How to Fish for Rainbow Trout

by Sameca Pandova
To fish for rainbow trout, learn about their preferred habitat and behavior.

To fish for rainbow trout, learn about their preferred habitat and behavior.

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The rainbow trout is a close relative of the Pacific salmon. The rainbow trout originally ranged from Mexico to Alaska, but has been introduced to many other regions, including New York and Canada. In addition, some states, such as Texas, specifically stock rainbow trout over the winter months for fishing enthusiasts to enjoy during the summer. To catch rainbow trout, a fisherman needs to take into account the trout's behavior and feeding tendencies.

Step 1

Identify where rainbow trout are likely to congregate. Rainbow trout prefer gravel or rocky bottom conditions with objects that provide cover, such as large stones and logs. In their quest for food, they tend to be most active near a weed line. Thus, a fisherman looking for rainbow trout does not need to fish from a boat over deep water; a rocky shoreline with plenty of vegetation will be ideal.

Step 2

Pick a fishing technique. You can use a variety of techniques in the hunt for rainbow trout, including fly fishing, artificial lures and live bait. If you're using live bait, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation recommends size 6 to 10 baitholder hooks and 4-to-8-lb. test line used in conjunction with a light- to medium-action spinning rod. If you're using an artificial lure, spinner and spoons sized 1/32 inch to 1/8 inch are common. You can add a piece of live bait to the artificial to enhance its allure to rainbow trout.

Step 3

Pick a lure best suited to your fishing environment. If you're fishing wild trout in a stream or river, the trout will likely be hesitant to bite lures or unnatural bait, as river rainbow trout typically subsist on insects. By contrast, ponds stocked trout will be less discerning and likely and take to a variety of bait types.

Step 4

Understand how rainbow trout respond to being hooked. Unlike many fish that head for cover when hooked, rainbow trout tend to immediately head for open water, leaping out of the water in an attempt to escape.

Tips & Warnings

  • Put your trout on a string line or keep it in a cooler, making sure to clean it as soon as you get home to ensure the trout is fresh. After properly cleaning and preparing the rainbow trout fillets, they can be broiled or fried.

About the Author

Based near Chicago, Sameca Pandova has been writing since 1995 and now contributes to various websites. He is an attorney with experience in health care, family and criminal prosecution issues. Pandova holds a Master of Laws in health law from Loyola University Chicago, a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Case Western.

Photo Credits

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