Why does it often seem when there’s 50 fishermen working a lake, only 5 are catching fish? It’s not because they’re “experts,” it’s because they have learned a few little “tricks of the trade,” resulting in success.
You never see a limit-catching high country angler “over-tackled” because you don’t need a reel filled with 200 yards of 10 pound line, 2-ounce weights and a size 6 hook to catch a 1-pound trout.
“Go light” has been a battle cry of successful trout anglers for years, especially those into soaking bait from shore or boat. Ideal spinning reels weigh in at between 6 to 8 ounces with a capacity of no more than 100 yards of 4-pound test monofilament.
What if I hook a big one? That’s why there’s a drag on the reel. Proper use of the drag and taking time to play the catch will result in landing any trout above the 4-pound mark. Every year outdoor publications carry photos of trout 10 pounds and better landed with 2-pound to 4-pound test line.
Light weight, just enough to reach the feeding zone, is all that’s needed. Nine times out of 10 , a 50-yard cast is impressive, but it’s not where the fish are feeding. More trout are caught within 30 feet rather than 30 yards from shore. And, small hooks rigged with a small bait work better a golf ball size offering.
Today’s array of “supermarket” baits are productive., but there are days when a trout for a change of diet would maybe prefer a worm or salmon egg. And on the dough bait scene, even though many experts say trout can’t distinguish color, it’s a fact some days that one color is more productive than another. And don’t gob on a golf ball-sized offering. Small hooks rigged with a small amounts of bait work best.
On those days when the bait fishing bite is definitely on the “finicky” side, try “stop and go.” Let the bait soak for a few minutes, then slowly retrieve a few inches and let it set. Repeat the same technique until a few feet from shore. The moving bait is more effective at catching the trout eye than one motionless in the water.
Don’t be afraid to change location. You can’t tell what the underwater habitat is like and moving 50 feet often times can make a difference. Many times inlets and outlets are the most productive spots, especially during hot summer months.
Many shore anglers into casting lures appear to be in a competition to see who can throw the farthest. Sometimes it’s productive, but many times they are again overcasting feeding zone.
For both bait and lure fishing it’s not unusual during early morning and late evening hours to find the feeding zone close in, 10 feet to 20 feet from shore. That’s why you often see a successful lure angler casting at an angle parallel to the shore rather than straight out.
Changing lure speed, letting it sink then raising, stop and go usually is more productive than a straight retrieve. If one color isn’t working, change. Some lures work best in bright light, others are productive in reduced light. If strikes are still absent, change lures.
Fly/bubble angling from shore is a favorite mode for increasing numbers of anglers — and can be productive when all else fails. The majority of time early morning and late evening are the productive hours. However, there are days when the technique works all day long, especially with big flies (size 4 to 6 Woolly Buggers and Olive Matukas after a plant of oversized Alpers rainbows).
On key to success is a long leader — as long as the rod is, and a slow retrieve. If the bubble is making a wake on retrieve, you’re going too fast.
There’s two types of trollers. One lets the line out, sets the speed, sits back and opens a cold one and waits for a hook-up. And sometimes he’s lucky. The troller that catches the majority of the fish usually has his rod in hand being able to react to a strike. He constantly changes speed, tracking his craft in a “S” motion, (trout often strike on the turn). If one lure or color isn’t working he changes until he finds one that does.
Trollers working close to the shoreline have more hookups than those caught up in the “middle of the lake” syndrome — especially early and late in the day. The one exception would be downrigging the deeper water when the sun is high.
There are days when trout seem to bite any offering no matter how presented and contrary to all the rules. However, there are more days rigging with light tackle is the key to success. And don’t pack up an head back after the first hour without experimenting, changing baits, lures and location. The majority of times a little more effort can result in more time catching and less time fishing.