River Trout Fishing Guide: How to Catch Them?
Today I’m going to go over how to catch a trout, specifically in a river scenario. Before getting into some of the gritty details, I need to emphasis that I will be speaking about bait fishing and river lure fishing. I hope this guide will give you the basic rundown on what you need to know when going river trout fishing.
Both can work for catching trout in rivers, and generally bait fishing is much more beginner friendly. Let’s take a quick overview of two different methods;
As you can probably guess, the act of bait fishing is hooking up bait to the rod and casting it out to a target location in the river (or wherever you are fishing). The bait you want to use for Trout is slightly different others. These days the best bait would be maggots, mud-eyes, and earthworms (during colder times of the year, more on this later). These are my three favorite baits to use for Trout when I go river fishing for them.
You can use different techniques when hooking up the bait as well. With earthworms, some people prefer having two hooked. Others will go up to three. Why? Well you can use one or two to really solidify the hook, and another one to act as a “live dangler” to a degree. There isn’t one style that you have to do..it comes down to preference and how the Trout may be responding on that particular day.
Remember to remain patient and not constantly cast and reel if you are planning to catch your Trout by bait fishing on the shoreline.
What is lure fishing? It’s in fact as the name suggests…you are luring the fish towards your hook and line. Although the biggest difference in this type of activity is you don’t use traditional bait.
You used what is called a lure (there are so many of them), it’s essentially an artificial fish bait. It looks like bait, moves like bait, and is colored to appear as bait. Honestly there isn’t all that much too add in this section, for river fishing that is. To get some more details about lures, check out Wikipedia – Fishing Lure. I would also recommend checking out Fish USA who stock a lot of lure gear – can be very handy when you want things sent to your door.
How Do You Do River Trout Fishing?
Now that I’ve covered off the two basic styles and methods of catching trout in rivers, let’s speak a little about how you should be doing it.
For bait fishing you need to treat it like most other fishing adventures. Patience, and more importantly with trout – quietness. Don’t be afraid to talk! I just mean don’t go round throwing things in the river (rocks, sticks and so on) and expect the trout to be hanging around still. A small to medium spinning reel is absolutely fine for river trout fishing, with a 4-9 pound line being suitable. All you need with this method is a single hook when using earthworms as your bait. Remember to use a running sinker when bait fishing.
For lure fishing things are a little different. Your goal is to be physically situated in the river – where you can be SAFE. I cannot stress this enough, please make sure you are carefully assessing the area and walking through the river SMART. The last thing you want is to just start casually walking out to the middle of the river without assessing the situation and fall into an area that sends you into swimming panic mode. Ultimately you just want to be able to cast in an area that will allow you to reach both sides of the river where possible. Doesn’t have to be perfect…safety is more important.
Because you will be walking into the water, you need to be VERY quiet. Trout are not very smart, it’s been researched that they are not able to multi-task and as such if they get feared / frightened..they could actually forget they are hungry!
Once you have found a comfortable position to be in, start your cast upstream to one of the river banks. The trick here is to start “luring” the reel back inwards to you. No need to do it fast…just cast, sit for a second, slowly reel in. Emulate a small little fish just casually swimming around.
From this point onward, keep casting out about a couple of meters apart each time until you have done about 180 degrees worth of space (basically front of you, to the back of you).
Repeat this process 2-3 times.
Unless you’re very lucky, you’ll need to move onto the next step. Start moving slowly a few meters upstream – 5 meters or so will be absolutely fine. Then it’s all about repeating the same steps of casting and luring. That’s it! Now practice to become a pro and make river trout fishing a regular routine experience for you
Sounds easy, but it can be tough work. If you follow this style you can virtually cover a large portion of the river and attract any trout looking to eat.
Bait vs Lure Fishing?
To finish off the river trout fishing guide, I should probably briefly discuss what you may be thinking – which method is better?
Lure fishing sounds like you put in more effort, so one could naturally assume this is better. The real answer is – they are both perfectly fine for catching trout in rivers. In my experience I have had times where bait fishing was working wonders and wouldn’t have to do anything but sit in my chair, relax (with my dad in the past), and enjoy reeling in trout. Other times when things were slow I would end up doing lure fishing because they were either deep in the river, or in areas that I couldn’t quite reach with a normal cast from the river bank.
If you’re a beginner, I highly recommend sticking with bait fishing. Learn to master it and become an experienced angler! It’s beginner friendly because the bait fishing method can be applied to so many rivers, lakes and so on.
Thank you for reading – stay tuned for my next post! I’m thinking of writing up a few things about specific tips and techniques of catching trout (how to reel them in, their tendencies etc).