Thursday, February 16, 2012

How To Catch Stocked Trout

Each spring across North America, fish and wildlife agencies, fishing clubs, and other organizations release hatchery-raised freshwater rainbow trout into lakes, reservoirs, ponds, creeks, and streams. Stocked trout provide opportunities to catch fish for fishermen of all ages and skill levels.

Fishing tackle required for catching stocked rainbow trout is basic; is a light-action rod and reel combination, light line (6-12-pound test), small hooks, bobbers, and split shot or other weights. Recently stocked trout can be caught with a variety of baits including canned whole-kernel corn, cheese, salmon eggs, small worms or pre-packaged trout baits.

The best baits and tackle for catching stocked trout vary somewhat, depending on water conditions, weather, and other factors. In areas of calm water, most anglers use bobbers (floats) to suspend baits at mid-depth. Having a selection of different size bobbers and weights allows anglers to adjust their rigs depending on current conditions.

In streams and other areas where currents are significant, other techniques may be required. When fishing in streams, some anglers rig worms, corn or salmon eggs on a short leader that can be casted and allowed to drift until it reaches the bottom.

A Carolina rig is one of the more common rigs for bottom fishing. This rig is made by adding a small inline weight on the line. A swivel is tied below the weight, followed by a hook on an 18-24" leader. By separating the weight and bait, Carolina rigs allow the bait to move freely near the bottom with less chance of spooking fish.

Eventually, stocked trout become acclimated to natural food sources, making bait fishing less effective. These "naturalized" trout are much harder to catch. Despite their selective habits, anglers still catch these fish using artificial lures, fly-fishing gear, or other equipment.

For spinning enthusiasts, the best lures for catching stocked trout often include small, brightly colored inline spinners. Jigs are also used to catch stocked trout. As stocked trout increase in size and age, their natural diets change from small insects and invertebrates to mostly small fish. Anglers fishing with spinning tackle target these trout with crankbaits, topwater plugs, or other offerings that resemble baitfish. Fly fishermen also target large hatchery-raised rainbow trout using streamers and other baitfish patterns.

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