, cut the leader near the hook to quickly save the fish.
  • Revive the fish as quickly as possible.

Trout Fishing World Records

Here are the world records of trout fishing so far:

  • Brook Trout: 6.57 kg (14 lbs. 8 oz.)
  • Cutthroat Trout: 18.59 kg (41 lbs. 0 oz.)
  • Bull trout: 14.51 kg (32 lbs. 0 oz.)
  • Rainbow trout: 21.77 kg (48 lbs. 0 oz.)
  • Lake trout: 32.65 kg (72 lbs. 0 oz.)
  • Brown Trout: 19.08 kg (42 lbs. 1 oz)

Now we finish the lesson. Let’s practice!

My dear anglers, our lesson about trout fishing is ending here.

In the end, trout fishing is not an easy game for a beginner. Trout are shy creatures, very sensitive and intelligent. It is really a challenge to catch but promise you a treasure to explore.

Hope that, in the near future, with above bits of advice, we can see your name on the world ranking.

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