Freshwater trout swim creeks, rivers, lakes and ponds around the world. Anglers target the fish with lures, natural bait, artificial bait, flies and even bow and arrow. Although there are over 50 species of freshwater trout, brown, rainbow and brook trout are the most popular with anglers. Three pros from around the country weigh in on their favorite techniques for tackling big spring trout.
3 Pro Secrets for Catching Big Trout in Spring
1 Wade Nichols
A Wilderness Systems pro, Nichols targets giant rainbow trout in the Great Lakes. “When I’m fishing for trout, I troll,” Nichols says. His favorite trolling baits include a Size 4 Rapala Jointed Shad Rap, Rebel Wee Craw and Size 6 Rapala X-rap. He spools a medium-light, seven-foot, six-inch rod with 10-pound braided line and a six-foot leader of 15-pound fluorocarbon.
He then trolls at a variety of depths while scanning his electronics for boulders, secondary points and cuts. To get the lures deep, he trolls the lures up to 100 feet behind the kayak. “When the water is clear I use a shallow diver; in clouded water I let the lure bounce off the bottom,” he explains.
2 Todd West
A Georgia angler who holds several fly-fishing world records, West targets brook trout in smaller creeks and rivers where he can use his kayak to access remote areas. “I like to fish grassy undercut banks and sections with overhanging vegetation,” West says. In the south, terrestrial insects come out early, so West often ties on a floating hopper pattern. To cover all of his bases, he adds a subsurface dropper fly, which mimics a wax worm. He makes long, stealthy casts with an eight-foot, six-inch, 6wt fly rod. He lets the fly drift giving it an occasional twitch. “That drives trout crazy in spring.”
3 Damon Bungard
Brand manager for Jackson Kayak, Bungard chases brown trout all around the country. Wherever he fishes, Bungard often locates spring trout near the inlets of creeks that flow into lakes. “These areas thaw first in spring,” he explains. Trout can be sluggish in the early spring; Bundard says, “slow and low is often more productive than aggressive techniques.” Bungard chases big browns using 5-6wt rods to drift nymphs or sucker spawn along the bottom. Spring conditions can change drastically, Bungard likes high, stained water to produce giant trout.
Learn to catch big rainbow trout like this beauty using these spring fishing tactics from the pros. | Feature photo: Ben Romans