How to Catch the Biggest Trout in the Stream

The odds of catching trout improve as fishermen learn more about the trout they seek, what they eat and where they live.

How to Catch the Biggest Trout in the Stream
Several factors need to be evaluated before reaching a conclusion about what fly, lure or bait will give you the best chance at getting that fish to bite. (File photo)

Learn all you can about trout while fishing to improve your success.

No question: Being outdoors is important; but being on the water is more fun when you're catching fish.

The odds of catching trout improve as fishermen learn more about the trout they seek, what the trout eat and where they live.

The more you know, the more you'll enjoy a day outdoors while catching trout.


TROUT BEHAVIOR

Sometimes, the best way to catch trout requires the fisherman to put down the rod and put on polarized sunglasses to get a closer look at what's happening beneath the water's surface. Several factors need to be evaluated before reaching a conclusion about what fly, lure or bait will give you the best chance at getting that fish to bite:


  • Water temperature provides a clue about the amount of dissolved oxygen in the stream. Cold water contains more dissolved oxygen, invigorating the trout into feeding.
  • The current speed, combined with the water depth, reveals how far to cast upstream, so the offering sinks to the correct depth without hanging up before it gets to the feeding zone.
  • Knowing the substrate provides insight into the food items being eaten. Weeds can mean scuds. Gravel may indicate stoneflies or sculpins. Sand and mayflies go together. Fine gravel and decaying vegetation are home to caddis.

WHERE THEY LIVE

Every high-water event washes out streamside trees that, once wedged into position in the stream bed, create new hiding places for the biggest trout in the neighborhood. Anglers who approach these "lies" with a plan more often enjoy the results than a haphazard fisherman.

They take a couple of moments for observation.

  • Is the snag midstream?
  • Is it perpendicular to the current, still attached to the shore by the roots?
  • Has the current eroded the substrate around the snag, creating deep fish-holding buckets?

Solve the first problem -- casting to the lie -- by wading (or floating) into proper position. The first cast -- the most effective cast -- goes upstream, providing a downstream, tumbling route that leads your offering into the mouth of trout finning in front of the snag. Now move downstream, even with the snag, to make precise casts into the "buckets" scoured out around the snag by the current.

THE BIGGEST TROUT IN THE STREAM

It's simple: Some anglers catch more big trout because they fish where big trout live.


Fish have simple needs:

  1. a secure place to call home -- even better, if home also provides a reliable food source.
  2. protection from overhead and waterborne predators.

Overhead cover can be a thick blanket of foam, a root wad jutting from the shore, an in-stream snag, an undercut bank, an overhanging thatch of grass.

A "bucket" or a fast, deep run provides cover by refracting light. Any object that provides shade -- be it a tree, a rock or a deep canyon -- provides overhead cover. Focus on where current drives food toward or into protected lies.


For example, the current always runs fastest on an outside bend of a stream or river, acting like a conveyor belt full of food to fish hiding in the resulting undercut bank or deep trough.

All these factors are the major influences upon fishing success, but innovative trout tackle manufacturers produce new gear every year, aimed at making your ability to present the next best lure or fly easier and more practical in hopes you will find trout fishing more fulfilling day after day, year after year.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

Multiple time FLW Costa winner Jessi Mizell is no stranger to catching big Florida bass on a popping frog. As he tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, with the new 13 Fishing Omen Black baitcasting rod, the job just got easier.

13 Fishing Inception SZ

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

Costa

Costa's Award Winning Waterwoman Sunglasses

Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about all of the great features that made the new Waterwoman frame a big winner at the 2019 ICAST show as well as out on the water.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time. Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

 A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest.

Although the art Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Catfish

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell - April 04, 2018

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

See More Trending Articles

More Trout & Salmon

Today, Pennsylvania's trout angler's have numerous options for jump-starting the year's adventures. Trout & Salmon

Pennsylvania's Best Early Trout

Jeff Knapp - April 16, 2019

Today, Pennsylvania's trout angler's have numerous options for jump-starting the year's...

Some of the most productive trout waters are clear, cold tailwaters. Trout & Salmon

Tailwater Trout: Back-Trolling for Success

Cal Kellogg - April 05, 2019

Some of the most productive trout waters are clear, cold tailwaters.

Some of the hottest bites this summer can be found in Arkansas' coldwater trout fisheries. Trout & Salmon

Cool Off with Hot Coldwater Trout

Marshall Ford - July 30, 2019

Some of the hottest bites this summer can be found in Arkansas' coldwater trout fisheries.

As trout fatten for winter, shake things up by ditching the standard dry-fly, match-the-hatch drill and start stripping streamers. Trout & Salmon

The Secrets of Stripping For Trout

Pat Meitin

As trout fatten for winter, shake things up by ditching the standard dry-fly, match-the-hatch...

See More Trout & Salmon

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.