Trout Fishing Basics: Beginners Guide

Mark Johnson
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Facts About Trout

The Pacific trout is the main kind of trout that’s going to be fished for here. It is a game fish that is known for getting up to 36 inches in length. The biggest one that’s ever been caught weighed in at 12 lbs.

A few years ago, a new subspecies of trout was discovered in California. It’s known as the Golden Trout. It has a golden underside and also can grow to be about the same size as the Pacific trout. It’s not as easy to catch, though, and is a trophy catch if you can do so.

Other species of trout that are popular to fish for are the Rainbow Trout, the Cut-throat, and the Bull Trout. The Rainbow Trout gets up to around 24 inches in length. The Cut-throats usually get up to 28 inches long. The Bull Trout gets up to 30 inches long.

The Cut-throat and the Bull Trout are the only two subspecies of trout that are native to the United States. The Cut-throat Trout is special because it is a rare and threatened species of trout. It can be found in certain areas of the upper Colorado River and would probably be better off left to swimming around in its habitat than placed on a hook.

Getting Started: Trout Fishing Essentials

The best trout fishing bait is made from what you can find in the lake, stream or river. Younger trout love any kind of freshly hatched insect, and also will feed on crayfish, snails and small fish.

In general, a trout fishing lure needs to be aerobic to have maximum scent and movement.

The exception to this are lure fishing styles that will allow you to fish deeper and fish extremely deep water.

For the rest of this article, lures refer to 2-Dimensional lures such as spinners, spoons, crankbaits, or if you should choose to use 3-Dimensional lures, please consult the fishing guides for those lures.

Trout fishing days start for many in the early hours before sunrise. Don’t forget your flashlight and watch.

When the sun breaks the horizon, take a look at the sky for any sign of a weather change and adjust your clothing accordingly.

Dark days are best for fishing cold water. During times of high pressure, you can expect the water temperature to be higher. Consider moving to another body of water.

A Fishing Licence

To be able to fish you will need a fishing licence. There are different kinds and prices. Your local tackle shop or fisheries body can advise you. Make sure you have the right licence for the area you are going to fish. This varies depending on the area you plan to fish in.

Fishing Equipment

The most basic of fishing equipment needed for fly fishing includes a rod, line, and flies. Today, many times you can purchase these items together in kits. Two major factors that contribute to a rod’s price is the frame of the rod and the number of pieces or sections in the rod. Price is often a general indication of quality of the rod as well. The harder the rod, the stiffer it is and the more expensive.

The line that is used to connect the fishing rod to the fishing reel is the most important part of your equipment. With the exception of the equipment used to catch large fish such as sharks or marlin, line strength did not play a major role in the overall performance of fishing lines. For the fly fisher though, there is no substitute for strong line if you intend to catch fish over 10 pounds.

Fly fishing is different in that the line actually does the work. It also has to float. So let’s look at the various types of fly fishing lines.

Trout Fishing Rules and Techniques

If you play by the rules, you are most likely to have a great time and catch a lot of fish. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things going on in the game of fishing newbies and beginners can easily get confused on when it is appropriate to follow a given rule or break one. Some of these rules are passed down from generation to generation while some are considered universal. The following is a general list of rules which should prove useful as you try to catch trout.

Fish early in the day. The ideal time is from 2 am to 10 am. Early morning is that time of the day that fish’s mouths are watering because of rising hormones. If you are fortunate to wake up at 2 am, then you should definitely go fishing. If your body does not allow you to get up at that time go fishing as close as possible to 10:00. You should also fish from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm. This is because fish start to feed actively when it gets cooler. Look for a shady place during these times. Avoid bright sunny days as fish will follow the advice of super senses.

Freshwater vs Saltwater Trout Fishing

Fishing for trout in freshwater is different than in saltwater.

In freshwater, trout typically spawn during the spring, and then they die shortly after.

In saltwater, on the other hand, the trout will spawn throughout the entire year, which means they live for a very long time.

Salmon are the biggest of the trout species.

