Trout Fishing Basics: Everything We Should Know

Trout are available in various water bodies, a little bit challenging to catch, and super delicious. No wonder they are one of the most popular targets of fishers.

Brown, flathead, marble, rainbow, bull, cutthroat, golden, brook, silver, hybrid trout are some of the trout’s species. The growth of each group is different from the others. For example, the heaviest brook trout was yielded from the Nipigon River. It weighed 6.57 kg which is heavier than the biggest golden trout (4.98 kg). Additionally, the largest rainbow and lake trout made records of weighing 21.77 kg and 32.65 kg, respectively.

No matter which you want to catch, you must keep some basic things in mind as an angler. In this article, we will be covering all those topics. Without further ado, let’s begin:


Their colorations, as well as patterns, vary a lot because of staying in numerous environments. Such a body helps them to blend with their surroundings and hide from their enemy. Also, the appearance depends on their species. We are only addressing the common types so that you can identify them underwater instantly:

  • Brook trout: In general, they have deep-green or blue-back bodies with a light green or gray or white belly. There are a lot of dotted markings from lip to tail. Some scattered red dots are present on the sides. The most common way of identifying the brook trout is by checking their tail fin. It is not as forked as the majority of salmon and other trout.
  • Bull Trout: The coloration is usually olive green with brownish shade on the sides and white shades on the belly. A large, flat, and wide head is part of their flat, slender frame. They don’t have wormlike spots like a brook trout. You will see yellow, red, and orange markings instead.
  • Rainbow trout: Adult fish can be bluish-green or light-green in color. It turns into white to silvery shades towards the belly and red to pink shades toward the sides. Many evenly-distributed, irregular marks are on the whole body.
  • Cutthroat trout: Their color typically lies from silver to olive green or blue. Some may have yellowish tones as well. Gray to green back and brown to reddish belly make the identification easier. They have spots in the skin that are more grouped toward the tail.
  • Lake trout: Gray or greenish top, gray to the white stomach, randomly-shaped gray spots all over the body, white bordered fins, deeply-forked tail are their key characteristics. You won’t find any pink or blue spots anywhere.
  • Brown trout: As the name suggests, brown is the most dominating shade, especially in the back. You will see many dark-brown, red, black marks covered by blue-gray border there.


They like to live in clean, cool water (10 to 16 °C). Lakes with clear streams are in their preference list too. Their patterned look assists in hiding in the surroundings. So, they hardly leave their safe zone. Wherever you are heading for trout fishing, check the following areas:

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  • They consume aquatic insects, crawfish, other small fish, different kinds of flies, mollusks, shrimp, bloodworms, etc. You should cast bait on the areas with enough food supply first.
  • Many live in the underwater structure, around logs, rocks, etc. Such places are protected and have aquatic vegetation, which attracts all vegetation-feeding fish.
  • Spots close to stream inlets are perfect for trout. As the stream-flows bring clean water, they make the environment cooler and promote food growth. They are more likely to wait in a specific spot in moving water until the current brings food.
  • When you hunt in warm months, cast bait on the lower depth of the water reservoir. Trout migrate there in search of cooler water as the shallow regions become warmer than their taste.
  • Focus on the textured surfaces with bumps near steep banks.

Best season

The season is an important factor in determining the success rate of fishing. We are dividing the fishing opportunities based on seasons:

  • Spring: Spring days have the proper weather conditions to grow the trout. That’s why these fish become way larger, bigger, and eager to feed. Seasonal hunters should choose late spring for trout.
  • Summer: Although trout is accessible throughout the year, anglers may not get them in super hot weather even if they opt for deep fishing. At the beginning of summer, trout consume thick grass, become heavier, and take the bait as well. They start avoiding lures as the day passes.
  • Fall: Fall gives decent opportunities due to the cooler environments. Trout get more active, comfortable, and hungry.
  • Winter: You may not find a good amount of fish in winter. A little bit cold is fine, but you should call it a day if the weather goes below the freezing level.

Best time of the day

According to professionals, 6 to 18 °C is the most effective time for casting a bait. Trout get comfortable then and are willing to consume as much food as they can. Their activity level boosts in the morning and evening. They become comfortable and accept almost any type of trout lures. These are the best times for shallow water fishing. These fish lack eyelids and fail to dilate the pupils. They move to shady locations and deeper water layers during the extremely hot time. Hence, keep your eyes on shady structures at noon. Many people claim that fishing right before dusk gives incredible results. You can also get big bites under a moon-lit night. You should avoid too cold, too windy or too hot times.

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Draw their attention with natural live-baits, including waxworms, bloodworms, corn worms, mayflies, stoneflies, grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, and many more bugs. Go for small baitfish if possible. Tubes and grubs act as a delicious treat by mimicking zooplankton. They always get the heaviest bites. For fly fishing, wooly buggers and egg patterns give a satisfying performance. Feathered flashy spoons, spinners, rooster tails are also great choices. Brook trout mostly take rooster tails, flies, jigs, Mepps Aglia spinners, and swimbaits. Power baits, mice tails, maggots are for rainbows. Rely on spinners, spoons, minnow plugs, jerk baits to capture the browns. Bull trout also have a similar preference, but they also like jigs. Almost all drifted baits work wonders for cutthroat groups.

Fishing methods

  • River fishing: Traditional rod-reel fishing, fly fishing are effective for trout in rivers. A 6-foot spin-casting rod can be suitable for most trout. Pair it with a 4 to 8 lb test line according to the size of the fish. Size-5 to size-8 bait hooks work great. You must study the fish behavior depending on the water current. Don’t miss the narrow stream channels. Big brown trout consider deep river water as an ideal spot. If you are more interested in rainbows and small browns, the flowing upper and mid-layer should be your range. Riffles’ fast, shallow waters are usually full of small trout; they are mainly for morning or evening sessions. Mid-day anglers can catch big resting fish from deep, slow-moving sections.
  • Lakes and ponds fishing: They are comparatively clam water sources. Using a bobber is the easiest way to understand bites. Add a small weight right next to the lure. It will let the bait sink effortlessly. Then, attach a bobber 2 to 3 feet above the bait. Select a likely spot for casting. Wait until the bobber begins moving or shaking. This strategy captures trout from the closest regions of the shallow surface. If you want to drag fish from deep water, use an additional weight 2 feet away from the lure. As a result, that weight will go down, and the lure will float up. It will roam around the bottom. Feel free to use spinner, spoon, artificial flies too. Fly-fishing in lake water will be excellent with a 9 feet long fly rod, compatible fly reel, 5-weight fly line, bobber rig, and artificial flies. Or you can use the same set of tackle we suggested in the previous paragraph.
  • Ice fishing: It is a fun approach for fetching trout from a frozen lake. They can’t survive in extreme cold. When the lake freezes, they go 4 to 8 feet down from the water surface. The amount of vegetation and other food lessens in lean winter. So, trout look for food very often while swimming in groups. As you can assume, there is a high chance of fish bites. However, larger ones may go deeper and travel alone. You can find them from 8 to 12 feet water.
  • Sea fishing: Perhaps, it is the most difficult yet enjoyable fishing technique. Seat trout are generally heavier. Catching them with a light line is impossible. We recommend long through-action sea trout rods (at least 10 feet long), number 8 lines, big hooks, and heavy flies. Prioritize major obstacles, spawning streams, nursery streams, and small passages. These parts always contain tons of fish. People find June and July days the most convenient in the British islands. These days are safe. Still, check the weather forecast before heading to the fishing spot.

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