How to Fish for Rainbow Trout at Night

by Alyssa Ideboen
Learn how to fish at night to pull in good-sized rainbow trout.

Learn how to fish at night to pull in good-sized rainbow trout.

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The thrill of seeing silver sides of a rainbow trout reflect in the dull glow of the moonlight inspires a sense of adventure and thrill in anglers. While night fishing is not a common practice, it can produce a satisfying catch, even for beginner fishermen. Before you head out into the dark waters to find your prey, learn how to prepare yourself adequately to get the most out of your fishing experience. Doing some daylight pre-trip arrangements will make your nighttime trip more enjoyable, eliminating the confusion that often comes with the absence of light.

Items you will need

  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Waders or rubber boots
  • Collapsible fish basket or fish line
  • Snacks
  • Drinking water
  • 5-foot spin cast rod or fly-fish reel
  • 6 lb. fishing line
  • Shank hooks, No. 10 to No. 14
  • Night crawlers
  • Fake dry flies
  • Cell phone or GPS locator
Step 1

Scout out your spot. If you plan to fish by boat, go out in the daylight and plan where you want to go for your nighttime excursion. This will help prevent your from getting lost, losing time and fishing in the wrong areas.

Step 2

Gather your gear. Pack ahead of time, making the fishing experience easy and uncomplicated. Bring a heavy-duty flashlight, extra batteries, waders or rubber knee boots, a collapsible fish basket to hold your catch and a snack or two along with something to drink.

Step 3

Set up your rod beforehand. It's easy to hook yourself as you prepare your rod, and even easier when you can't see where anything is. Use a 5-foot-long pole with with a durable 6 lb. fishing line. Size 10 to 14 shank hooks will work for live bait, such as night crawlers, or use a dry fly to fly fish for your trout. Muddlers, crawfish flies and woolheaded sculpins are tempting treats when fly fishing for unsuspecting trout.

Step 4

Take a friend with you. It's safer to have a friend handy to navigate through dark waters and to help you in case of an emergency. If you are determined to go it alone, bring a cell phone, or at the very least, a GPS locator to keep yourself from getting lost.

Step 5

Fish slowly, using short casts. As you send your bait out over the dark water, it can be difficult to see what is happening a few feet from the shoreline or boat edge. Keep your casts reined in to avoid snags. If fly fishing, drag your fly slowly across the water. Nighttime fishing is considerably more about feel than sight, and a gentle tug can be a bigger indicator than a visual confirmation of your prey.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try using caddis flies, Goofus Bug or a Madame X to increase your chances at nabbing a trout by fly fishing.
  • Use light sparingly. Follow the rules of the preserve or park you are in, but avoid shining light where you plan to fish, as it can scare off the trout.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images