How to Fish for Trout

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If you are serious about trout fishing, you need to understand how they react to you. Trout are very sensitive to noise and movement. They have excellent eyesight and can be very skittish fish. They are looking for things like visible lures, hooks, and fishing lines. It may seem like you’re giving a trout too much credit. But a serious trout fisherman knows that these fish are smarter than they appear. Fishing for trout requires some skill and planning. It is necessary to respect the trout to be able to fish these fish.

Trout fishing can be incredibly relaxing. Fish is also very delicious and healthy. Fishing for trout has many benefits as a hobby. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to improve your game. Anyone can fish for trout at their favorite fishing spot. But if you want to have the best fishing experience, you need to know your trout fishing basics.

How to Fish for Trout

How to fish for trout

Trout Location

The trout you are going to catch depends largely on where you are going to fish. North America has many different species of trout that you can catch.

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout is the most common trout species in North America. You can find them along the Pacific coast to western Canada. There is also much more inland in streams and lakes. They are often bred in hatcheries because they reproduce well in captivity. You can find rainbow trout as far east as the Great Lakes and Georgia. Some of the best trout fishing are those of the rainbow. You get the experience of trout fishing in addition to beautiful rivers and the great outdoors.

Cutthroat Trout

Cutthroat trout are most commonly found in the western US and Canada. The Rocky Mountains are a popular place to fish. In fact, cutthroat trout are sometimes called Rocky Mountain trout. You can find them throughout the Pacific Northwest and as far as Alaska as well. They tend to live in cold, fast streams and rivers that other trout avoid. You can also find them in national parks like Yellowstone.

Lake Trout

Lake trout live most often in the northern part of the continent. They are common in glacial lakes and also in the Great Lakes. You can also find them at Flathead Lake in Montana. These fish tend to be larger than many of their cousins.

Brown Trout

The brown trout is native to Europe. They were brought to North America in the late 1800s. You can find brown trout all over Canada. They also live in much of the northeastern and northwestern United States. Brown trout is one of the most popular trout to fish.

Brook Trout – Brook trout are found in the eastern United States in Canada, as well as the upper Midwest. They live throughout the Rocky Mountains. Also in many small streams in places like Maine, Montana, and Michigan.

Bull Trout

Bull trout lives in the Pacific Northwest in the Rocky Mountains. However, they are a rare species of trout. The best place to find them is in places like British Columbia in Montana. You must release bull trout if you catch them because the population is very low.

In moving water such as streams and rivers, look for trout near inlets. Places where rivers meet or streams come out of lakes and ponds. These areas bring the most food and the trout will stay close. When fishing for trout, you must follow their food sources.

In larger bodies of water, such as lakes and ponds, seek shelter. Trout do not like to be exposed. You will find them most often near vegetation or around rocks and logs. On the hottest days, they will go to deeper waters to keep cool. Fishing for trout in large bodies of water requires a change in technique. When you fish for trout in deep water, you need to change your fishing gear.

Trout Bait

Knowing what trout like to eat is essential to catch them. Not all baits work for trout. That said, bait fishing is always a good approach. But they respond very well to classic baits such as:

  • Earthworms
  • Waxworms
  • Grasshopper
  • River crab
  • Small baitfish such as minnows
  • Canned corn

Trout Equipment

You need to make sure that you are using the correct rod, reel, and line to catch fish such as trout.


You want to use a spinning reel or fly reel to fish for trout. You can use a baitcasting reel, but it’s not ideal. A spinning reel makes less noise. It will also offer greater sensitivity and drag for catching trout. For everything to run smoothly, you need at least four ball bearings. That’s the bare minimum, and you should definitely look further if you can.


Light rods work best for trout fishing. They need to be calm and strong. Trout are very easily startled. Noise and movement capture your attention very easily. You want to be as stealthy as possible when it comes to trout fishing. That means choosing the right equipment for that task.

An ideal rod is between 6 and 7 feet long. It must have quick action and exceptional strength. A composite rod made of graphite and fiberglass may be the best option. There are many light and strong graphite rods. However, fiberglass rods are cheaper.


