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Trout Fishing Basics: Techniques, Tips, and Tackle

Updated on December 15, 2010

Trout fishing basics

Fishing is a beloved and pleasant pastime for many people around the world. Whether you are fishing for marlin in the open ocean, or fishing for rainbow trout in a wooded creek, the sport has something for most people. Learning and knowing how to fish for trout can be a desired skill, and one which you can pass on to others. With spring in the air and summer approaching, the thought of embarking on a new hobby has maybe crossed your mind. If you have never tried fishing, this summer could be the perfect time to set up your rod and reel, pack your tackle box and cooler and go fish for trout. Keep reading you will learn when and where to go, the how to, what you need and everything else in between to teach you how to fish for trout.

Where to fish

Between America and our neighbors to the North, there are thousands of places for world-class trout fishing. When fishing freshwater, you have the option of fishing in a lake or stream.

If you are fishing in a lake, it is a matter of patience, skill, and some luck. If you have a boat, even better. The best and often biggest lake trout enjoy deeper waters and places with difficult access. If you are fishing in a creek or stream, try to move around. Similar to in a lake, trout often like deep water. An ideal fishing spot in a stream would involve deep, slow-moving water. If there is a spot with obstacles such as trees or shrubs shading the top of the water…even better. Try to move around when fishing in streams. Explore the shores and find what works for you. Do some research online to find the best fishing spots in your neck of the woods. The other option you have to consider is when to go.

When to fish

Springtime is ideal for trout fishing. Now that the sun has shone his face, the snow in the mountains begins to melt, filling the lakes and streams below it with fresh, clean water. Trout will remain active far into the Summer months, but with a slow decline. As Summer ends and September and October near, trout will begin to spawn. This is often the best time for catching trout. You will have the most luck trying to catch trout in the early morning, or just before dark, this is when they are most active.

How to fish lakes and streams

In regards to lake fishing, I am not a huge fan. Why? Unless I have a 6-pack and a good book, I would rather be fishing in a stream. The truth is, you will often catch larger fish while fishing out of a lake. Whether you are fishing from the bank, or from the bow of a boat, you will need your rod, reel, line, and bait. Knowing something about the water depth, and type of bottom is helpful.

First, you will need to tie on a hook, then put some bait on it. Check local fishing shops in the area to find out what the fish have been biting on. You can use a bait and hook set up with a bobber (to let you know when a fish bites) or a lure that you cast, and immediately reel in, in hopes of attracting a fish swimming by.

How to tie a fishing hook

Once your fishing line has a hook and is baited up, you will need to cast it into the water. This involves throwing the line out over the water using your fishing rod.

How to cast

When fishing in creeks and streams, it is much different. If it is a small creek, one must always be wary of a rocky bottom, trees, bushes, underwater logs and debris etc. All of these are hazardous and should be avoided if possible. If not, you will spend more time trying to untangle your line and tying new hooks (see video) than catching fish. As previously mentioned, try to find a deep, slow-moving spot in the water. This may require dropping your line in above the desire spot, and letting the flowing water carry it down and hopefully past a fish. A bobber is usually not necessary, but things like power bait, live worms, salmon eggs, or for the frugal fisherman even hotdogs will work great in hooking a trout. 

Once you bait the hook and cast your line in the water, wait for the trout to bite. Once he does, give your fishing rod a slight jerk, and reel in.

What you'll need

Many indigenous peoples use little more than a stick to catch fish. I've also seen some real "mountain men" use $3,000 crossbows to shoot unsuspecting fish in the face. However, I recommend equipping yourself with something a bit more practical, for example, a good ol' fishin' rod and reel. Here are some items worth spending your money on before going trout fishing.

Lake fishing
Lake fishing
Catch trout like this
Catch trout like this


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    • Ahmedur Rab profile image

      Ahmedur Rab 13 months ago

      nice article.

      Thank you

    • profile image

      zach 2 years ago

      this is amazing

    • jdaviswrites profile image

      Jeff Davis 7 years ago from California

      thanks for the comment. i love getting my line tugged too...

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I have not been fishing for a while. I love that first tug on my line. Voted up!