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Trout Fishing

Rainbow troutA trout is not just a “trout” as there are more than 50 species and subspecies of this fish.  The most popular trout in the United States are the rainbow trout, steelhead, brown trout, brook trout and cutthroat trout.

Rainbow trout is the best game fish for fly fishing. It can be said that fly fishing was invented primarily to catch rainbow trout.  Rainbow trout will eat any insect on the surface water and will thrive well in clear, cool water.  Rainbow trout were imported to the UK and Europe by the early American settlers that by 1900, rainbow trout could be found in almost all parts of the world.

Steelheads are rainbow trout that went out to the sea to feed then return to fresh water to spawn. Often associated with salmon, this is one of the most sought after trout as it is cunning and quite agile due to its exposure to life in the sea. The metallic coloration of the steelhead reverts back to the pinkish-tinge characteristic of the rainbow trout once it is ready to spawn in fresh water.

The brown trout is the most difficult to catch of all trout species. It is wary of any movement and quite smart as it cannot easily be fooled into biting. Its saltwater cousin is the sea trout.

The brook trout or “brookies” are usually found in cold and clear mountain streams of North America. A brookie is actually a char but it has been called a trout by every angler in the world.

Cutthroat trout is one of the favorites of American anglers because of its wild spotted golden yellow color and an exciting sporting behavior.  They are usually found in lakes and tributaries fed by streams.

fishing1Landing a Trout

Fishing for a Rainbow trout is best done before and after the spawning season – spring and fall. Since Rainbows are not picky eaters, they will nibble and bite on anything remotely resembling “food”.  The trick is to get as close to a feeding rainbow, select the right fly, and present it the right way and time without scaring the trout away.

Steelhead straight from the sea fights hard. They are quite wary and prefer to lie on the bottom amidst snags and water bushes.  The number of spawning steelhead has been steadily declining that steelhead anglers use barbless hooks so that they can catch, admire and release a steelhead back to the water to spawn. It is best to fish for steelhead at dusk and dawn.

The brown trout is the hardest one to catch as it is suspicious of anything unnatural. An angler should establish what kind of insect it is feeding on and then use a lure or fly that closely resembles its natural food.  The largest ones almost always feed during the night.  Found in deeper pools,   these hardy fighters will dive deep in search of snarls or fallen trees in an effort to shake off the hook when caught.

“Brookies” swim in schools and is best caught using spinners cast in shallow water. It must be noted that all trout have exceptional above-the-water vision. Yes! It can watch an angler from a vantage point.  Though relatively aggressive, brookies are easy to catch.  In trout fishing, patience and silence are key ingredients.

Sad to say, most trout lakes and streams are stocked by hatchery-reared fish from April to October. However, trout fishing is viable all year round.  Fish in shallow waters in spring; in deeper pools in summer and near shorelines in fall.

fishing1Bait and Tackle

There was a time when “tickling the trout” into stupor was a way of catching a trout.  It is a fact that stroking a trout’s belly will render it motionless and helpless. Tickling a trout to catch it is an art  but where is the excitement?

Every angler has his way of tackling trout -be it fly fishing, bait fishing or trolling. Of late, a spinning rod has become a popular choice for both new and experienced anglers. For starters, a 4 or 5 feet long fast action spinning rod fitted with a spinning reel wound with a 4-6 pound test line would do.  Bait fishing is acceptable using #10 – 14 hooks.

The use of nymphs, lures, wet and dry flies are acceptable if paired with a light and flexible trout rod. Note that trout are partial to minnows.  The secret in choosing a rod to pick is for the angler to “test” the rod in a dealer’s artificial pool.

fishing1Where to Fish Trout

Almost every stream, lake and river in the USA has some species of trout in it.  For steelheads, the best locations are the rivers that open up into the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to California.

According to a survey conducted by members of the American Trout Unlimited some of the best rivers and streams to catch trout are: the Firehole and Gibbon in Yellowstone National Park; Togiak in Alaska; Rock Creek in Montana; Au Sable in Michigan and Batten Kill in Vermont.  In Hancock , New York the Delaware River teems with different species of trout.   Colorado and Minnesota have its share of interesting bodies of water that is populated with trout all-year round.

There is no secret river or stream for trout fishing as any clear and cool riffle is sure to have a trout lurking near the banks.