Trout-fishing is more technically demanding than fishing for other species of fish. When trout feed, they attack their prey from the back and below. For this reason, they feed more during dusk and dawn, which are the times of day when they feel least threatened.

Because trout are not as abundant and easy to catch as bass or smallmouth bass, but are not as hard to catch as salmon, they are the prized fish of freshwater fishermen around the world.

Trout fishing is not a sport for the impatient fisherman. A lot of time is usually spent in silence, waiting for the fish to strike. And when one bites, quick reflexes are needed to reel in the fish.

Tips for Beginners

Have an agenda before your travel to the trout stream. Make a checklist of the most important things which you need and create it in such a way that you can carry it with you. Some of them are fly-box with dry flies, wet flies and nymphs, leaders, tippets, fishing vest, landing net, waders and knifes.

Keep your equipment handy as it is hard to improvise on the spot. If you don’t have waders, then don’t go ahead to the stream. Go with your buddy as trout fishing demands patience and cooperation.

Confine your fishing time to specific months. In most places, there are restrictions on the number of trout that can be lifted from the water between May and September. The trout simply take a break in summer to recover from the rigors of the spawning period. This makes fishing better between October and April when trout fishing is a delight. You can carry out trout fishing during spring and fall seasons too but can’t lift the fish.

Don’t cast into the water from even four feet away. Cast from the surface or from the banks as the fish can sense your presence the moment they smell your sunscreen or your fleece.

Besides helping you to see if you are getting close to the target, your buddy can also keep you entertained.

Know what to look for

When you are first beginning to fish a trout stream you first need to know what to look for. There are many different fishing markets that you will encounter because of the popularity of trout streams. You should be able to identify what types of fish stocked in the trout stream.

Trout are very hearty fish and they are a catch and release kind of fish so it is important to identify what types of bait and tools will cause the least amount of harm to the trout.

From experience you should be able to determine what type of bait to use and what type of trout fly to use. There are many different types of trout fly's to choose from as well as many different types of available bait to use.

You should identify and research what has been successful on your own fishing trip.

Keep your bait in mind

The type of bait you use should depend on the type of trout you’re going after and the water conditions you’re fishing in. Some baits work better in fast moving water, while others work better on calm water. Some baits also work better in winter than others, while some are best used in summer. Stay in tune with the kinds of bait your particular trout prefer, and adjust according to the time of year and conditions.

Some trout love small insects like midges and black mosquitoes, while others prefer larger insects like beetles. When trout are actively feeding on a certain type of insect, make sure you are using the right kind of imitation to draw them out, so that you can land that big one!

Trolling small lures behind a boat is also an effective method. As the lure bobs around, it creates a disturbance to attract the attention of trout. This method is best to use in clear, fast moving water, so that you can get a good look at the trout you pull in.

Check out local fishing maps

Local maps for trout fishing in your area are readily available in tackle shops, sporting goods stores, and book stores. These maps make it easy to locate the best body of water for trout fishing.

They tell you what fish can be found in which areas, what species can be found in a river, and what water level is optimal. It’s always a great idea to check local fishing maps before you go trout fishing.

Your map will tell you whether the water is deep or shallow, so you can bring the right equipment. It will also help you find hidden water that’s

The best way to fish is to know where the trout are!

Whenever you get to your location, don’t waste valuable time checking out the best spots. Decide which section of the river or lake you’d like to fish and drop in right away.

For example, you can find a spot that’s shallow with an eddy and a couple of holes or you can wait an hour and struggle for a spot without waiting for the fish to hit.

If you find a great spot to fish, leave it alone. Fish the other spots that are less-known. Locate a section of the body of water where the fishies are already biting.


Fishing is more than catching a trout. It's a way of life. Learn to fish in a way that suits you best, and you will have a good time going on fishing trips.

Learning the best ways to fish takes time, so don't be discouraged if you don't catch anything on your first fishing trip. Just keep practicing on the streams and lakes you fish on.

The more you fish, the more times you will get to experience the excitement of catching a big trout.