Whether its a river, stream or lake, every one that fishes always wonders the same thing, what time of day is best for catching trout. Some people get up before daylight just to hit the lake in time for sunrise, while others wait until just before sun down to catch some monster rainbows, but does it really matter? Can’t you just go any time of day and throw some bait out there for them and have them eat it. We are going to try and narrow down when the most optimal time is for catching trout, and really try to narrow down some times where catching them will be best. When it comes to fishing, there is never a one hundred percent right or wrong answer, but we can get the upper hand with a little bit of knowledge.
Fish are similar to humans in the fact that they have “feeding times”, or times when they like to eat. Its not because they are hungrier at certain times of the day, but more about when bugs are more active. Trout feed on bugs, so of course the best time of day to fish is going to be when the bugs are out in full force. In the summer time, its best to fish for trout in the early morning or right before the sun goes down when mosquito’s are out buzzing around. In the spring and fall, the best time to catch trout is going to be right around dusk when all those bugs are flying around your face. In the US you can pretty much fish all year round, but I would be careful about fishing in a rainstorm, they tend not to bite as much so all you are going to do is get wet, but in the dead winter, ice fishing can be a lot of fun and you can catch some big ones. Let’s take a look at some different things that really make up what trout like and why they bite when they do.
When you think of trout, its really important to know what they are eating so you can try a bait that is going to be the most effective. Trout like to eat a lot of different insects, other fish, crustaceans, leaches, worms and some other things. The most important thing is going to be the water insects that are underwater, or always on the water for them. Even though they mostly eat insects (which is great for fly fishing), they also love to eat things like crayfish, and even mice that are swimming. Heck, trout will eat each other if given the chance, so their diet is to say the least, BIG. Trout will even eat worms, which is why they sell night-crawlers at your local bait shop, and even in the big retail stores if you live by lakes or rivers. This diet really helps us because it gives us a lot of different baits to use when fishing. A very popular bait is the Kastmaster lures because of all the different shapes, sizes, and colors that they come in to match all of the different things that trout will eat. There have even been people that say trout will eat moss, even though I have personally never seen one that did.
Its all in the eyes
When you think about catching trout, its good to have a general understanding of how they see. A trout has a very unique vision in that it is trained to detect things from above them like food AND predators. Keep in mind that even though they like to eat insects from the top of the water, things like bear, and birds love to eat them, and will catch them from above. It has also been proven that trout can see in color because different fly patterns have attracted more bites than others with less color in them. Trout can also see a round hole out of the top of their eye like a cone directly above their eye that expands. Since they have a 45 degree angle of site out of each eye, it gives them a 90 degree cone for just straight overhead site. They also can see 330 degrees just horizontally out of their eyes, so they only have a 30 degree blind spot. All this science can be put into general terms that trout can see exceptionally well under water and really do not miss out on a lot.
Since trout have great eye site, its important to know how easy they spook. It seems that stocked fish are less likely to spook as easy as other wild trout, but since they do have good vision, you will want to make sure of a few things. Don’t wear super vibrant clothes out to go fishing because that could possible spook a trout and make them leave. Stick to darker clothes and try and stay lower and out of the main field of vision from where you are fishing. Be careful when walking up to a pool or pond because if you accidentally kick a rock or drop something in, a trout is going to hear it and its going to get spooked and swim away because it doesn’t want to get eaten. Trout can also hear the sound of oars and motors from boats in the water, so try to take caution when going to a spot you want to fish, and keep as quiet as you can. Even though trout have good hearing, they are not going to hear a conversation that you are having with your buddy on the shore, or in a boat, so I would not be too concerned with that, just keep an eye on things displacing the water, and work on keeping a low profile when fishing.
Lakes and Rivers and Streams Oh My
When it comes to fishing for trout, fishing in a large body of water compared to a moving body of water can be quite the adjustment. In a lake, the water is usually still, and not there is not a ton of movement from boats in the early morning or at dusk. Since trout like cold water, you are probably going to find them in deeper water rather than in the shallows. If you are in the mountains where it snows or stays cold, you probably wont have any issues catching them in shallower water as long as its around 50 degrees or less. When it comes to streams and rivers, the water is moving more and usually coming down off the mountain, so its easier to catch them in shallow water. Keep in mind that fish are not always wanting to swim with the current so you will want to look for eddy’s or rock cropping where the current is being broken, and try to stand a little bit up stream and let the current take the bait where you want to go. Try and read the current and where its going so you don’t disrupt the water as much as possible. No matter where you fish, lake or river, try not to spook them, or you will be chasing them around all day.
When it comes to selecting a rod for trout fishing, we could spend all day on this topic, but I will try to make it short and sweet, and give you a very rough estimate of what you are going to need. Since trout are smaller, its a good idea to use a nice light rod, so you will want to get a smaller 4 foot 6 inch to 5 foot 6 inch ultralight rod and reel combo so you can really feel the fish bite. A nice fast action is going to help you, especially in lake fishing to see the bite and help you set the hook better. For fishing line, I like to use a nice four to six pound test mono line, but you can use braided if you want. braided line is rated for much higher pound test than a regular mono, but I feel for trout its a bit too heavy. Even though trout can get upwards of 35 pounds, the normal trout you are going to be catching will be in the range of a couple of pounds so the lighter line will be fine. If you do land a big one, you are going to have to work your drag a lot, and not let it snap you line off. When I fish for trout, I use very small hooks, like size 4 or 6 because trout don’t have as big of mouths like bass do, so you don’t need to go overboard on it, just get something small that has a nice circle hoop so you can set the hook and not let it get away. So, Ultralight rod with a faster action will do the trick.
We have covered a lot of stuff around trout and it can seem a little daunting to even begin to know everything (I know I don’t). You really want to stick to the basics, especially if you are new to fishing and worry about a couple of things. Don’t go wearing super vibrant clothes that would scare your mom off, or you might have trouble finding the trout. Use a nice smaller rod that is ultralight and fast action so you can really feel the bite and set the hook fast, and try out a smaller light wait mono line. Have fun and try out new techniques and new baits because they might not bite on the first thing you throw out. Look for colder water and try and through that line out deep if you are on a lake.