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How to fish for Golden Trout

Golden Trout are found in the cool clear waters of high elevation streams and lakes. They are native to California but have been introduced to other high elevation waters in both the United States and Canada. The Golden Trout feeds on insects and larvae such as Midges and Caddisflies. Because of the short growing season of these high altitude streams and lakes Golden Trout rarely exceed a pound. They are a light tackle fish.
Fly fishing for Golden Trout is the way to go for these little trout. Golden Trout will cruise drop-offs, inflowing stream channels, outflows, and rock outcroppings. Their brilliant colors and the clear water they reside in make them easy to spot as they swim, allowing good-sight casting opportunities. Golden Trout take flies very softly and will be only hooked lightly. More Golden Trout are lost in the fight than landed.
A 7 to 8 foot 2 wt or 3 wt graphite fly rod with matching reel would be the best for most areas. Sight fishing with dry flies on 6 to 10 feet of 7X tippet (2 lb test) attached to a WF fly line is an exciting method of fishing for Golden Trout. Small streamers with a sink tip or full sink line can also be effective. Traditional streamer colors of brown, black, and olive produce some of the larger trout. Vary the retrieve motion and speed often.
Chironomid fishing is the most effective method of fly fishing for Golden Trout. Use a 9 to 12 foot leader. Presentation is slow and steady. When a strike occurs setting the hook should be done softly in order to avoid pulling the fly out of the fish's mouth, just a steady raising of the rod to your chest. Often, fish will mouth the fly two or three times on a retrieve.
Fly patterns that have been proven to work for Golden Trout are Tan and/or gray Chernobyl Ant - #10 to 12, Elk Hair Caddis - #10 to 16, Black Foam Beetle - #12 to 14, Black Trude - #14 to 24, Griffith's Gnat - #18 to 30, Green Drake - #12, Blue-winged olive - #20 to 26, Pheasant Tail Nymph - #12 to 28, Brassie - #14 to 30, Snow Cone - #16 to 30, A variety of midge patterns - #16 to 30, Olive scud - #12 to 16, and Micro Buggers 0 tan, olive, black - #8 to 12.


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