Top Ten Trout Fishing Tips

The trophy fish. It is the dream of every angler and the exaggeration of every storyteller. It elusiveness is what makes it so appealing. But being able to catch fish after fish is just a great. Whether fly fishing from the shore or wading, using these ten tips, you can catch more trout than the angler standing next to you. And that is almost as good as catching that trophy trout.

Pick the Right Hook

A hook is a simple thing. A J-shaped piece of metal with a barb on one end. In fact, a hook is so simple that all of them are the same, right? Wrong.

Hook selection depends on line size, size of the fish, and type of bait being used. Every angler can tell you the perfect hook to use to catch trout. The problem is if you ask ten anglers about that perfect hook, you will get ten different answers.

Use the smallest hook that will work for the fish you are trying to catch. A smaller fish will require a smaller hook. A size ten hook paired with five-pound test will work for most trout.

Wear the Right Clothes

Wearing the right clothes makes a huge difference. An angler wearing camouflage or drab clothes will get more strikes than an angler wearing a bright yellow shirt. The reason is simple—trout can see you.

Choose colors that blend in with your surroundings. Muddy brown or camouflage waders are always a good pick. If you aren't wearing waders, stay away from bright colors. Whatever you wear, just remember—trout can see you.

Smell Right

The number of smells on human hands is simply amazing. And each of those scents will get onto lures when you touch them. Washing your hands helps, but soaps also have scents in them that will transfer. It's quite a pickle.

One thing that will help is to rub your hands with a bunch of weeds or grass. It will take the scents off of your hands and disguise any that are left. Another way is to use regular toothpaste. Many anglers keep a small travel tube with their tackle. Before you handle lures, simply wash your hands with the paste as if it was soap.

A note to smokers: getting the smell of smoke off of your hands before handling any of your tackle is very important. Not only will the trout taste the smoke on the bait, the smoke scent will disperse in the water, keeping trout from even coming close to it.

Make it Look Natural

Trout will not strike bait that looks unnatural as often as bait that is presented in a realistic manner. Think of the way a worm would fall through the water. A worm on a hook bends the worm in half. Not at all how it would naturally fall.

Using gang hooks will present bait in a much more realistic way. Gang hooks are two or three hooks that are tied together. Some anglers tie their own, but most prefer to buy them pre-tied. Hook the end of the worm on the top hook and the middle of the worm on the trailing hook. The worm will look more natural and the second hook doubles your chance of catching that trout that keeps stealing your bait.

Match the Hatch

Keep in mind what kinds of insects are in hatch while you are fishing your favorite trout stream. Since these newly hatched insects are a good source of food for trout, it is important to know what they are. Consult an insect guide or check online if you don't know what is in hatch. A little preparation will guarantee more strikes.

Choose your lures based on what is in hatch. Use lures that look like the insects that the trout are feeding on. This is called "matching the hatch". It takes a lot of preparation and experience to match the hatch just right. Don't get discouraged if it does not work out perfectly the first few times.

Attract that Trout

To get an even better chance of a trout striking, use an attractant. There are hundreds of attractants out there. Do a little experimenting to find the one that works for you.

These products don't really attract more fish to your bait. They make it more appealing. Normally, a trout will taste the bait for a couple of seconds before it decides what to do with it. That is a really small window to set the hook. A trout tasting bait with attractant on it will hold it in its mouth longer, leaving a larger window to set the hook.

Remember that scents travel from your hands to your lures. Instead of dousing the lure with attractant several times, try putting the attractant on your hands. Then, you are putting the attractant on the lure every time you touch it. You will use less of the attractant and it will help cover any scents that are on your hands.

Use the Right Equipment

Having the right tools for the job really makes a difference. It is especially important to know what gear to use if you are fishing in a new location. Ask other fishermen what works for them or talk to the folks at the nearest tackle supplier.

Use the smallest gear that you can get away with. Unless you are fishing for a monster trout, don't spool more than a four-pound test. It is strong enough to set the hook without breaking, but still thin enough to be unnoticeable to the fish.

The size of the hook will vary depending on the size of the fish and the bait, but a size 11 is a good place to start. For larger bait, use a larger hook. A large nightcrawler , for instance, will need a size 4 or 6.

Mind the Weather

Trout aren't known for their love of the sun. On an overcast day, the fish will be much more active, moving through a larger area. On a bright day, they will stick to a smaller area and usually stay in deeper water. Try getting in your trout fishing during sunrise or sunset. Trout are more active in their feeding during these times.

Weather fronts will also affect your fishing trip. If a cold front is passing the trout stream you are fishing on, the fish probably won't be biting. On the other hand, a warm front gets the trout moving. Plan your fishing trip for fair weather days. Not only will you be more comfortable, the trout will be more active.

Know Thy Fish

Learn everything possible about the fish that you are after. Find out when they are active and what they eat. What kind of water do they like? Do you need to fish deep? Do they act differently based on the season?

