Have you always wanted to learn how to target trout? However, are you flustered by trying to figure out what tackle you’ll need or what techniques to use to fish for them effectively? Whether you plan on fishing with a fly or spinning rod, we have ten tips to help you land your first trout. Follow along as we go over what you’ll need to know to get started.

All the Different Types of Trout

There are many different trout species in North America that anglers can target. Here are the eleven kinds of most common trout you can find:

  • Rainbow
  • Steelhead
  • Cutthroat
  • Brown
  • Brook
  • Bull
  • Golden
  • Char
  • Lake
  • Sea-run
  • Apache
  • Tiger

Fly Fishing Versus Spin Fishing for Trout

While fly fishing for trout is a popular method, spin fishing is just as effective. So, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each technique. Fly fishing has numerous benefits, like having better control of your presentation by giving your bait a lighter, more natural touch. However, fly fishing can be more challenging to learn than spin fishing, and the start-up cost for gear is more expensive.

In contrast, when fishing with a spinning rod, you may not be able to customize every movement of your cast. Yet, with the right rigs and tackle, you can get pretty close. Also, the cost of a complete spinning rod is significantly cheaper than a fly outfit.

Regardless of which technique you decide to use, either is perfectly fine if it fits your needs, lifestyle, and budget.

What Tackle You’ll Need for Trout Fishing

Now, let’s break down all of the gear required to start trout fishing:

  • Fly or spinning fishing rod and reel
  • Fishing line
  • Trout hooks
  • Flies, lures, or bait of your choice.
  • Light fishing weights, 1/64 to ⅛-ounce
  • Barrel or snap swivels
  • Fishing beads
  • Bobber stoppers
  • Floats
  • Fishing pliers
  • Line cutters
  • Landing net

Note, some equipment may vary depending on your fishing methods. If you would like to learn more about what to put in your tackle box for trout, check out this article.

Our 10 Tips on How To Target Trout

Tip #1: Fish in the Early Morning or Evening

Although you can fish for trout at all times of day, they’re more active during certain hours than others. So, we recommend targeting trout during the early morning or evening. During these times of day, the water temperatures are cooler. Trout are known to thrive in these colder temperatures around 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, water temperatures outside of this range can reduce foraging activities.

Tip #2: Learn Where To Locate Trout in Your Local Waters

If you’re fishing in new waters, it is best to scout out the location before a big fishing trip. Here are areas of the water trout are likely to inhabit:

  • Spots that provide overhead cover, like undercuts or rocks.
  • Slow-moving water, such as pools or eddies.
  • Upstream waters with a turbulent current.
  • Cooler, deeper waters in small ponds, lakes, or reservoirs.
  • Waters with overhanging or fallen trees.
  • Places supplying highly oxygenated waters, such as mouths and dams.

Tip #3: Patience Is the Key to Success

Although a trout’s strike can be aggressive, they typically won’t hit fast erratic crankbaits like a bass. So, slow down your presentation and let your bait sit suspended in the water longer before fully retrieving it.

Tip #4: Keep Your Tackle Light

    Jiatai Fishing Bullet Weights

Jiatai Fishing Bullet Weights for trout against a white background.
    Jiatai Fishing weights kit is a 50-piece set that comes with an assortment of bullet weight sizes that you can use for various trout fishing rigs.

When fishing for trout, it is crucial to present your bait with a more delicate touch. Keeping your tackle light serves two primary purposes. One, it allows for a softer landing in the water that won’t spook the trout. Two, it increases your ability to sense strikes so that you can set your hook in time. Therefore, as we mentioned earlier, use fishing weights and jig heads no heavier than 1/64 to ⅛-ounce.

Tip #5: Try Smaller Hooks

Most people don’t realize how outstanding a trout’s eyesight is. They rely heavily on their eyes and nose to feed and warn them of predators. Hence, using too large of a hook can send their senses an instant red flag. So, we suggest using hook sizes around 8-16 for trout.

Tip #6: Utilize Various Lures, Flies, Baits, and Colors

Sometimes when the fish aren’t biting, you need to switch up your technique. For example, if they’re not hitting topwater, suspend your bait deeper. Or, if your color seems too vibrant, select a more natural-looking one. If all else fails, simply move spots and try your luck somewhere else.

Tip #7: Fish Upstream

Typically, trout will feed on drifting insects; therefore, fishing upstream gives your bait a natural presentation. So, use the current to your advantage and cast your bait upstream. Then, allow it to drift down to a pool of water before retrieving it. Plus, it’s easier to land fish if you’re positioned downstream because you won’t have the flow of water working against you while fighting a fish.

Tip #8: Use Monofilament for Topwater Lures

Monofilament is the best line choice for casting topwater lures for several reasons:

  • One, it’s buoyant and will keep your topwater lure on the surface where it belongs.
  • Two, you can cast further and more accurately with it.
  • Three, it can stretch under pressure.

Tip #9: Use Fluorocarbon Leaders for Bottom Rigs

    Berkley Trilene Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Berkley Trilene Fluorocarbon fishing line against a white background.
    Berkley's Trilene Fluorocarbon fishing line is strong, easy to cast, and virtually invisible underwater.

Next, if you enjoy trout fishing with a float, consider using a fluorocarbon leader. Unlike monofilament, fluorocarbon has sinking properties. Also, it is almost completely invisible when submerged underwater. So, trout will have a difficult time detecting your line, giving you the upper hand. Plus, fluorocarbon is more sensitive than monofilament, making it easier to sense strikes.

One basic bottom fishing setup to use for trout is the slip-sinker rig. If you want to learn how to tie the slip-sinker rig, follow these instructions below:

  1. First, thread a sliding sinker onto your main fishing line.
  2. Next, tie a barrel swivel at the end of your main line using an improved clinch knot.
  3. Then, attach a fluorocarbon leader line to the other end of your barrel swivel. The length will vary on the depth of water you are fishing.
  4. Lastly, attach a hook to the end of your leader line, and rig it with your bait of choice.

Tip #10: Fish the Thermocline During Warmer Seasons

During the warmer seasons, the thermocline is a hotspot for trout and other fish species. For those unfamiliar with the thermocline, it’s where the lukewarm surface layer and colder deeper water mix. In the late spring and summer months, trout tend to hang out right above or below this layer of cooler water.

You can find the thermocline by turning up the sensitivity on its sonar function. Note, when searching for the thermocline, make sure to run your boat in a straight line over a deeper water channel.

Are You Excited To Start Trout Fishing?

Don’t let the frustration of fishing for a new fish species deter you from targeting trout. Although trout are intelligent creatures, they are also opportunistic feeders, and with the correct technique, you can fool them into striking.

Which of these ten tips are you going to utilize on your next trout fishing trip? Please let us know in the comments below. Did you enjoy reading this article? Support us by sharing it on social media.