Tips for finding, catching spring trout
To the angler, spring commonly means trout, brooks, browns, rainbows and even goldens, widely known as palominos.
They’re all great fun to catch.
They’re associated so closely with this time of year, of course, because that’s when many state fish agencies stock them into streams and lakes by the tens and even hundreds of thousands. Fishermen and women flock to catch them.
Some are more successful than others.
To be one of the former this year, consider these tips.
For starters, make sure you are fishing where trout were released. Tag along when they’re stocked if you can, to see just where they go. Research on fish movement shows most don’t travel too far from where they were released.
If you can’t actually help stock fish, look online or call your local fisheries office. Most specify where fish go, based on things like bridge crossings and the like.
Next, understand that hatchery trout aren’t the wariest creatures on earth. But they aren’t totally witless either.
So pursue them with lighter gear. Bait hooks should be no bigger than size 6, and sometimes as small as size 14.
Size 10 bait hooks are a good all-around bet.
Thin diameter line is likewise a good choice. Something between 2- and 8-pound monofilament works well, with 4-pound test a good compromise between subtlety and strength.
Attach your reel to a 6- or 7-foot rod, one that rated for light or medium action.
As for baits, if you prefer live offerings, wax worms, maggots, meal worms, butter worms, red worms and small minnows all work. So, too, do paste baits, salmon eggs, cheese, and even corn.
If you prefer to toss artificial, small inline spinners and spoons – 1/32- to 1/8-ounce -- are good options. Tiny crankbaits will take fish at times, as well.
In all cases, get your bait deep. Hatchery trout often head to the bottom of pools or lakes to find the most comfortable water.
Too often, anglers who go home fishless do so not because they’re fishing where no trout are, but because they didn’t get their baits close enough to the fish.
Adding a couple of split shot to your line may result in the occasional snag. But those will be outweighed by the extra trout you’ll hook.
Finally, on the water, seek out fishy-looking spots. Hatchery trout grow up in crowded conditions. Whether it’s for that reason or something else, they tend to congregate when they’re stocked. They gather in schools.
Deep holes on streams, around bridge piers, collect fish. The tail ends of pools – or downstream sides – do the same. The same is true of areas where big rocks break up the current.
And if you’re pursuing trout in a lake, look for spots where a stream enters, water depths change or some kind of structure – trees or rocks, for example – creates something different in what otherwise is a big bowl.
More from Everybody Adventures
See also: Trout stocking list full of hidden gems.
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