It is popularly believed that trout can only be caught using fly rods. Many fishermen will tell you that it is impossible to land a trout using a spin rod. Anyway, trout fishing without a fly rod is not only possible but also, there are more than ten ways to do it right.
Ask any angler in the world and you’ll find that only a few things compare to the enthusiasm of a man fishing trout. The scaly little monsters promise a thrilling experience along with satisfaction at the end of the day.
For dedicated anglers, the daybreak is when they head on to the nearest stream, river, or lake and remain on the lookout for one of the most wanted fish.
Why Would Someone Fish Trout with Anything but a Fly Rod?
Exactly! Why would someone want to go the easy way? Because fishing is meant to be an enjoyable experience, not something that drives you impatient. A rewarding adventure is more attractive than something that spoils your long-awaited holiday.
It is commonly understood that fly fishing is different than spin fishing. Moreover, not many people want to invest in an expensive fly rod. If you fall into either of these categories, we’ve got you covered. After all, the trout don’t know you aren’t using a fly rod to catch it.
First of all, you need to know what will make the fish gravitate towards you. You’ll fish trout successfully if you understand and obey its natural tendencies.
Like all other fish, there are certain things that attract trout, certain places that it likes to lounge in, and there are certain tricks it’ll definitely fall for.
Catch Them at the Seam of White Foam
Trout absolutely love to target this place for hunting food. All you need to do is toss your bait directly into a line of white foam. Take care to be as accurate as possible because you need to take this shot exactly at the seam of white foam, otherwise, they’ll know.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get it right the first time. Almost nobody does. This will require a lot of practice. The key to catching trout is accuracy and caution. You cannot drop your bait below the foam line because then the fish will detect the disturbance in the water and scatter away. Keep this in mind and the trout will get in your bucket.
Spot Them Near the Big Rocks in the Stream
When you go trout fishing without a fly rod, be on the lookout for big rocks in the middle of a flowing current of water. This is because there is always a pool of calm immobile water upstream from the rock.
This is where you’ll find abundant trout. Anglers agree that this is a tried and tested spot when you are aiming for trout.
Your bait must land upstream from the pool in such a way that the flow of water guides it down towards the pool. The trout will be immediately attracted to this setup if it looks natural enough.
Apply the Old and Classic Dead Stick Technique
If you know about this technique, you’re among the very few who do. Deadstick is a classic technique in which a soft plastic bait is made to float along with the current of water.
Some anglers prefer to make the bait sit on its bottom on top of the water. This technique is most successful in streams with a gentle current. All you need to do is, drop your bait on the top of the stream and let it be.
This technique can also be used along with a fly. It’s just that it is essential for the attraction apparatus to remain on top of the water.
This ensures that you easily catch the fish as soon as it hits the bait. Assure that your hook is not set to be very strong as it could snatch the bait right out of the fish’s mouth and you’ll miss a great catch.
Call the Bead Head Prince Nymph to the Rescue
If you’ve ever gone trout fishing, you’d be aware of the most popular fly used for luring it. The trout are big fans of the bead head prince nymph. This small-sized fly floats just below the water surface given its special beaded head that lets it sink smoothly. You can find one of the best ones here.
And guess what? You don’t need a fly rod to use this fly! This fly, when used along with a bobber, is a very efficient setup for getting trout. The bobber can be set about six feet apart from where the nymph is tied. Then, it can be moved up and down to set the depth of the fly in the water.
Trout love this fly and would always come at it unless they know it’s a trap, which they sometimes will.
Aim at the Bank
A favorite hangout spot for trout, the bank covers more area in smaller streams than you realize. Whenever you notice a dark abyss near the shore of the stream, laud yourself, you have located the dark hole where most trout reside.
Approach this area carefully and hang your fly on top of the water. Make sure it is situated right above this place. Drop down your jig if you have one and see if its movement incites some fish into action.
You will either return empty-handed or you’ll take home the largest trout you have ever seen.
Take Your Grandpa’s advice, Use Corn on a Hook
When you’re aiming for trout with a jig, use the age-old technique of crowning the hook with a piece of corn. Not only will the hook be glorified, but this will also likely attract as much trout as old men boast of.
Corn has always been successfully used to get trout. The older trout will probably recognize your grandpa’s trick. But many younglings won’t.
In case you haven’t carried a lure or a jig with you, hang the corn bait using the dead stick technique at places where the trout will most likely lounge in. This method may sound very simple for a fish like a trout, but who said simple things don’t work?
