Especially in regions with colder climates, trout are one of the most popular sport fish in North America. Since they can put up quite a fierce fight, trout are very popular freshwater game fish much sought after by anglers. Read on to be ready for your next trout fishing trip!
Get to know trout
The two main types of habitat for trout are still waters (e.g., lakes and ponds) or moving waters (e.g., rivers and streams). They’re usually found in cool freshwater, around 50–60 °F or 10–16 °C.
Trout lay their eggs in a gravel nest which is then dug out by the female on the streambed between the months of fall and spring. Young trout are also called troutlet, troutling, or fry.
There are primarily two genera of trout, Oncorhynchus and Salvelinus. Some Salvelinus species are also referred to as chars. Chars often have darker-colored bodies with reddish or cream-colored markings. Their teeth, which are located on the head of the vomer rather than its shaft, further set them apart. Included under the Salvelinus genus are the brook trout, Dolly Varden trout, lake trout, and bull trout. On the other hand, Oncorhynchus trout often have lighter-colored bodies with red or black markings. They have fewer teeth, which are located on the front and shaft of the vomer. The cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and golden trout are all members of the genus Oncorhynchus.
Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) is a freshwater char. It is regarded both as a game fish and a food fish. Many of North America's bigger lakes are home to lake trout. They have long lifespans, spanning up to decades, and can reach weights of up to 30 kilograms (66 lb).
Finding trout in lakes
As mentioned above, trout prefer to live in cool freshwater that provides them food or protection from predators. Insects, crabs, tiny fish, and their eggs, make up their diet. If you’re looking for trout in lakes, a good place to start would be spots near or above aquatic vegetation. Look around logs, stumps, rocks, or other structures near stream inlets where streams pouring into lakes or ponds are providing cold, fresh water and probably a supply of food.
How to catch trout and the best baits and lures
One of the oldest and most commonly used methods to catch trout is fly fishing. Bottom fishing is also found to be effective in still waters, especially as trout frequently cruise just above the bottom in search of food. Jigging is also an effective technique because of its irregular action, which mimics injured fish.
Trout are not particularly picky eaters. Considering their diet, anglers can experiment with live bait such as crickets, minnows, fish eggs, and nightcrawlers. It's easy to trick wild trout using natural baits or synthetic lures that closely resemble natural ones, too.
Gear for catching trout
To go fishing for trout in lakes, all you need is a rod and reel, along with a modest assortment of lures, bait hooks, bobbers, and artificial bait.
It is recommended to use a medium-weight rod about six or seven feet in length, paired with a spinning reel and four- to six-pound monofilament line. Lake trout prefer light lures, so stock up on small sinkers, swivels, hooks, and bobbers as well.
You can also use a depth finder to catch trout. When fishing after winter, keep your lure or bait between 10 feet and the surface. In the middle of spring, keep it between 35 and 45 feet deep. In late spring, keep it between 50 and 65 feet deep. In the summer, keep it at the 53-degree thermal layer.
When to catch trout
Trout are cold-blooded and their body temperatures mimic the temperature of the water they swim in. Considering this, you might find it useful to keep this as a general rule: if the air temperature is uncomfortable for you — too cold or too hot — it will also be uncomfortable for them.
As they prefer low temperatures, spring and autumn are the most ideal seasons to fish for trout on lakes at lower elevations since the water is colder and the trout are more active during these times. Early in the spring, trout eat in more areas of the lake and for longer stretches of the day, increasing your chances of success all around the lake.
In summer, however, you’ll have to look for trout in deeper waters, when trout are seeking cooler water and safety from predators. In the summer, lake trout are most active between dawn and 11:00 a.m., especially in calm waters and with high air pressure.
When it comes to the time of day, you will probably have better luck at any time with overcast conditions since lake trout like to avoid bright lights. You can also choose to go fishing between dawn and 11 a.m. or at dusk. During these times, lake trout will feel more at ease to venture out, and they also bite more when the bugs are more active.
From bait to behavior, you now have everything you need to know about catching trout in lakes! If you’d like to learn more about catching other fish, you might be interested in How to Catch Flounder by Fisher Mel! Make sure to keep these trivia and tips in mind before heading out for another great day on the water.