You also need to choose the correct hook for trout fishing. Again, as with a reed, any hook will do in a pinch. But the best hook for trout fishing is a smaller hook without barbs. Barbed hooks are less harmful to fish. Smaller hooks are much better for trout than many anglers believe. You are less likely to lose or lose your fish with a hook of the right size. Something like a size 8 hook would be great for trout fishing. Hooks that are size 8-14 are generally the range you are looking for. Keep a handful of them in your tackle box.


If you plan to use lures, there are also many options. Trout respond very well to things like the Rapala Original Floater. Spinning lures and lures that resemble worms and flies are also great. This is why fly fishing is such an effective method of catching trout. Anything that does a good job of masking the hook may have some potential to catch a trout. If the trout observe the hook, they can get scared.

You must adapt your lures to the size of the trout you are fishing. Smaller lures for smaller trout. Match your colors with what you are trying to catch as well. A well-painted lure can really attract fish to bite.

You should keep most of the following in your tackle box every time you go fishing for trout:

  • 1/4 oz Egg Leads
  • Size 6 to 8 split shot
  • A small cork or float
  • Variety of spoons and spinners.
  • Size 10 swivel
  • Powerbait
  • Hooks size 8-14. Ideally barbless free unless you plan to keep what you catch.
  • A variety of lures that we have mentioned such as rapalas, spinners, and spoons.


There are several types of fishing lines for trout. This includes monofilament lines, braided lines, fluorocarbon lines. Monofilament and fluorocarbon lines are some of the best for trout fishing. The monofilament line has some stretch and is great for tying knots.

Braided lines offer more sensitivity than a monoline, but they don’t have any stretch. They are also not as good at tying knots as monofilament. This may not be the best for trout fishing.

The fluorocarbon line is extremely difficult to see in the water. This makes it ideal for trailer fishing. It is also very sensitive, allowing it to transmit vibrations. It is also extremely tough. One of the main disadvantages of the fluorocarbon line is that it is difficult to tie in knots. Some brands have been created to address this problem. The correct fluorocarbon line will be exceptional for catching trout. Kind of like the fluorocarbon leader Seaguar Blue Label.

How to Fish for Trout in a Lake

When it comes to trout fishing techniques, you have a few options. The most popular method of fishing for trout with bait in a lake or pond is to simply suspend the bait with a cork. Bait your hook with the bait of your choice. Place a lead weight on the hook to sink the bait. Place your bobber about 1 1/2 to 3 feet above the hook. Cast as usual and then wait. This is your basic technique for catching almost any type of fish. It works best when the trout are moving close to the surface.

When using a lure such as a spinner or a spoon, you must cast it over the water. Let it sink in briefly and then retrieve the lure by coiling it up. Shake up the speed of your recovery and the depths to which you let it sink. Eventually, you will find the best combination of speed and depth to catch your ride.

Bottom fishing is also a good technique for trout fishing. They tend to head to deeper waters and warmer climates. This is the same as the first method, only you won’t be using a cork to keep the bait suspended. Simply place the lead weight where the hairdresser would normally place it. This allows the line to sink, but the bait will float above the bottom.

How to Fish for Trout in a River

Fishing in rivers can be different than fishing in lakes. You have to deal with the rush of water in this situation. This has a much bigger impact on things like retrieving your lure.

Cast your lure upstream and then roll up the slack. You can let the current carry you downstream to create a kind of natural movement. Once the current starts to carry it to shore, it’s time to start rolling it up.

For a natural bait, you can use the same technique or drop a float on the line to keep track of where it is. Just be aware of how close you are getting to shore at any one time. Retrieve your lure as needed before you get stuck on something.

The bottom line

There is no safe way to fish for trout. They can be very picky fish. Some days you will have excellent luck, other days you will not. The best thing to do is to arm yourself with knowledge. Make sure you have the best equipment available to you. You also need the best bait. Understand the trout you are catching where you are catching them. That means using the correct bait, the correct size hook, etc. for the size of the fish you are looking for.

As many fishermen know, perseverance is often the key to success. You may need to try different combinations and locations to get exactly what you want.

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