Put Your Smallest Silver Spoons into Action
As most trout are not more than 16 inches in size, it will require you to use the bait of the smallest size for their small mouths. They probably would go for baits that are easy to catch. And if you think a small bait may hardly be visible, you’re wrong! The visibility of the bait is something you should not worry about.
Trouts have very keen eyes and they see everything. Small size silver spoons are a very effective way to catch trout, especially because they have been tried and tested for generations. So, try to get the smallest spoons possible.
Use Smaller Hooks
When fishing for trout, a big-sized hook will decrease your chances of landing a fish while the smallest hook will be the most effective. This is because trout have small-sized mouths as mentioned earlier, and it is easier for them to put tiny hooks in their mouth.
A trout will look at a big hook and decide to not swallow it thinking that “it’s too big for my mouth”. Yes, even fish can recognize that the big hook could be dangerous for them. Besides this, the availability of big trout is usually less in small streams. So, you’d rather aim for the ones that are available.
Put Your Most Lightweight Fishing Rod and Reel to Work
Smaller fish are best caught with smaller travel fly rod and reel setups. Pick up the lightest available option, a 1000 or 1500 style reel would be ideal. But any size can work just as well if you are dedicated enough.
Catching trout is an art of skill and delicacy, and this is best achieved with small and light fishing gear.
Aim for the Shade
It wouldn’t be right to call trout a shady fish, but they definitely love the shade. There will always be shady spots along the shore and there will be deep holes along the bank of the stream.
Both these spots have enough shade to inspire the admiration of trout. You’d deem yourself lucky if you find a spot that is deep, along the shore, and in the shade. There must be a trout party at the place. Be a guest.
It is also important to look for deep pools of water. This is because trout are cold-blooded and cold-blooded animals tend to seek cool areas. Deeper pools will be the coolest areas for trout to reside in. Their metabolism slows down in cooler spots, but they will still be hungry in the summer months.
While looking for shady spots, also make sure that you yourself don’t cast a shadow. Trout will know of approaching danger when a shadow is cast and dispersed immediately. And once you poke a set of fish this way, all the surrounding fishes will tend to disperse.
Make Sure You Haven’t Set Your Hook Too Hard
While it is important to set up an effective lure for trout, it is also necessary to be careful not to needlessly harden your hook. Anglers often snatch the bait right out of the fish’s mouth when they use powerful fishing rods.
Remember that a fish will only be caught when you obey its natural tendencies. Trout don’t swallow the entire bait like bass. They tend to nibble at the bait and then decide if they should swallow.
Now, you must also ensure that your hook is not set too softly. Don’t keep waiting after the trout has swallowed your bait. You might miss more fish than you’d catch if you don’t pay attention.
Trout Love Marshmallows
Fishing is a game about tricking the fish. Especially in a place where they don’t respond to usual baits, fish will respond to attractive food they haven’t seen before. Sometimes this leads the fish to immediately gulp it down because we all are hungry for marshmallows, aren’t we?
An added advantage of marshmallows is that they don’t pull apart easily. It is a bait that stays together and doesn’t come out of your hook easily.
Use Trout’s Daily Dinner. Use Worms.
Most trout will tend to gravitate towards food that they usually eat. All fish don’t look for fancy meals, some do settle for usual diets. Worms have been timelessly used in catching trout and it is no wonder that they work.
The big trout is more likely to get caught on worms. This is the reason why these tiny creatures are often given jobs on vast lakes where big trout are found.
Make Sure Your Moves are Careful and delicate
As soon as you spot a fish, don’t just put the line in without a second thought. This is the time when you make your most well-calculated move. Approach the spot carefully, without casting any shadows, and make sure that you duck down gently.
You should always drop your line beyond the fish, not on top of them. The fish will immediately be spooked and scattered if you drop it right above their heads. And when the water in the stream is moving fast, maintain even more caution because the fish will then be looking upstream.
This is something worth keeping in mind because no matter how cautious you are or if you have the Best Fly Reel for the Money, you’ll catch a fish only when it is willing to be enticed. It depends on whether the fish are aggressive or excited.
A method that works for someone may not work for others. This is also true for different places and different generations of trout. One must keep trying until one lands a laudable catch. Besides, there is nothing definite when you have to catch fish that learn. However, a thorough consideration of the mentioned tips will definitely put you in a good place.
So, the next time someone asks you why you’re fishing trout without a fly rod, tell them it is because you can, and way easier.
References and Further Reading
Last Updated on August 31, 2022 by Captain Chuck Dudley.