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Rainbow Trout picture

How to fish for Rainbow Trout

The Rainbow trout is native to western North American rivers and lakes west of the Rocky Mountains. Rainbow trout are also found in the ocean and are then referred to as Steelhead. Rainbow trout are now worldwide in distribution and are a highly prized game fish. Rainbow trout have been introduced to at least 45 countries, and every continent except Antarctica.
Rainbow trout prefer clear cold water streams with gravel or rocky bottoms, deep pools, and natural cover such as large rocks, fallen trees, and vegetation. They also thrive in large lakes with cool, deep waters. Rainbow trout typically are found in waters from 40 F to 70 F but do best with waters that are between 55 and 64 F. 
Most angler caught Rainbow trout from rivers, streams and small lakes are under 4 pounds and when caught in large lakes fishermen can have catches of up to 10 pounds. Rainbow trout can achieve much larger weights but Rainbow above 10 pounds are rare for anglers. Rainbow trout feed on a variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects such as dragonflies, mayflies, caddis flies, also on worms, crayfish, small fish, fish eggs, grasshoppers, ants, and beetles.
Fishing for Rainbow trout can be done by fly fishing, spincasting, and trolling. These are all productive methods of fishing for Rainbows. Rainbow trout have a very good sense of smell that is 400 times more sensitive than humans. Rainbow trout also have an ability to sense very small movements in the water. Because of these facts fish scent applied to lures, spinners, and flies can increase catches. Also lure and fly action is very important to attract and entice strikes from Rainbow trout.
When fly fishing for Rainbow trout a 5 or 6 wt 9 to 10 foot fly rod with matching reel spooled with WF fly line with a matching wt to the rod will handle most areas. If you are fishing a larger lake with the possibility of a larger Rainbow taking your fly then step up to a 7 wt or 8 wt rod and reel. If you see Rainbow trout surfacing try a floating line and dry flies, if Rainbows aren't seen surfacing try fishing a sinking tip line around structures, logs, trees, rocks, and in pools. Use wet flies or streamers on a 9 to 12 foot leader of 6 to 8 pound test or 2X tippet. The size of the flies can be anywhere from #6 to # 14 depending on the size of the Rainbow trout you are fishing for.
Flies that attract Rainbow Trout include dry flies, nymphs and streamers. Dry flies that work very well are Light Cahill, Adams, Royal Wulff, Quill Gordon and Humpy. Nymphs that work well are Trueblood Otter Shrimp, Ed Burk, Yellow Stone Fly, Muskrat and Wooly Worm. Streamers that work well are Blacknose Dace, Spruce Fly, Muddler Minnow, Gray Ghost, Black Marabou and White Marabou.
Spin casting for Rainbow trout can be done with a 6 to 7 foot light action or light-medium action spinning rod with a matched spinning reel spooled with 100 to 150 yds of 6 to 8 lb test fishing line. At the end of your mainline tie on a small barrel swivel and then on the other side of the swivel tie on a 6 foot 5 lb leader. To the end of your leader tie on your lure, spinner, spoon, or even a fly. If need be attach a splitshot weight above the swivel.
Examples of productive lures are Blue Fox Orange Bell, Vibrax Spinners, Panther Martin Orange or Pink/black combos, wedding band spinners, red and white wobbler, kwikfish wobblers, or a colorado spinner with a fly, egg, or berkley trout bait.


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