Trout live in lakes, streams, and rivers. They can be found just about anywhere there is cold water. But even if you find a river where trout live, finding where they hang out in that river can be a problem. In this article we’ll look at successful methods used to determine trout location and how to find that perfect fishing hole.
Fishing for trout in a lake is much different than hitting the local stream to catch fish. A stream is small and moves quickly while a lake has thousands of gallons of slow moving or stagnant water. We will focus on river fishing since a river features most of the ecological structures preferred by trout. You will also find that all the tactics of finding trout in a river can be applied to a lake or any other body of water.
It is important to use a good pair of polarized sunglasses. You don’t have to spend a fortune at the local fishing shop on “specialized fishing glasses” because any polarized lens will work. The reason for polarized glasses is two-fold. First, they protect your eyes from harmful ultra-violet light from the sun.
Any outdoor activity lasting more than an hour should be performed with polarized glasses to protect your eyesight. The second reason for glasses is because you can’t find what you can’t see. The surface of the water acts as a mirror, reflecting light and shadows and hiding what’s underneath. A good pair of glasses will cut through this glare and give you an edge for spotting underwater fishing holes.
Trout like air, food, and cover. Even though trout live in water, they must have oxygen to survive. They filter the oxygen from the water through gills. This means a good spot to find trout is near rapids or a waterfall where the water is churning and air bubbles are produced. Calm pools of water are found at the edge of rapids and give trout a great spot to wait for passing food. The calm pools can also be found behind large rocks in the rapids because they provide a barrier against the current.
Food is another necessity of trout and the location of food can help determine the location of trout. Along the shore is a popular place for trout. Look for overhanging trees, willows, or other structures where bugs and insects fall into the water. In the morning and evening, trout can be spotted jumping out of the water to eat a bug or fly on the surface. These areas are great for fly-fishing. Willows and other vegetation in the water are also good locations because they provide an ideal habitat for many bugs in the trout’s diet. Dawn and dusk are the primary feeding times for trout but they can be located all day.
Submerged structures are the perfect place for trout to wait and hide or ambush a meal. Everything from underwater rock formations, to boat docks, to trees should be checked. When fish are not around in the middle of the day and no other location has worked, a hiding spot is where they will likely be found.
Try the obvious
When you first approach a potential trout fishing spot, there should be several places that immediately stick out. These may be submerged logs, a boating dock, or a deep pool of calm water. Try the obvious spots first. Trout will congregate and live in similar locations no matter what body of water they are in. If the spot looks good, it probably is.
Different times and methods
Just because you have located a perfect fishing hole does not always mean there are fish in it. Trout will spend the day in different areas of the water. This can depend on a number of factors including food sources, water temperature, coverage (underwater objects and vegetation), and air supply. It’s not necessarily a bad fishing hole if you don’t get a bite. The fish are probably elsewhere so try again throughout the day.
Know your area
Another key to finding good fishing spots is to know the area where you will be fishing. Fish and Game offices and most large fishing stores provide fishing reports and tips for local fishing locations. Sometimes the right lure is all it takes to turn the water into a great fishing hole. These reports will often tell you what type of bait is working well for trout and can be used to increase your chances of success.
Sit and wait
When all else fails, find a good quiet spot to sit and wait. Trout are easily frightened and sometimes they will not take any bait or lure. If all other fishing holes and methods have been exhausted, let the bait sit close to the bottom for a while and see if a passing trout will pick it up.
Trout can be found almost anywhere in cold water but there is no surefire method of pinpointing their hangouts. Even so, with the knowledge you have learned in this article and some hands-on practice, fishing hotspots can be found and enjoyed.