Knowing the answers to these questions let you pick the best locations to fish from. Talk to other anglers, either in person or online. The more details you know, the better your chances of catching that trophy fish.

Use a Guide

Many anglers look down on the use of fishing guides. Any "real" fisherman already knows everything that is in a fishing guide. These guides, however, contain valuable information for everyone from beginner to expert angler. They usually cover everything from casting techniques to choosing equipment to the fish themselves.

There are as many guides on the market as there are fish in the sea. Go to the local bookstore and flip through some of them. Look for one that is small enough to fit in a pocket of your vest or in with all of your gear. A guide with water resistant covers will protect the pages.

Try out these tips and see what works for you. And don't forget to brag about the number of trout you catch.

Top Ten Trout Fishing Lures and Baits

What is the best bait to catch a trout with? Ask any angler and he will be able to give an answer. The problem is that if you ask ten different fishermen, you'll get ten different answers. Here are those ten answers. Try a few of them or try them all. Whichever you use, you'll increase your chances of landing that trophy fish.


A common, everyday worm is probably the most effective bait that you could use. No matter where you are fishing, a trout will almost always eat a big juicy worm. A large nightcrawler rigged on a set of gang hooks is almost certain to get a strike, if not a catch.

So why aren't more anglers using them? Well, they are a little harder to transport than artificial baits. Flies and lures can be transported in tidy little boxes. Worms require an unwieldy tub. Plus, they aren't really reusable.


Like worms, minnows can be great bait for catching trout. Hook the minnow onto the top hook of a gang hook, leaving the trailing hook bare. The light catches the sides of the minnow, attracting that trophy trout laying in wait.

Minnows are even more cumbersome to transport than worms. They need a bucket and water. If you're wading, forget the minnows. Try a spoon instead.


Spoons are shiny pieces of metal that resemble, well, a spoon. Their bodies are designed to look like minnows as they go through water. The concave part catches the sunlight and attracts fish as it darts through the water.

They come in plain metal or with a variety of colors and patterns. If you can't find one that you really like, you can always paint your own. Nail polish works well. It's water resistant and dries with a shiny finish.

Synthetic Baits

Synthetic baits come in those little jars at the local tackle supply. Powerbait, for instance. They don't look like much, but they are very effective.

Put a gob of the stuff on a set of gang hooks and cast it out. When it hits the water, the scent will disperse into the water and drift downstream. Just like live bait. Fish pick up the scent and track it to your baited hooks.

Be careful with these baits, though. A trout will swallow your bait almost every time, fatally gut-hooking it. If you aren't going to be keeping your catch, use a circle hook to avoid killing the fish.

Gang Hooks

Gang hooks are simple two hooks tied together so that one hook trails the other. If you are using live or synthetic bait, gang hooks are the perfect tool to use. They are the best way to present bait naturally. And the two hooks double your chance of a catch.

Sets come in all sorts of sizes and setups. Tie your own if you can't find a set that works. Or custom order sets from a tackle supply.


Spinners don't rely on light or scent to attract fish, the use noise. The construction is simple—a metal pin with a hook on one end and a flat oval of metal attached at the other. The oval spins as it is pulled through the water, making noise.

The hook and pin are sometime hidden under feathers or fly yarn. Whether plain or decorated, they are immensely effective.

Flat Fish

When you're after a rainbow trout, the flat fish is the way to go. This lure has been around forever, a sign of its effectiveness. It looks much like a tiny, brightly-colored banana with two treble hooks dangling off of it.

As it is pulled through the water, it wobbles side-to-side, enticing fish to gobble it up. Trout rarely let a flat fish go by without a taste.


Flies are probably the most recognizable type of trout fishing tackle. They don't look like much—a hook with some yarn or other material tied around it. They are, however, very attractive to trout.

The design of flies is very scientific. They are made to resemble the insects that trout eat. Fly designs are always changing to be more effective. Modern materials are sometimes added to give the flies more staying power and to make them more attractive to fish.


Another live bait often used is a grasshopper. Unlike fishing with worms or minnows, fishing with grasshoppers means fishing on the surface. It's a little trickier using a grasshopper, but if done right, no trout will be able to resist.

Some fishermen use live grasshoppers. They hop around on the hook, attracting the fish with their movement. Some fishermen use dead grasshoppers and provide the motion as they reel it in.


Although not really a bait or a lure, attractants deserve to be on this list. Adding a bit of attractant to any type of bait will make it much more attractive to fish than that bait alone.

There are as many attractants as there are fishermen. You'll just have to shop around until you find the best one for you.

Add the attractant directly to the bait or use a dab like it was hand lotion. Then, you get a little attractant on the bait each time you handle it. The improved taste will make the trout hold the bait in its mouth a little longer, increasing the chance of a good hook set.

Each of these lures and baits are just as attractive as another to a trout. Whatever you pick is a matter of preference and fishing conditions. Sometimes a live bait will work when a lure won't. And vice versa.