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Big Bait Tips for Big Stream Trout

To take advantage of the spring thaw to target big brownies and rainbows, give them a larger meal offering worth their effort to take a nibble

Big Bait Tips for Big Stream Trout
Big Bait Tips for Big Stream Trout

There was a time in my life when I was so obsessed with targeting big trout that I couldn’t think of much else. It lasted about a dozen years and what I learned from those countless hours is big trout like big meals. It’s so stupid it’s simple, I know, but doesn’t make it untrue.

When I was a youngster my father was a devout fly angler, so that’s what I became. By the time I was eight-years old, I could tie an elk-hair caddis and spent as much time as I could trying to entice stream trout to eat my homemade offerings.

While we had a blast plying the many streams of my native southeastern Minnesota, we never caught big fish. In fact, I can remember finally landing a true 16-inch brown and we debated – ever so briefly – on whether to keep the fish and display it permanently on the wall.

My greed over keeping my first big fish lost out to my desire to simply watch him swim away, so I granted him clemency. Eventually, on a whim I took a spinning rod to a few of our trout spots and started fishing with tiny spinners and crankbaits. I caught the same trout I did on fly rods, only it wasn’t as much fun.

Then I put on a spinner designed for pike fishing to satisfy teenage curiosity, and the first fish I caught created a wake behind it and measured a full three inches longer than any brownie I’d ever landed.

After that it was all I could do to fish every day with big lures. I eventually got into the writing game and got an assignment to write about this very topic, but the editor told me he wouldn’t buy the story without a legitimate 26-incher. I had two days to find one, and at the end of it all, I had six fish more than 20 inches, but nothing close enough to 26 to call it good.

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