Catch more trout with these simple tips and tricks

Trout fishing is one of the most rewarding types of fishing that requires patience, persistence, and a little bit of luck. The reward of hooking up to a trout is always worth the time. As the saying goes, “bigger is better”; and that certainly rings true with catching fish. We’ve outlined a couple major tips and tricks to maximize your chance of hooking into a big fish.

Gear Up for the Occasion
You don’t need to buy the hottest most expensive gear on the market to land a big fish, but you should be prepared with the appropriate rod and reel, fly line, and leader. Here are three suggestions for the most universal setup that will allow you to catch normal size fish but also handle the big guns!

  • Rod and Reel – a 9 foot, 5 weight rod will provide you enough of a backbone to catch small native brook trout with one cast and a beefy five-pound rainbow on the next.
  • Fly line – a 5 weight rod can be paired with either 5 weight line, or overloaded with 6 weight line to help with ease of casting.
  • Leader – a 9 foot tapered leader in the 4X size is the most versatile. The tapered aspect of the leader helps the fly to unfold on to the water, and the strength of 4X is strong enough to land a nice sized trout.

Tie the Right Fly
Tying the right fly is essential to enticing a big hungry trout. Here are 3 go-to flies that are sure to help increase the odds of a hot bite.

  • Wooly Bugger (streamer) – The wooly bugger is perhaps the most versatile fly, that mimics a variety of aquatic life. The fly can be worked many ways, our favorite being a strip and pause. Most hits will come on the pause. Favorite colors include black, white, and olive.
  • Pheasant Tail Nymph (wet fly) – Pheasant tailed nymphs are a confident fly to fish when fishing tight fast-moving water. They come in a variety of sizes, so the best way to “match the hatch” would be to flip rocks and see what sizes your fly matches up to. This being said, it is wise to carry multiple sizes, and some with and without bead head weights.
  • Foam Ant (dry fly) – Ants are commonly found throughout the best fishing destinations in America. As with the Pheasant Tailed Nymph, be sure to pack your fly box with a variety of ant sizes to see what the fish are biting. The foam ants are buoyant, durable, and all-around good producers.

Spot Your Trophy Honey Hole If your gear and flies are on point, your chances of hooking into trout will increase drastically. It is important to keep in mind that there is no substitute for spending time out on the water discovering new places to fish. Look for deep holes, watch how the water flows, and key into the bugs that surround you. If you put the time in, it wont take long to discover an epic spot. What are you waiting for? Get out there and catch yourself the fish of a lifetime!

Best practices to ensure a safe trout catch and release

Practicing catch and release helps protect the future of our trout fishery. The more educated we are about handling and releasing fish the correct way, the longer we can maintain a healthy trout population for generations to come. We’ve gathered a few important tips for a safe catch and release.

Handling

  • Use a single hook with crushed barbs – The fewer hooks your fly has, the less chance the fish has of getting hooked in multiple areas. Crushing the barb allows the hook to come out smoothly, reducing the time it takes to get the fish back in the water.
  • Don’t over play the fish – Once you are hooked up, be sure to bring the fish in relatively quick to avoid complete exhaustion. Play the fish quickly by keeping side pressure on the trout to bring it to the net quickly. Side pressure is turning the tip of your rod to the left or right of the fish to turn its head back towards you.
  • Wet Your Hands – trout naturally have a protective slime on their body. In order to protect that layer, wet your hands in the water before handling the fish. Refrain from touching the gills; they are sensitive and easily damaged.
  • Keep the fish in the water as much as possible – the longer the fish remains in the water, the better chance it will have of survival. Avoid bringing the fish to land if possible. If you want a picture, have a friend snap a quick photo and then release it.

A Safe Release

  • When you have successfully fought the fish, and brought it to hand, hold the fish with one hand on the belly and the other gripping right before the tail. It is imperative to handle the fish with a soft touch and not squeeze.
  • You’ll know when the trout is ready to go because it will start moving its tail and feel like it wants to swim away. Do not let fish go until this happens and do not let fish go belly up. Note: Larger fish usually take longer to revive and require more attention than smaller fish.
  • When it is ready, let go of the fish and watch as it beautifully swims back to the water it came from.

Congratulations, you have successfully released a beautiful trout to live another day! Let them go let them grow.